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Amid a rise of reported attacks against Asians, San Francisco Chinese community leaders recently announced a new hotline that will make it easier for Mandarin and Cantonese speakers to report hate crimes.

The hotline is 415-558-5588. It was made possible thanks to efforts by the nonprofit organization Asian Pacific Islander American Public Affairs, also known as APAPA, which lobbied the Mayor’s Office and San Francisco Police Department for its creation.

“Now is the time for SFPD to increase language access and ensure victims’ voices are heard,” Police Commissioner Larry Yee said.

“I had to help a Chinese elder translate after she got punched in the eye and shoved off a bus in a random act of violence. She told me the police couldn’t communicate with her. …”

Alan Wong, APAPA

City College of San Francisco Board Trustee and APAPA Board Member Alan Wong said, “I had to help a Chinese elder translate after she got punched in the eye and shoved off a bus in a random act of violence. She told me the police couldn’t communicate with her. It’s time for our community to speak up but that means SFPD must have the appropriate language services for the Chinese population.”

“Language access has long been an issue in API immigrant communities,” Deputy District Attorney and APAPA Board Member Nancy Tung said. “We can’t expect immigrant communities to engage with law enforcement if they don’t have appropriate services to report crime and be understood. This tip line is a small step in the right direction, but there is much work still to do.”

APAPA is helping spread the word about the hotline through informational fliers and cards. Next, the group is working on increasing hotline access by providing even more languages, APAPA officials said.

According to data from the group Stop Asian American Pacific Islander Hate — and since the onset of the pandemic a year ago — 359 incidents of racially motivated scenarios, including verbal assaults and physical violence, against AAPI residents have been reported in San Francisco.