ROWLAND HEIGHTS (CBSLA) - A movement called "Asians With Attitude" is aimed at uniting all Asians and allies to stand up and fight back against the surge in racism and hate crimes.
Volunteers gathered in Rowland Heights Saturday after a string of robberies in a largely Asian-American community happened over the last few weeks.
"When it happens to your own family, you get enraged. You get upset," said Vincent Tsao. "You want to do something."
Tsao's mother was robbed weeks ago in Nini's Bakery. Security camera footage shows her putting bread on the counter to pay for it. Seconds later, a man walks in, snatches her purse, and nearly knocked her to the ground before taking off.
"She was upset," said Tsao. "She was shocked. My parents have been living here for over 25 years and this is the first time that they've experienced something like this."
Asian-Americans across the country are reporting a significant spike in hate crimes, harassment, and discrimination tied to the spread of the pandemic.
According to the group Stop A.A.P.I. Hate and other community groups, there have been more than 3,000 anti-Asian attacks nationwide since March. Of those, nine percent are physical assaults, six percent involve coughing or spitting, and 71 percent are verbal harassment.
The Los Angeles Police Commission said there was a 114 percent increase in the number of hate crimes in 2020 compared to the previous year. That doesn't include the hate crimes so far this year, like the violent attack on Air Force veteran Denny Kim in Koreatown in February.
"Most of our people are afraid to say or do anything, which I feel that's why I had to step in, show the people they're not alone," said Sam Bun, a local organization of A.W.A. "I wanted to let them know they're not alone and give the people some hope."
The first A.W.A. movement gained momentum in Northern California to combat a rise in violence against the Asian American and Pacific Islander communities. Now, Asians With Attitude is hitting the streets in Southern California to stop the spread of hate here.
Young volunteers are getting together to conduct foot patrols in neighborhoods where there have been hate crimes or hate incidents.
"If we don't do anything, it's going to keep happening, these attacks are going to keep going," added Bun.
The group's first foot patrol was in Chinatown last Saturday. They went to merchants and the elderly in the neighborhood letting them know about the cause to help them feel more secure.
The volunteers believe their presence will protect those who are vulnerable and have been targeted most.
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