SAN FRANCISCO (KRON) – Chinatown leaders joined San Francisco officials Tuesday to talk about safety at this year’s Chinese New Year parade. The parade is set for Saturday, and it comes just weeks after a mass shooting in Monterey Park and one in Half Moon Bay – both of which targeted members of the Asian-American community.
San Francisco’s Chinese New Year parade usually draws hundreds of thousands of people every year. Organizers are expecting an even bigger crowd this year with up to 1 million visitors coming to celebrate the Year of the Rabbit. That’s why law enforcement says they will be working around the clock to keep the public safe.
“If you love Chinatown, now is the time to come out and hang out with us,” said Malcolm Yeung, the executive director of the Chinatown Community Development Center.
San Francisco Chinatown officials are looking forward to welcoming large crowds to the neighborhood.
But along with the excitement, there is a sense of fear — as the Asian American Pacific Islander community reels from the two recent mass shootings that targeted people of Asian descent.
“I do understand the events over the past couple of weeks are very troubling and very unsettling,” said San Francisco Police Department Chief Bill Scott.
At a news conference at the Chinese Chamber of Commerce Tuesday, law enforcement officials announced extra patrols.
“That’s why it’s important that we are out there in numbers. That’s why it’s important that you see us, not only in the parade but in the perimeter and the communities surrounding the parade so people understand that we’re out there and we’re there to support them,” Scott said.
“If you see something, please let us know and say something about that. That’s the only way we can bring the resources to deal with whatever challenge there might be or whatever situation may arise,” said San Francisco Sheriff Paul Miyamoto.
San Francisco District Attorney Brooke Jenkins had this message to any potential perpetrators:
“Should anyone do anything of criminal nature with respect to this event that they will be held accountable. We want to make sure that this parade is celebratory, as it should be. We all across cultures get to experience the fun and the excitement of the Year of the Rabbit.”
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The Year of the Rabbit symbolizes longevity, peace and prosperity – wishes for the merchants and community members impacted by the pandemic for the last three years.
“One-third of the revenue for all of Chinatown is generated in this one-month period. It’s going to be an incredible day, so bring your wallets, bring your families come out and have fun,” Yeung said.
The parade starts at 5:00 p.m. Saturday. Revelers are urged to arrive early and take public transportation. If you are already in San Francisco, you can take the new central subway that takes you right into Chinatown.