Elderly Asian American woman who fought attacker to use $1M in donations to fight racism

The nearly $1 million raised in a crowdfunding campaign to benefit a 75-year-old Asian American woman who fought back after being attacked in San Francisco will be donated to combat racism.

That’s according to family members who created a GoFundMe for Xiao Zhen Xie after she was punched in the face by a man while waiting at a traffic light. She picked up a stick and fought back, but the attack left her with two black eyes, a swollen wrist and PTSD, according to the fundraising page.

By Wednesday morning, thousands of supporters had donated more than $933,600, far surpassing the initial goal of $50,000. Xiao’s grandson, John Chen, said in an update that her mental and physical health were improving and she insisted on donating all the money to the Asian American community.

“She said we must not summit to racism and we must fight to the death if necessary,” Chen wrote. “She insists on making this decision saying this issue is bigger than Her.”

Video from the scene, shot after the attack, shows the woman holding the board in one hand and an ice bag in the other. The suspected attacker is seen, his face bloodied, being rolled away on a stretcher.

“You bum, why did you hit me?” she says in Chinese.

Police say the case is being investigated as a possible hate crime. The suspect, Steven Jenkins, 39, is also a suspect in an attack on an 83-year-old Asian man in the same area just 30 minutes earlier. Jenkins was detained by a nearby security guard.

A GoFundMe for the victim in that case, Ngoc Pham, has raised more than $285,000.

Jenkins was booked into San Francisco County jail on two charges of assault likely to produce great bodily injury, two charges of battery with serious bodily injury and two charges of elder abuse, according to jail records.

“Investigators are working to determine if racial bias was a motivating factor in the incident,” police said in a statement.

The assault came hours after city police announced increased patrols in Asian neighborhoods after a surge of attacks in the Bay Area and across the nation, including a shooting rampage in Georgia that left six Asian women and two other people dead.

San Francisco police also recently announced the arrests of three men in connection with a brazen attack on a 67-year-old man inside a laundromat in Chinatown last month. Police Chief William Scott pledged to do everything in his power to keep people safe.

“As you may know, the San Francisco Bay Area has been seeing an alarming spike in brazen anti-Asian violence in recent weeks,” Scott said in a statement. “We are coordinating with our federal partners and local (Asian American) community organizations. … Working together, we must prevent violence and hold perpetrators accountable.”

Rebecca Gonzalez gathers with community members for a vigil to mourn and confront the rising violence against Asian Americans Wednesday, March 17, 2021 at the 10th Street Plaza in Philadelphia, Pa. The vigil was held following a mass shooting in Atlanta that killed eight people, six of them women of Asian descent.

Supported by her fiance Kevin Chen, Jami Webb attends a vigil in honor of her mother, Xiaojie “Emily” Tan outside the spa she owned, Young’s Asian Massage, in Acworth, Ga. on March 18, 2021. Tan was among those killed Tuesday in connected shootings at three Asian spas in the Atlanta area.

A small group of people held a vigil on Thursday night at Young’s Asian Massage in Acworth, Ga., to call for an end to gun violence and hate directed toward the Asian community.

A woman attending a vigil to remember the victims of shootings at three Asian spas in the Atlanta area holds a sign with the names of five of the five victims from the Young’s Asian Massage shooting in Acworth, Ga on March 18, 2021.

Supported by her adoptive father, Mike, left, and her fiancé, Kevin Chen, Jami Webb, attends a vigil on Thursday night in honor of her mother, Xiaojie “Emily” Tan outside the spa she owned, Young’s Asian Massage, in Acworth, Ga. Tan was among those killed Tuesday in connected shootings at three Asian spas in the Atlanta area.

Councilmember Helen Gym address community members during a vigil to mourn and confront the rising violence against Asian Americans Wednesday, March 17, 2021 at the 10th Street Plaza in Philadelphia, Pa. The vigil was held following a mass shooting in Atlanta that killed eight people, six of them women of Asian descent.

