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Hundreds of Oakland residents have jumped in to help elderly Asian Americans who have been violently targeted in the Bay Area.

A recent surge in attacks led Jacob Azevedo, 26, to start a social media campaign offering to escort anyone in Oakland’s Chinatown to help assure their safety. Within days, a full-fledged campaign was launched called Compassion in Oakland.

“We strive to provide the Oakland Chinatown Community with a resource for promoting safety and community. We aim to embrace the often forgotten, underserved, and vulnerable. We promote compassion not indifference, unity as opposed to divisiveness. Fostering a more caring and safer Oakland for all,” reads the mission statement from Compassion in Oakland.

According to Stop AAPI Hate, the nation’s leading coalition documenting and addressing anti-Asian hate and discrimination, between March 19 and December 31 of last year, Stop AAPI Hate received over ​2,808​ firsthand accounts of anti-Asian hate from 47 states and the District of Columbia, and 126​ accounts of anti-Asian hate involving Asian Americans over 60 years old.

“I wasn’t intending to be some kind of vigilante,” Azevedo told CNN. “I just wanted to offer people some kind of comfort.”

“This is important because this community just needs healing,” Azevedo said. “There’s a lot of racial tensions going on because of the previous president’s rhetoric but in general our communities need healing. This is an issue that’s been ongoing for a while.”

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