A woman is being recognized in Oakland’s Chinatown after surveillance videos revealed how she protected an elderly Asian man and fought off his attacker during a bus ride in late April.
Why this matters: Bystanders play a crucial role in the outcome of attacks against Asian Americans, which continue to be on the rise. In more violent incidents, their intervention could mean the difference between life and death.
- The woman, identified only as Mychelle, used her body to shield 69-year-old Hua Zhen Lin from a cane-wielding man inside an AC Transit bus on April 26. Video shows that she not only protected Lin, but pressed his attacker against a plexiglas barrier and whipped out her phone to take his photo.
- “I saw this man walk past me and he had his cane, and he just hit the man [Lin] in the face,” Mychelle told ABC7 News in a new interview. “I wouldn’t sit there and watch anyone get hurt.”
- Mychelle ended up getting attacked herself, as seen in the video. Despite this, she still jumped off the bus to chase Lin’s attacker, who managed to flee at the time.
- Lin, who sustained a wound to his face, suffered nightmares in the aftermath of the attack. Police have since made an arrest in connection with the incident, according to ABC7 News.
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What the community is saying: President of the Oakland Chinatown Chamber of Commerce Carl Chan, 62, acknowledged Mychelle’s heroic act. His organization set up a GoFundMe page to help her relocate to a safer place.
- “She is not only courageous but someone with integrity,” Chan told ABC7 News. “It doesn’t matter who we are, Black, Asian, white, Hispanic, whatever race. We need to unite and work together to fight COVD-19 and fight hate. I hope many of us will step up in recognizing our bus hero.”
- Arlene Lum, who organized the GoFundMe page, said Mychelle has been targeted by harassments and threats since the incident. “Someone threw paint on her car and slashed her tires. They even tried to intimidate her by putting dead rats near her home,” Lum wrote. “Join us to help raise funds so that Mychelle, our Bus Hero, can move to a safer place so that she would not have to live in fear.”
- Chan himself was assaulted just hours after the attack against Lin. He was on his way to visit Lin when James Lee Ramsey, 25, struck him in the back of his head and left him with a scraped knee.