Elderly Asian American woman who fought attacker to use $1M in donations to fight racism

The nearly $1 million raised in a crowd funding campaign to benefit a 75-year-old Asian American woman who fought back after being attacked in San Francisco will now be donated to combat racism.

That’s according to family members who created a GoFundMe for Xiao Zhen Xie after she was punched in the face by a man while waiting at a traffic light. She picked up a stick and fought back, but the attack left her with two black eyes, a swollen wrist and PSTD according to the fundraising page.

By Wednesday morning, thousands of supporters had donated more than $933,600, far surpassing the initial goal of $50,000. Xiao’s grandson, John Chen, said in an update that her mental and physical health is improving and she is insisting on donating all the funds back to the Asian American community.

“She said we must not summit to racism and we must fight to the death if necessary,” Chen wrote. “She insists on making this decision saying this issue is bigger than Her.”

Video from the scene, shot after the attack, shows the woman holding the board in one hand and an ice bag in the other. The alleged attacker is seen, his face bloodied, being rolled away on a stretcher.

“You bum, why did you hit me?” the woman said in Chinese.

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Police say the case is being investigated as a possible hate crime. The suspect, 39-year-old Steven Jenkins, is also a suspect in an attack on an 83-year-old Asian man in the same area just 30 minutes earlier. Jenkins was detained by a nearby security guard.

A GoFundMe for the victim in that case, Ngoc Pham, has raised more than $285,000.

Jenkins was booked into San Francisco County jail on two charges of assault likely to produce great bodily injury, two charges of battery with serious bodily injury and two charges of elder abuse, according to jail records.

“Investigators are working to determine if racial bias was a motivating factor in the incident,” police said in a statement.

The assault came hours after city police announced increased patrols in Asian neighborhoods following a recent surge of attacks in the Bay Area and across the nation, including a shooting rampage in Georgia that left six Asian women and two other people dead.

San Francisco police also recently announced the arrests of three men in connection with a brazen attack on a 67-year-old man inside a laundromat in Chinatown last month. Police Chief William Scott pledged to do everything in his power to keep city resident safe.

“As you may know, the San Francisco Bay Area has been seeing an alarming spike in brazen anti-Asian violence in recent weeks,” Scott said in a statement. “We are coordinating with our federal partners and local (Asian American) community organizations. … Working together, we must prevent violence and hold perpetrators accountable.”

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Follow N’dea Yancey-Bragg and John Bacon on Twitter: @NdeaYanceyBragg and @realjohnbacon

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