Community Spotlight: One man led an inspired response when hate hit town

Community Spotlight: One man led an inspired response when hate hit town

When teenagers harassed a local Asian American business owner recently, the incident snagged my attention and not just due to the despicable act itself. Observers claimed the police chose to not take action because the kids were minors (and white, my critical mind added, recalling past city police abuses like this and this). I felt angry and frustrated with the kids, city officials, and my own helplessness to fix the problem.  

My dismay, however, was mitigated by a low-key yet effective response spearheaded by one man. I discovered this local incident serendipitously via Facebook post, but saw nothing about it in the local news—until the media deemed the inspired response important enough to report. This lack of initial reporting on the hate crime added fuel to my anger. How can we respond to specific hate crimes and demand official action if we don’t even know they’ve occurred? Taking meaningful action is a powerful antidote to frustrated helplessness. Yet in hindsight, I see that the delayed coverage actually improved how media reported the event.

I’ll tell you about mine if you tell me about yours! When a hate crime is reported in your area, how does your community respond?

The hate crime story was picked up on July 3 by the Facebook page of Stand Up For Chico (California), an activist organization. A group of teenagers shouted racist slurs and shoved the Asian American owner of Gelayo, a frozen yogurt and boba shop, before charging inside the shop to grab candy and other toppings. A customer took video and photos of the incident and posted them to Facebook, where they were seen by Aveed Khaki, a frequent Gelayo customer.

It was Khaki’s response that finally made the hate crime newsworthy. He began gathering donations from friends to help out Gelayo’s owner, Daeheui Kim, amassing $3,000 in the first hour. “The goal was never to do more than $1,000, but we just continued to have contributions coming in, so we decided to keep it going,” Khaki told Chico ER. Khaki also said that Kim reported a big increase in customers since the attack was reported, with lines out the door to Gelayo.

The casual fundraiser collected nearly $13,000 in one week, from over 200 contributors. The money is funding a public open tab at Gelayo. “What we’re looking at is about 2,000 people in town getting to try their business for free,” Khaki told ChicoER. “It’s really uplifting to see that there are so many people that were willing to come together, a lot of whom have never even been there before, just wanting to support (Gelayo) and make sure that they knew that wasn’t what the community was about.”  

When the free froyo event kicked off on Wednesday, Khaki posted the “secret code” for the open tab to Facebook, reminding customers to tip generously and take photos to share on social media. “Thank you again to all of you wonderful people who made this possible. The owners couldn’t be more thankful, and they wanted to express their love to each and every one of you.”

The Kim family, owners of Gelayo, show cards from caring Chicoans. Daeheui Kim’s daughter Minjoo Kim told Action News that “This whole experience has been incredible; we’ve been getting cards, flowers, gifts, donations, and tips, and it means the world to us.” (Photo courtesy of Aveed Khaki)

My city has too many local issues—like this, this, this, and this latest ruling—that the GOP-dominated city officials refuse to address meaningfully. My belief that city council members promote hate with their lies and inaction, rather than attempting to make the city safer for everyone, is a main source of my anger and frustration. We’ve protested, advocated, and taken independent action, but city officials look the other way, as if to say “meh, not my problem.” Street protests can bring attention to issues, but are not an attractive option when it’s 95°F on a cool day (and 113° as I publish this). How could we ever summon enough protestors to make a statement when reports said police took no action, and the hate crime went unreported by local media?

Khaki’s fundraiser is an inspired counterbalance to the hostility of those misguided teenaged bigots who’ve faced no consequences for their aggression. News stories about the incident are centered not on the teens, but rightfully on those who deserve emphasis: Gelayo, Kim, and the people who responded with compassion. More media attention is focused on those who nurture community concern for all residents—the people who don’t look away and say “meh,” but who step forward because bigotry is a problem we must face down together.

On Wednesday, Khaki posted a new Facebook message announcing that he was ready for another phase of citizen action. “Our next stop will be to meet with our chief of police to see what can be done about the crimes committed, and how we can work to make sure they don’t happen again.” On Thursday afternoon, Chico Police released a statement saying they had “responded to Gelayo on the day of the incident and started an investigation into the matter,” and solicited phone calls from anyone who witnessed the incident.

