SAN JOSE, Calif. (KRON) — In response to the spike in attacks against Asian American and Pacific Islander communities, a San Jose church is stepping in to provide some extra protection.
After learning about the alarming increase in hate crime attacks on the AAPI community, specifically the elderly, Maranatha Christian Center in San Jose wanted to help its neighbors.
“I feel like this happens quite often, it’s just now that the lights are on it very bright and I think that it’s a good thing that it’s coming to light, so people can find a way to kind of combat this issue,” said Aniyah Augmon.
“But it’s also tragic that this is happening especially somewhere where we’re supposed to feel safe like at home.”
In response to the attacks, Augmon came up with the idea of making wristbands and lanyards with built-in lights and alarms from her “Glamour Guard” self-defense keychain business.
For those wearing the wristbands and lanyards, they will be able to press a button in a matter of a few seconds in case they are being attacked which will then set off a loud alarm to deter the attacker and alert anyone who is nearby.
“I feel like I could shift it [Glamour Guard] a little bit more to focus on the AAPI community because everybody needs to be protected not just women but everyone,” said Augmon.
“I like the cross-culture that’s happening, helping everyone out especially with the Black Lives Matter Movement a lot of people have come together as you’ve seen in downtown San Jose with the protests,” Augmon added.
“And I feel like it’s only right to give back to other communities and other cultures.”
Maranatha Christian Center senior pastor Tyrone Partee tells KRON4 News they wanted to help the elderly in the community as they are most vulnerable to these violent attacks, and a high level of vigilance and preventative measures are needed to protect them.
The wristbands and lanyards will also support Santa Clara County’s hate crime prevention efforts.
“And we’re here because we want to put a stop to it, not just with Asians but for any American that has to face this atrocity, it hurts, it damages, and it ruins our country,” said Partee.
“We want everybody safe in this community.”
At Tuesday’s Board meeting, $10,000 was awarded to Maranatha Christian Center to produce and distribute the wristbands and lanyards to the elderly Asian American community and other at-risk groups.
“These types of hate incidents or hate crime against the Asian American community is not just against Asians it’s actually against everybody and I think hate against one is hate against all,” said Otto Lee, Santa Clara County District 3 Supervisor.
“I think it means that the county definitely cares about the Asian AAPI population and is truly aware and is taking this issue really seriously and to make sure people can feel safe in their own community.”
Through the county’s investment, the Maranatha Christian Center will be able to produce and distribute more than 2,000 wristbands and lanyards.
Partee says production of the wristbands and lanyards has already begun and they will also work with other organizations who are already providing similar services in order to maximize the availability of the safety divides to the most at-risk seniors.
If you know anyone would like a wristband/lanyard call the Maranatha Christian Center at 408-280-7729.
“We’re going to be joining with AACI and some of the local institutions that are around, we’re going to be offering this to senior citizen facilities,” said Partee.
“There is no charge to get a lanyard, there’s no charge to get an alarm wristband, it is all materials and we as a community as a church as an outreach center, we’re going to be going wherever there’s a need, we’re going to walk those lanyards in,” Partee added.
“We want to make sure they get to the elderly or any person who feels vulnerable.”