Community members gather for a vigil to mourn and confront the rising violence against Asian Americans Wednesday, March 17, 2021 at the 10th Street Plaza in Philadelphia, Pa. The vigil was held following a mass shooting in Atlanta that killed eight people, six of them women of Asian descent.

Community members gather for a vigil to mourn and confront the rising violence against Asian Americans Wednesday, March 17, 2021 at the 10th Street Plaza in Philadelphia, Pa. The vigil was held following a mass shooting in Atlanta that killed eight people, six of them women of Asian descent.

Activists participate in a vigil in response to the Atlanta spa shootings March 17, 2021 in the Chinatown area of Washington, DC. The sign they are holding reads in Chinese, “Police can not protect us. We must watch out for each other.” A gunman opened fire in three spas in the Atlanta, Georgia area, the day before killing eight people, including six women of Asian descent.

Activists participate in a vigil in response to the Atlanta spa shootings March 17, 2021 in the Chinatown area of Washington, DC.

Talia Young of Philadelphia attends a vigil as community members gather to mourn and confront the rising violence against Asian Americans Wednesday, March 17, 2021 at the 10th Street Plaza in Philadelphia, Pa. The vigil was held following a mass shooting in Atlanta that killed eight people, six of them women of Asian descent.

Activists participate in a vigil in response to the Atlanta spa shootings March 17, 2021 in the Chinatown area of Washington, DC.

After dropping off flowers Jesus Estrella, left, and Shelby S., right, stand in support of the Asian and Hispanic community outside Youngs Asian Massage parlor where four people were killed, March 17, 2021, in Acworth, Ga.

Clover and Julie Tran stand with outstretched hands during a candlelight vigil in Garden Grove, California, on March 17, 2021 to unite against the recent spate of violence targeting Asians and to express grief and outrage after yesterday’s shooting that left eight people dead in Atlanta, including at least six Asian women.

Bonnie Youn, a Korean-American woman from Tucker, Ga. holds a flower while speaking to media outside Aromatherapy Spa in Atlanta, March 17, 2021, where one woman was shot to death across the street from Gold Spa where three other women were shot and killed

People hold a banner during a candlelight vigil in Garden Grove, Calif., on March 17, 2021 to unite against the recent spate of violence targeting Asians and to express grief and outrage after yesterday’s shooting that left eight people dead in Atlanta including at least six Asian women.

Justin Kuo and his son Zion Kuo gather with community members for a candlelight vigil in Garden Grove, Calif., on March 17, 2021 to unite against the recent spate of violence targeting Asians and to express grief and outrage after yesterday’s shooting that left eight people dead in Atlanta, including at least six Asian women.

People hug outside Young’s Asian Massage where four people were shot and killed on March 17, 2021 in Acworth, Ga.

An activist participates in a vigil in response to the Atlanta spa shootings March 17, 2021 in the Chinatown area of Washington, DC.

Lijing Zhao, owner of Jo Jos Massage, lays a bouquet of flowers outside the spa where four people were shot and killed on March 17, 2021 in Acworth, Ga.

Activists participate in a vigil in response to the Atlanta spa shootings March 17, 2021 in the Chinatown area of Washington, DC.

Shelby Swan places a sign of solidarity outside a massage parlor where four people were shot and killed on March 17, 2021 in Acworth, Ga.

Mallory Rahman and her daughter Zara place flowers near a makeshift memorial outside of the Gold Spa in Atlanta, March 17, 2021.

People hold signs of solidarity outside a spa where four people were shot and killed on March 17, 2021 in Acworth, Ga.

John and Barbara Hayes, of Sandy Springs,Ga. bring flowers and offer prayers on March 17, 2021 at the steps of Gold Spa, one of the three Asian massage parlors that were the sites of deadly attacks in Northeast Atlanta, Georgia on March 16, 2021.