IN THE past two months, three Chinese residents were attacked by African American youths along the T-line street car traveling through San Francisco’s Bayview district. The victims include an 83-year-old elder, who was hospitalized and pronounced dead in mid-March, and a middle-aged woman who was strangled from behind and pushed down from the platform. Chinese community members said the attacks were unacceptable and believed interracial conflicts were involved.
Police Commissioner Vincent Pan said he would confront the police department on their plans on reducing violence, especially interracial violence, at the Commission’s upcoming community meeting on Wednesday night in the district. Demographics in the district have changed dramatically in recent years, he said, but the city government did not maintain racial harmony in the area. David Chan, a community organizer at Safety Awareness for Everyone (SAFE), said black and Chinese residents have been fighting over limited resources, such as housing, transportation, government benefits, within the same district, so interracial tensions have increased. Marlene Tran, a community advocate and a candidate for the city Board of Supervisors in District 10, where the attacks occurred, said the youth arrested should be tried as adults. She encouraged Chinese residents to voice their needs at the community meeting.
Supervisor Sophie Maxwell (District 10) denied the cases involved racial conflicts, and instead, said the incidents involved criminals taking advantage of the vulnerable. According to police statistics, in the Bayview district, 36 percent of the residents are Asians, 28 percent are African Americans, 17 percent Latinos and 16 percent whites.