When she was attacked last week Wednesday, 76-year-old Xie Xiaozhen was just waiting to cross the road. Then a white man suddenly stepped forward and punched her, in an act of anti-Asian violence. Both afraid and angered by the hate crime, she picked up a wooden plank lying nearby and fought back.
Surprisingly, it was her attacker, 39-year-old Steven Jenkins, who had to be carried away on a stretcher and sent to the hospital afterwards.
Xie Xiaozhen’s injuries are serious as well. One of her eyes is bruised and bleeding, and her wrist is swollen. Her daughter, Dong-Mei Li, said she was traumatized and emotionally unstable.
Her grandson, John Chen took to the crowdfunding site GoFundMe to raise money for her medical expenses. The original goal was US$50,000 but he has already raised more than US$920,000.
Xie Xiaozhen plans to donate all the money to an Asian American and Pacific Islander (AAPI) organization to combat racism.
Grandson Mr. Chen said that Xie believed fighting racial discrimination was more important than herself. He also quoted her saying after the attack that she hopes young Asian Americans can support each other and protect the weak.
Since the attack, her eyes can now be opened, and her emotional state has improved.
Steven Jenkins is also suspected of assaulting Ngoc Pham, an 83-year-old Vietnamese man, in a grocery store before attacking Xie Xiaozhen. Ngoc Pham was seriously injured.
The San Francisco Community Youth Center crowdfunded medical expenses for him and has raised more than US$280,000 so far. Ngoc Pham now needs to wear a neck sleeve to fix his injury.
He has expressed happiness that he was temporarily allowed to go home, but must return to the hospital for a check-up in a few weeks to decide whether he needs surgery for a broken nose.
His son Kiet quoted his father on social platforms as expressing his gratitude to everyone for their donations, support and care.
He also thanked the medical staff and said: “I survived concentration camp for 17-years in Vietnam right after the war, and I am going to get through this attack”.
Ngoc Pham also pointed out that he hopes that the assailant will not return to society: “the suspect must be isolated from society, to prevent from hurting to other innocents. It has nothing to do with revenge or anything.”