SAN FRANCISCO (AP)—A street in San Francisco was renamed Oct. 1 in honor of an 84-year-old Thai grandfather killed in a brutal attack that galvanized Asian Americans reeling from a surge in physical and verbal assaults during the pandemic.
A short lane in a neighborhood will be called “Vicha Ratanapakdee Way” and celebrated at an afternoon gathering attracting hundreds of people. Speakers included Ratanapakdee’s daughter, Monthanus Ratanapakdee, and actor Daniel Dae Kim.
Vicha Ratanapakdee was on his usual morning walk in January 2021 when authorities say Antoine Watson, 19 years old at the time, charged at him and knocked him to the ground. Ratanapakdee died two days later, never regaining consciousness.
His death has become a symbol in the national movement to end hate against Asian Americans. Asians in America have long been subject to prejudice, but the attacks escalated after the coronavirus first appeared in late 2019 in Wuhan, China.
Watson is on trial for murder.