HomeAsian AmericansSmall Bay Area town feels impact of anti-Asian hate

Small Bay Area town feels impact of anti-Asian hate

Stories and Photos by Louis Chan, AsAmNews National Correspondent

A quiet suburban city 33 miles east of San Francisco apparently isn’t immune to the rise in anti-Asian hate.

Some 50 people Saturday came to a small park in Clayton to support Asian American Studies professor Jonathan Lee who says he’s been racially harassed by his neighbors.

The family next to him put up a confederate flag just a week after he moved in to his home at the end of a cul-de-sac in November. Lee also says he’s been greeted by a Nazi salute and salutations of “White power.”

AsAmNews reported exclusively about Lee’s plight on Friday.

RELATED: Asian American welcomed to neighborhood with confederate flag

“People are hurting,” said Holly Tillman, the only Black councilmember on the Clayton City Council. “Speak out. Stand up for your neighbors. Let them know this will not be acceptable.”

As she spoke, the roar from the engines of passing motorcyclists sped by. Tillman accused them of trying to drown out their voices.

Photo by Louis Chan

Nearby, a Clayton police officer sat in his patrol car and appeared to be monitoring the rally.

Clayton is a city of 12,000 people. 74% of the population is White. Just under 7% are Asian American.

Lee’s adopted 8-year old son Owen also spoke at the rally. He cheered up the crowd as he talked about love and acceptance.

Also in attendance were members of the faculty at San Francisco State University who were there to show support for their co-worker.

Mai-Nhung Le described herself as “heartbroken” when she heard what Lee has been enduring.

Photo by Louis Chan

“What happened to Dr Lee is one example of attacks on the Asian American community,” she said. “Hate and violence are rooted in a system of oppression and racism. We must work together to end the two pandemics.”

The Contra Costa County District Attorneys office is currently investigating two complaints filed by Lee against his neighbor for possible prosecution.

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