A trans Indian woman believes she was targeted for wearing a sari in an alleged attempted robbery in downtown San Francisco on Saturday night.
Anjali Rimi, president and chief executive officer of Parivar Bay Area — a local nonprofit supporting queer and trans South Asians — sustained a hand injury in the incident which involved a speeding motorcycle. In an interview with SFGate, Rimi said she and a friend — who is also a trans South Asian woman — were crossing a street when the motorcycle in question “suddenly revved up” and “came at us.” She recalled trying to protect her companion, but she soon realized that she was the target.
“It became very clear that I was the target and he came and hit me,” Rimi, 43, told SFGate. “I don’t know what happened. But all I remember is that my right hand hurt like crazy, my bag had torn and things fell out of it on the street.”
Rimi believes she was targeted because she is Hindu. She was wearing a sari at the time.
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“Just got hit in San Francisco, targeted for wearing a sari and being [a] South Asian Hindu,” Rimi wrote in a tweet after the incident. “Still alive. Bruised. Survived Asian hate in this city. Wow, [I] never thought it would happen to me.”
A spokesperson with the San Francisco Police Department reportedly confirmed with SFGate that “an unknown suspect pulled up on a motorcycle and attempted to take her [Rimi’s] purse,” but was unsuccessful. However, they found “no indication that this was a prejudice-based incident.”
But Rimi, who has lived “in and out” of San Francisco for over 20 years — which reportedly included periods of homelessness — told SFGate that she has walked “far worse streets” and got through them just fine. Believing that the city has always been safe, she is confident that the attack was motivated by her identity.
Rimi has since received an outpouring of supportive messages on social media. In a follow-up tweet, she thanked those who expressed concern and affirmed her strength as she recovers.
“Koti Koti Pranam for concern and support. My injuries will take a bit to heal, but my resolve to be ME is stronger than ever before,” Rimi wrote. “The bindi-sporting, sari-clad Desi Southasian Hindu Immigrant Brown transgender woman will be around for a bit longer. Hate never wins.”