Vicha Ratanapakdee

San Francisco Renames Street After Anti-Asian Hate Crime Victim

San Francisco has renamed a street after 84-year-old Vicha Ratanapakdee, whose tragic death sparked national outrage and brought attention to anti-Asian hate crimes.

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Hayley Zhao
6:38 PM HKT, Mon October 3, 2022 1 mins read

This past Saturday, October 1, San Francisco’s Sonora Lane got a new name: Vicha Ratanapakdee Way. The renaming is to commemorate grandpa Ratanapakdee, an 84-year-old Thai American man who died after being attacked in early 2021, and others who have fallen victim to the wave of anti-Asian hate fueled by the Covid outbreak.

Ratanapakdee went on his daily walk on January 28, 2021, in San Francisco’s Anza Vista neighborhood and tragically never returned home.

Surveillance footage of the older man’s final moments shows a young man running across the street and violently shoving him to the ground. Ratanapakdee lost consciousness when his head hit the pavement, and he died two days later in intensive care.

Ratanapakdee’s death sparked public outrage and has since become a symbol of the struggle to end discrimination against the Asian American and Pacific Islander (AAPI) community. In the aftermath, community leaders organized protests, and murals were painted to call attention to the nationwide surge in anti-Asian hate crime.

From San Francisco City Attorney David Chiu to actor Daniel Dae Kim (Lost), people from different fields appeared at Saturday’s renaming ceremony to raise awareness for the thousands of incidents of anti-Asian bias and racially motivated violence that has impacted the AAPI community in recent years.

Award-winning CNN journalist Lisa Ling, actor and director Daniel Wu, and Deputy Assistant to the President and AAPI Senior Liaison Erika Moritsugu also expressed their solidarity with the community through online statements.

“We should be able to live without fear and not have to worry if our loved ones would come back from their morning walks,” said Moritsugu. “The renaming of the street is not only to honor Mr. Ratanapakdee but also to remember how we are stronger than hate.”

Actor Daniel Dae Kim speaking at the unveiling ceremony for Vicha Ratanapakdee Way

Actor Daniel Dae Kim speaking at the unveiling ceremony for Vicha Ratanapakdee Way. Image via @akolaurenlola/Instagram

Racially motivated violence against the AAPI community has long existed in America but was rarely covered by the news. However, the unprecedented surge in hate crimes caused by the pandemic has finally caught the attention of mainstream media, and the AAPI community is seizing this opportunity to make their voices heard.

In 2021, President Biden signed a new hate crime law that made reporting hate crimes more accessible at the local and state levels. Just a day before the renaming ceremony, California Governor Gavin Newsom signed a bill recognizing the Lunar New Year as a state holiday.

Cover image via @akolaurenlola/Instagram

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