Image: Xiao Zhen Xie and her assailant Steven Jenkins
In an unprecedented surge of racist attacks against the Asian American community, one victim takes back her power. Xiao Zhen Xie, the 75-year-old grandmother, went viral for not only surviving her attacker, but successfully fending off her assault.
The attack occurred on Market Street in San Francisco on March 18th in busy daylight hours. The perpetrator was a 39-year-old man, Steven Jenkins, who punched Xiao Zhen Xie in the eye and left her bruised and bleeding. Not deterred by this gruesome act, Xiao Zhen Xie grabbed a nearby stick and defended herself, causing her assailant to be taken away on a stretcher when he was apprehended.
Jenkins was also found in connection not only with Xiao Zhen Xie’s attack but another attack on another elderly Asian American. The other victim was 83-year-old Ngoc Pham, a Vietnamese man, who was also attacked the same morning as Xiao Zhen Xie.
The courts have denied Jenkins bail last week. His public defender, Eric McBurney, stated to the court last week that Jenkins is homeless and may be “struggling with mental health”. A statement that is difficult to believe. Especially, when both his victims fit the same profile and were met with the same cruelty and intent.
After Xiao Zen Xie’s attack her family set up a GoFundMe to help with her medical expenses and bills. As of this morning the campaign has raised more than $935,000. Her grandson John Chen says that his grandmother’s condition is improving. Chen added “Her eye is no longer swelled to the point of not being able to open it. She is now starting to feel optimistic again and is in better spirits.”
In a selfless act of compassion, Chen made the announcement that his grandmother has decided to donate all the money raised for her GoFundMe to anti-racism efforts.
“She said we must not [submit] to racism and we must fight to the death if necessary. She also stated multiple times to donate all the funds generated in this GoFundMe back to the Asian American community to combat racism. She insists on making this decision, saying this issue is bigger than her.” Chen continued.