Following a series of brutal attacks on Asian Americans this month, Bay Area businesses are standing up to the violence by supporting their community.
Last week, Rooster & Rice announced on Instagram that all its 10 Bay Area locations would be available to anyone seeking refuge, and that it would also donate $2 from every meal to Hate Is A Virus, a nonprofit that advocates justice and equality for the Asian American and Pacific Islander community.
“They can come in and sit down if that's what they need,” said Bryan Lew, founder of Rooster & Rice. “We’re letting our staff know to ask if people need assistance, call 911 for them, or whatever they need to feel safe.”
“We want to be an influence hopefully for other restaurants. We're not restaurateurs without the people. We just want to make sure we're doing our part,” Lew added.
Rooster & Rice took the initiative days after the Atlanta shootings on March 16, which claimed the lives of eight people, including six Asian women. Then on March 17, a 75-year-old Asian woman walking on Market Street was punched in the face minutes after an 83-year-old Asian man was assaulted that same day.
“The [attack] on Market Street with the elderly lady could have easily been my grandmother,” Lew said. “I'm Chinese American, born and raised here in San Francisco. My partner is Thai and he's a first-generation immigrant. It definitely hits close to home that this is happening in the community.”
Third Culture Bakery is also raising funds for Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders by offering safety kits to “protect those most vulnerable from these random unprovoked attacks,” the business website reads.
"We started the safety kits as an idea between my partner Sam and I because we knew that we didn’t want to just donate money but wanted to offer a tangible item to make people feel safer and secure," Wenter Shyu, co-owner of Third Culture Bakery, told SFGATE via email. "We wanted to give people something more tactile. We thought it would have just been a few hundred but when reaching out for pick-up locations in San Francisco and Oakland Chinatowns, we received requests of 5,200 plus safety kits. Each kit costs [us] $8 and they will be passed out at senior homes, vaccination sites, and more locations in both Chinatowns. We are currently at 800 safety kits and we'll likely need to fundraise an additional $30,000 to meet the demand."
Each safety kit includes a keychain alarm, pepper spray and lanyards and the kits are expected to be distributed among local community centers throughout California and Colorado — the two states with Third Culture Bakery locations.
San Francisco-based Jina Bakes likewise announced on Instagram that it would raise funds for Stop AAPI Hate and Compassion in Oakland by raffling seven of its kalbijjim croissant boxes for $5 a box.
As Lew thinks about the series of events within the last month, he says that it blows his mind that “racism, in general, keeps on coming up.” He said he hopes that the initiative at Rooster & Rice helps raise awareness and helps usher in a better world for his two-year-old son.|0|https://www.sfgate.com/food/article/Following-violent-attacks-Bay-Area-businesses-16056153.php|1|https://s.hdnux.com/photos/01/17/24/13/20792061/3/rawImage.jpg|2|www.sfgate.com|E|