Elderly Asian woman who fought back attacker wants to give almost US$900,000 in donations to Asian American community

Elisabetta Bianchini
·4 min read

After an elderly Asian woman fought off an attacker in San Francisco, an online fundraiser created by her grandson has already raised almost US$900,000 compared to the US$50,000 goal.

"I am amazed by her bravery," Chen wrote on the GoFundMe page. "She was the one that defended herself from this unprovoked attack.

"She has been severely affected mentally, physically, and emotionally. She also stated that she is afraid to step out of her home from now on. This traumatic event has left her with PTSD. Although she has health insurance that covers the basics, there are still many medical expenses that cannot be covered on her own. She is a cancer survivor and she also has had diabetes for over 10 years now."

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Although the funds were initially meant to cover her medical expenses, an update by Chen on Tuesday states that his grandmother wants the funds to be given to the Asian American community to combat racism.

"She said we must not submit to racism and we must fight to the death if necessary," the post from Chen reads. "She insists on making this decision saying this issue is bigger than Her."

"This is my grandma, grandpa, and our family’s decision. We hope everyone can understand our decision."

Chen shared that his grandmother is "starting to feel optimistic again and is in better spirits." In a previous post, he detailed the hurt and trauma she was experiencing from the attack.

"Whenever the issue is brought up to her, she gets extremely emotional and starts crying," the post reads. "We have to constantly calm her down and comfort her from her PTSD."

"She is still really dizzy and can only eat porridge. Her eye has stopped bleeding a lot but it still bleeds from time to time. She is still unable to open her eye. When we were talking to her, she stated that 'she hopes the younger generation of Asian Americans can all stand up for one another, and hope they can stick up for the elderly' in Cantonese."

Several people who supported the online fundraiser wrote messages to Chen and his grandmother, now identified as 76-year-old Xie Xiaozhen, on the page.

"Hope your grandma can get the care and support she needs! Watching her cry broke my heart, because she reminds me of my Chinese grandma, and I never want to see our grandparents go through that pain and suffering. Your grandma's such a strong woman, and I'm hoping she recovers soon," one individual wrote.

"Please know your family is supported by people across the country coast to coast. As a fellow person of colour, I stand with you. Diversity is what makes America great and we are all so lucky to have your family here," another comment reads.

Even Canadians donated money to Chen's fundraiser and shared messages of support.

"Love and support from Calgary Alberta Canada. No one should have to go through this," a post from one supporter reads.

According to San Francisco police, a 39-year-old while male was involved in a "physical altercation" at U.N. Plaza in San Francisco. He then assaulted an 83-year-old Asian man, before attacking Xie.

This comes just a day after eight people died in the Atlanta spa shooting, including six Asian women.

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"These murders occurred at a time when anti-Asian violence has been spiking," Democrat U.S. Rep. Ted Lieu wrote on Twitter on Tuesday. "All officials should do their part to condemn violence and not inflame further discrimination."

"Asian Canadian women have also been specifically targeted by unrelenting racist and misogynist attacks during the pandemic across Canada," a statement from Amy Go, president for the Chinese Canadian National Council for Social Justice reads. "The lack of courage and empathy of our political leaders to denounce and to take action to combat racism and misogyny turns us into sitting ducks waiting for the next hunt."

The Chinese Canadian National Council for Social Justice and Chinese and Southeast Asian Legal Clinic are calling on political leaders to denounce racist attacks against Asian Canadians, including the implementation of "concrete actions with real resource commitments" to stop racism in Canada.

"Anti-Asian racism has been burning like wildfire across North America over the past year," a statement from the groups reads.

"Violence is a sad but expected outcome when Asians or other racialized people are dehumanized or treated as the 'other' or as perpetual foreigners. This risk expands with each intersection of racism with other forms of discrimination, such as misogyny, as in this tragedy in Atlanta."