Back in January of this year, I had attended the one year anniversary of the deadly assault against 84-year-old Vicha Ratanapakdee while on a walk in San Francisco. Recently, there was a ceremony to rename the street where ‘Grandpa Vicha’ used to go for walks:
More than 600 days after the brutal killing of an 84-year-old Thai grandfather in San Francisco, that many believe sparked the movement to stop the attacks on Asian Americans, a street in his neighborhood has been renamed “Vicha Ratanapakdee Way.”
A number of celebrities, politicians, activists and community members attended Saturday’s ceremony. It was a symbol of how much progress has been made and the work yet ahead.
The sounds of celebration heard in the Anza Vista neighborhood were quite a contrast to what happened on these streets on Jan. 28 2021.
Actor Daniel Dae Kim said he remembered it like it was yesterday.
“A video showed up in my social media feed of a brutal attack on an Asian man in broad daylight,” Kim said
Legal groups called for change in how hate crimes are categorized and calling to action the need for victims to be properly communicated with.
As crowd gathered Saturday in the San Francisco neighborhood where Vicha took his morning walks, Thai monks chanted and the audience cheered. Sonora Lane became Vicha Ratapakdee Way with the flick of a wrist and was unveiled for all.”
Besides Daniel Dae Kim and Vicha’s daughter, Monthanus Ratanapakdee, there were many other community speakers, including:
- Vanita Louie, community creator, San Francisco Recreation and Park Commissioner
- Will Lex Ham, actor, co-founder, They Can’t Burn Us All
- Mina Fedor, Founder & Executive Director, AAPI Youth Rising
- David Chiu, San Francisco city attorney
- Judy Young, Executive Director, Southeast Asian Development Center
- Tor Saralamba, Thai Consul-General
- Catherine Stefani, San Francisco Supervisor, District 2
- Amanda Ngoc Nguyen, Founder and CEO of Rise
For the complete program, see the YouTube video above or here.
Afterwards, there was a screening not too far away for the upcoming PBS documentary that will be airing in October, ‘Rising Against Asian Hate – One Day In March,’ exploring the Atlanta shootings in March 2021 against Asian women spa workers that elevated the increasing violence against Asian Americans in the age of COVID.