Stop Asian Hate

A most important remembrance of an early victim of Asian hate

By Gilda Balan, Correspondent

SAN FRANCISCO – This week marks the third anniversary of the tragic killing of a very senior Asian American. While there have been a number of Asian Americans and Pacific Islander (AAPI) seniors who had met similar sad fates as a result of Asian hate, the case of ‘Grandpa Vicha’ stands out as it was the spark that resulted in the creation of the StopAsianHate movement.

Over the weekend, a memorial service was held in honor of Vicha Ratanapakdee in San Francisco. It was held three years to the day that Grandpa Vicha as he has come to be known was viciously attacked and killed near his residence.

It was on Jan 28, 2021 that the 84-year-old was on a stroll near his Anza Vista home that he was pushed to the ground. The fall resulted in serious injuries that caused him to die two days later.

The assault was captured on CCTV and the assailant was eventually apprehended. The senseless violence perpetrated against a frail senior citizen became the impetus for the Stop Asian Hate movement.

The assailant has been incarcerated since his arrest and his delayed trial is expected to  commence after numerous delays.

San Francisco honored the memory of Grandpa Vicha by renaming the street where he lived and died after him. Family and friends, however, say that justice still needs to be served and his assailant put away.

As reported on the online NBC Bay Area news site, activist Helen Zia paid tribute to Ratanapakdee and other victims of senseless hate crimes when she said during the memorial: “We’re here to do more than remember these incredible people. We’re here to recall their humanity, that they were real people as part of our communities. And for Asian Americans, usually, people don’t even remember the single name of an Asian-American ever in American history, let alone who have been with us and then attacked.”

Zia also paid tribute to Fremont resident Michelle Go, who died in 2022 after she was pushed in front of an incoming New York subway train.

The incidents showed that in the US East and West Coasts, and all states in between, attacks against the Asian American community, especially its elders, remains a serious issue.

It is important to recognize that the likes of Go and Ratanapakdee could have been anyone’s grandfather, father, sister, or daughter, Zia said.

(This resource is supported in whole or in part by funding provided by the State of California, administered by the California State Library in partnership with the California Department of Social Services and the California Commission on Asian and Pacific Islander American)