One of the most disturbing images of the recent scourge of racist attacks on elderly Asian-Americans was the aftermath of the attack on Xie Xiaozhen, 76, in San Francisco. Xiaozhen was punched out of nowhere by 39-year-old Steven Jenkins.
Xie suffered two black eyes in the attack but fought back with a wooden stick, leaving the much younger Jenkins with a bloody mouth.
Footage of the altercation taken by Dennis O'Donnell quickly went viral, making Xie the brave face of resistance to anti-Asian racism.
Just came upon an attack on an elderly Asian woman on Market Street San Francisco. Effort I got more details https://t.co/5o8r0eeHE2— Dennis O'Donnell (@Dennis O'Donnell) 1616002764.0
A cartoon of her courageously wielding a stick by a Chinese artist has gone viral and spread across the world.
On the day of the attack, Jenkins also assaulted Ngoc Pham an 83-year-old Vietnamese American man. Pham fell in the attack, broke his nose, and may have fractured some bones in his back.
Jenkins faces six charges, including two counts of elder abuse, according to a news release Heavy from the San Francisco Police Department and records on the San Francisco County Jail website.
This is 83-year old Ngoc. He was 1 of 2 Asian seniors attacked along Market & 7th yesterday Parts of his neck brok… https://t.co/2NCAerMzdz— Dion Lim (@Dion Lim) 1616101761.0
Xie was understandably shaken up by the fight, initially saying that she'll never leave her house again. Her grandson, John Chen, set up a GoFundMe page with the goal of raising $50,000 for her, but the campaign took off, earning over $946,000 by Wednesday.
On Monday, Chen reported that his grandmother's health and spirits were improving. "When we visited our grandma yesterday and today her overall mental and physical health has improved," he wrote on the GoFundMePage. "Her eye is no longer swelled to the point of not being able to open it. She is now starting to feel optimistic again and is in better spirits."
The grandmother has decided to donate all of the money that's been raised for her to the Asian American community to fight back against racism.
"She said we must not summit [sic] to racism and we must fight to the death if necessary," Chen wrote. "She also stated multiple times to donate all the funds generated in this GoFundMe back to the Asian American community to combat racism. She insists on making this decision saying this issue is bigger than Her."
The grandmother's generosity and commitment to fighting back against racism mirrors the courage she showed by standing up to her attacker.
The San Francisco attacks came the day after a gunman murdered eight people, six of which were Asian, on a shooting spree at massage parlors in Atlanta, Georgia.
Hate crimes against Asian-Americans were up 149% in 2020 according to The Centre for the Study of Hate and Extremism at the University of California, Berkeley. It's believed that the crimes are a racist reaction to the COVID-19 virus which began in China.