An Orange County, California, neighborhood has banded together to guard an Asian-American family after the family purportedly suffered a series of “deeply upsetting” racist attacks.
What are the details?
According to the Los Angeles Times, Haijun Si and his family moved from China to the United States four years ago. He and his family eventually landed in Ladera Ranch in Orange County just a few months ago. Almost immediately, the family and other neighbors report that they were subjected to racism.
The Times notes that a group of 15 to 20 neighborhood-area teenagers reportedly rang the family’s doorbell late at night, threw rocks at the family’s home, and called the family racial slurs on more than one occasion.
Si told the outlet, “My kids are scared. I’m very annoyed. At night, my wife and I could not sleep for more than three or four hours. Please, parents, tell your kids don’t do that again.”
To prevent the annoyances, Si said he installed a wrought-iron fence, security cameras, and floodlights and even filed a police report — but the harassment didn’t stop. It only abated after neighborhood residents banded together to stand watch in the family’s driveway and from the street outside their home.
It didn’t even stop there.
“The Orange County Sheriff’s Department has been called to the home seven times between October 2020 and February,” the outlet noted. “Deputies have ramped up patrols in the area, and the department has launched an investigation, said Sgt. Dennis Breckner.”
‘Definitely made me sad for this community’
One neighbor, Layla Parks, told the outlet that she was “immediately outraged” when she heard about the family’s treatment and wanted to help — so she shared footage of one of the attacks to a neighborhood Facebook group. Parks’ move eventually prompted other neighbors to volunteer to guard the family’s home.
Now neighbors are standing guard on a nightly basis outside the family’s home in order to protect them from any further harassment.
The Times noted, “Violence and hate incidents directed at Asian Americans have surged across California, including in Orange County, since the beginning of the pandemic, with some blaming Asians because of the coronavirus’ origins in Wuhan, China.”
“I did not understand the extent of the harassment and how often it was occurring,” Parks told the Times. She later added that it makes her “physically ill” to admit that racism is “alive and well” in the neighborhood.
“It’s definitely made me sad for this community, because this is just a wonderful place full of friends and neighbors that love and care about each other,” she added.
Turning their eyes to volunteers
The Times noted that one evening, a group even threw rocks at volunteers who were chatting with Si on the front lawn.
“The next day, as Chinese families around the world celebrated the Lantern Festival, hundreds of residents gathered on the grassy lawn across the street to show their support,” the outlet noted. “People held red lanterns and watched a traditional lion dance performance. Young children danced and clapped along to the music.
Emily Lippincott, who lives nearby in Rancho Mission Viejo, told the outlet that she got involved because she, too, is raising a young child.
” I don’t want to put a ‘for sale’ sign in front of my house and say, ‘I can’t deal with this,'” Lippincott said. “I kept seeing excuses being made, ‘Oh, it’s just kids being kids.’ No, this is months of terrorizing this poor family.”
State Sen. Dave Min (D) told the outlet that it’s imperative for the community to stand together.
“We’re seeing an epidemic of hate right now, and we have to stand together,” Min said last week in remarks at an event supporting the Si family.
Si said of his supporters, “I love my neighbors. I love my community, and I love my country.”
Community rallies behind OC Asian American family targeted by vandals, forms neighborhood watch|ABC7