After Xiao Zhen Xie was attacked while walking down a street in San Francisco last week, her family started a GoFundMe to raise $50,000 for her medical bills. Upon seeing she raised almost $1 million, Xie has decided to use the money to combat racism instead, according to CNN.
Xie, a 75-year-old woman who moved to the US from China, was targeted by a white man named Steven Jenkins in an unprovoked attack on March 17, minutes after Jenkins had assaulted an 83-year-old unidentified Asian man during another attack.
Xie sustained multiple injuries — including two black eyes, a swollen wrist, and post-traumatic stress disorder, according to the GoFundMe page — but managed to fight off her attacker by using a stick she found on the ground.
In an interview with the local San Francisco TV station KPIX, Xie explained what happened in Cantonese, with her daughter translating into English.
"I don't know him. Why [did] he attack me?" Xie told KPIX.
The attack on Xie marks another example of the rise in hate crimes against people of Asian descent. According to Stop AAPI Hate’s National Report released on March 18, the US-based reporting center received 3,795 incident reports of hate crimes committed against Asian Americans from the period of March 19, 2020, to Feb. 28, 2021.
The center acknowledges that the number of unreported hate crimes would make this number much higher.
The COVID-19 pandemic has influenced this disturbing trend, as xenophobia and racial discrimination around the world caused panic and fear about the origins of the coronavirus. World leaders have contributed to the problem with racially charged political rhetoric, such as referring to the virus as the “Kung Flu” and promoting conspiracy theories about its origin, according to Human Rights Watch.
To combat this type of bigotry, Xie “stated multiple times to donate all the funds generated in [the] GoFundMe back to the Asian American community,” according to an update posted on her GoFundMe page. Her family also said that her physical and mental health have improved and that she is “in better spirits.”
The GoFundMe has raised more than $967,000 at the time of writing, with additional donations still rolling in to support Xie’s cause.