The SF Peace Collective, a newly-formed group of community leaders, saved an elderly woman who had fallen due to preexisting health conditions in San Francisco’s Chinatown on March 22.
The group was founded only on March 21 by Max LeYoung as a response to all of the racism, violence and xenophobia that Asian Americans have been experiencing, not only amid the COVID-19 outbreak but also throughout the years. Two people who took the initiative to begin serving the community through the organization include San Francisco resident Leanna Louie and her partner, who was born and raised in San Francisco’s Chinatown, Robt Lowe.
Louie’s military experience and Lowe martial arts background has prompted them to do something about issues the community is facing, and they hit the streets of Chinatown on Sunday. They patrolled the streets to make sure that everyone was safe, acting as guardian angels for the elderly and disabled. They even documented their experience and posted photos on Facebook. The post has garnered more than 1,000 reactions, and hundreds of comments and shares.
During their time patrolling, they ran into a situation where they witnessed an elderly Asian woman fall and hit her head. The couple rushed to help the woman who was, fortunately, fully conscious. They learned that she had high blood pressure, high cholesterol, diabetes and heart problems. The woman, who was walking about one block to a friend’s house, said she fell twice before the couple came to her aid. They called 911 and the medics immediately evaluated the situation and later contacted the woman’s son. The couple left after making sure that the elderly woman was in good hands.
Louie and Lowe told NextShark about how situations like these happen all the time in Chinatown, and bystanders often ignore the situation instead of intervening and helping out because of fear or other underlying habits.
Lowe believes that the Chinese culture tends to breed and nurture qualities that result in so many attacks, robberies, abuse and crimes in Chinatown. Instead of protecting our own against racism, Chinese people “have this belief like, ‘oh, leave things alone.” He added that “other races take care of and protect their own people, why can’t we do it? We need to make a stand now, if we don’t take a stand now, we’re not going to take the stand.”
Louie expressed similar sentiments, saying, “Racism has been here for a long time and the biggest problem is that everyone is like ‘don’t talk about it, don’t cause any problems, and because we have this attitude, Asians keep getting picked on, year after year, and this coronavirus has magnified everything.”
Through this realization, they said “enough is enough” and decided to take action.
“Our view is that if we continue to let this happen, we will become a breeding ground for criminals,” Lowe said.
Since picking up traction online, the couple was interviewed on major television networks including ABC7, where they spoke out about their mission in combatting racism.
San Francisco Police say violent crime & property crime is down this month compared to the same time last year (thank the Coronavirus outbreak).
— Dion Lim (@DionLimTV) March 23, 2020
The group originally began on a Facebook Messenger thread on Saturday evening, with community members sharing different videos of crimes being committed in Chinatown. LeYoung formed a separate group chat for those who were interested in personally combatting the issue, and Louie and Lowe joined it. Then, on Sunday morning, the couple got to work, meeting up with some friends in Chinatown and patrolling together. They shared images and videos online as a means to create a dialogue.
The group did not expect to blow up on social media. Louie’s Messenger was almost instantly flooded with young Asian men who wanted to take part in their efforts to do good. Since they are all self-funded volunteers who donate their time and energies out of the kindness of their hearts, she tells everyone who wants to join that they “have to love the community to do this. Don’t come in here thinking that this is for fame or fortune because when you do that, then egos start flying and we will have internal fighting and we don’t want that.”
Louie told NextShark that before joining the SF Peace Collective, she made sure that they were not just some “silly group where (they) just go do meetings and do awards and all that kind of stuff.”
She went on to say, “I actually want to do something, I want to go there. We’re going to arm ourselves with something, pepper spray. Whatever it is, we’re going to record, we’ll have our phones with us, we’ll do citizen’s arrest if needed. Whatever we need to do to let these people know we’re here and we’re not going to let this keep happening to us.”
The feedback they are receiving from the community gives Lowe and Louie hope that the impact they’ve made with the SF Peace Collective will extend into the future.
“We want this to go on for generations to come, we want to tell our people, hey you need to protect your own,” Louie said.
The organization started with 20 members and has expanded exponentially within a matter of days. People from all over the country and all walks of life have contacted the group asking to join. LeYoung went out to Chinatown on Tuesday to ask business owners if they needed assistance getting to their cars so that they feel safe walking home. If you would like to support the SF Peace Collective in their mission, consider donating to their GoFundMe.
Feature Images via Leanna Louie