The timeline here appears suspicious to me: A week after video, photos and first-hand reports were posted on social media, and one day after the fundraiser caught media attention, the police finally released a statement. If I were to meet with the police chief, I’d push for him to report alleged hate crimes and request witnesses to them far sooner than eight days after the event.

How do you counter hate in your community? Any inspired responses? Are you satisfied with your local government’s approach to these events? Let’s talk about it in the comments.
 

12 STORIES RESCUED FROM 1 PM PDT FRIDAY, JULY 2 TO 1 PM PDT FRIDAY, JULY 9, 2021

Good news: You don’t have to search to find our rescued stories! The nightly News Roundup, published six days a week at 7:30 PM PDT, will soon include links to each day’s rescued stories.

Also: I’m experimenting with a shorter approach to story blurbage this week. Let me know what you think. The numbers in parentheses after each author’s name relate the year that member joined Daily Kos, how many stories they’ve published, and how many we’ve rescued. The question mark means I can’t confirm previous rescues, simply because they are too far in the past.

Vaxophobia: The world’s deadliest phobia by Stephen Dreyfus (2017-153-?)

The history of vaccine fear, all the way back to the smallpox era, illustrates that any vaccine you can name has its attendant phobics. “People believe what they want to believe, rational or not.”

Thoughts on flying the flag in celebration on July 4th for the first time in 4 years by gimmie truth (2006-9-1)

Seeing the U.S. flag flying during the Trump years was like a violation to the author, who now is ready to “take her back” and “celebrate the hope she still inspires.”

An art mystery: The Lewis Hine photography puzzle by Tortmaster (2008-271-?)

Was it art fraud when a photographer’s name was signed to photos printed on paper that was not manufactured until decades after his death? Why didn’t the person responsible for millions of dollars of fraudulent sales face criminal charges? See this original research for answers.

The futures of the GOP by Sollace (2021-1-1)

“Right now, the Republican Party is doing fascism. What this means for the country depends on how Americans respond to it.” Gaming out the possibilities for the GOP produces a mixed bag of outcomes, from fascist super party to permanent irrelevance and eventual demise. This was the second most-recommended rescue of the week, with over 200.

Building a renewable energy power grid by Weave (2005-7-2)

A detailed and illustrated explanation of how to link multiple solar and wind farms into a single, large, integrated system that can tailor power output to demand. The comment discussion expands on the feasibility and execution of this concept.

How should we teach the American Revolution? by ed in the apple (2015-32-3)

How can schools foster debate and interpretation in a way that engages and challenges a 15-year old? The answer is a roadmap for teaching civics and history in public school offered by a new initiative: Educating for American Democracy.  

The Language of the Night: ‘The Three-Body Problem’ by DrLori (2010-238-113)

Can a planet with three suns in gravitational orbit around each other achieve a predictable, anticipatable pattern that allows intelligent life to develop through a video game played by one of the protagonists? Don’t be scared of the physics behind Liu Cixin’s Hugo Award-winning science fiction novel.

Lake Powell 10-month direct comparison photos: 30 feet water loss by Bluedogsd (2006-68-1)

Photos of Lake Powell, Arizona provide a dramatic warning of climate change consequences. This was the most recommended rescue of the week, with over 270.

Toyota isn’t the problem, capitalism is the problem by Larks Tongues In Aspic (2019-5-1)

Boycotting large companies might make us feel righteous, but often it’s just performative PR. The only way to keep profit-chasing amoral forces from helping to destroy democracy is to separate politics and corporations.

Ballpark rules by rmartin1241 (2020-21-2)

How would the final game of the 1901 World Series have played out if people behaved as Republicans did in the 2020 U.S. election? This imaginary account tells us. ”The overwhelming evidence was on the side of the Pirates and the only obstacles were a rogue manager, an opportunistic league president, and a few hundred rowdy fans in the bleachers.”

