Helen Zia. Posted January 27, 2024 with author’s permission from Ethnic Media Service, Jan. 16, 2024.
Above: Vicha Ratanapakdee Way in San Francisco, named for the elderly Thai immigrant whose killing became a rallying cry against anti-Asian hate.
For most Americans, January brings with it the same seemingly intractable divisions that plagued the country last year and years prior. Yet for Asian Americans, the month is a solemn time of remembrance, filled with painful reminders of the violence that has targeted their communities.
It also brings important lessons on the potential that tragedy has to be a catalyst for real change.
Among the prominent January incidents:
January 6, 2020: 89-year-old Yik Oi Huang died after injuries from a severe beating as she walked in a neighborhood park near her San Francisco Visitacion Valley home;
January 11, 2023: a public bus rider in Bloomington, IN vowed to rid the country of Chinese while repeatedly stabbing a 17-year-old student;
January 15, 2022: 40-year-old Michelle Alyssa Go was fatally pushed in front of an oncoming subway train in New York’s Times Square;
January 17, 1989: a white nationalist with a semiautomatic rifle killed five children at a Stockton CA elementary school yard and injured about 30 others;
January 21, 2023: an elderly Asian man with a semi-automatic pistol killed 11 people and injured 9 as they celebrated the lunar new year at a ballroom in Monterey Park, CA;
January 23, 2023: in Half Moon Bay, CA, a 66-year-old male farmworker killed five fellow Chinese and two Latino coworkers;
January 28, 2021: Vicha Ratanapakdee, an 84-year-old Thai American grandfather, died after being violently shoved as he went for a walk near his San Francisco home.