Family fireworks on the Fourth by lfct (2020-1-1)

What do you do when wingnut family members, whom you don’t particularly like, invite themselves for a four-day visit, bring along their 14-year-old granddaughter, and then lie to your face about being vaccinated?

Correcting an error: National Change of Address database is being abused with Georgia voter roll removals by snowboard (2005-50-2)

A voter outreach group discovers that when children move from their parents’ home and fill out a national change of address form, the parents themselves are removed from Georgia voter rolls. “Hope Springs from Field PAC is supporting the 2022 voter turnout now by ‘reminding voters’ of the changes in the laws, especially when they are done to keep minorities from exercising their constitutional rights.”

sig line recap

Signature lines are on their way out, as the new profile pages don’t have that option. In a previous edition, I asked you to share your sig lines in the comments and have selected some examples to feature.

Philosophers were a frequent source of quotes. Otteray Scribe favored Erik Hoffer, while cazcee drew from Thoreau. Major Kong, as we might expect from his aviation-related stories, found inspiration in the film Dr. Strangelove. Gizmo49’s Voltaire quote is especially apt for our present times, as is SottoVoce’s warning from Kierkegaard.  

Enmobile found inspiration in a 1960s TV spy show: “I’ve always used a classic quote by Maxwell Smart that I think is relevant to this site’s mission: ‘And once again, the forces of goodness and niceness have overcome the forces of evilness and rottenness.’”

Linkage’s sig line comes from 1880s math fiction Flatland: “‘Upward, not Northward’ … It suggests changing the frame on how we view the world.”

Lostintheozarks didn’t realize sig lines were possible, so she created one: “No system is foolproof, because fools are so ingenious!”

Peekaboosuits reveals that “Honestly, this is the first I’ve even heard of signature lines. I like ‘em though. If I had one it would be my bumper sticker, ‘Carpe Diem … Mañana.’”

Wasatch says “I didn’t have a sig line, but just created one. It’s something I was told that helped me through a rough time, and its meaning for me has only expanded: ‘Love is never wasted.’”

Rhysling offered an aspirational sig line (intended but not actualized): “From my days (long ago) as a hot tub salesman: ‘We screw the other guy and pass the savings on to you!’ This captures so much of our economic and political life nowadays, it feels like a cliche.”

Eyesbright’s profile shouts that “You are more powerful than you know and they fear the day you discover it!”

Marksb’s sig line comes from his shocking throat cancer diagnosis 14 years ago, and subsequent three months with a feeding tube, unable to eat or taste food. It’s from Warren Zevon’s last interview when he was dying from cancer. “Letterman asked what he had learned about life and death. Warren simply said ‘Enjoy every sandwich.’”

Odysseus’ sig line reminded me to ask what those numbers reference (the Political Compass self-quiz). “-7.75 -4.67 ‘Freedom’s just another word for nothing left to lose.’ There are no Christians in foxholes.” That last one was explained as “a reversal of the old saying that “‘there are no atheists in foxholes.’ As a former Catholic and now hardcore atheist, I appreciate the juxtaposition.”

dewtx notes that “Courtesy is owed. Respect is earned. Love is given.”

SCarton gets to the point: “Reality over make-believe. Facts over feelings. Data over anecdotes. Science over everything. Will not respond to comments indulging in name-calling or personalizing public policy issues.”

COMMUNITY SPOTLIGHT is dedicated to finding great writing by community members that isn’t getting the visibility it deserves.

  • Each day’s collection of rescues is reported in the News Roundup published on the front page at 7:30 PM PDT.
  • To add our rescued stories to your Stream, click on the word FOLLOW in the left panel at our main page or click on Reblogs and read them directly on the group page.
  • You can also find a list of our rescued stories by clicking HERE.

An edition of our rescue roundup publishes every Saturday at 6 p.m. ET (3 p.m. PT) to the Recent Community Stories section and to the front page at 9:30 p.m. ET (7:30 p.m. PT).

  

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