In Response to Attacks on Asian Elders, a New “Walking Buddy” Program Emerges
One of the most incredible things we’ve witnessed in the past year is all the different versions of mutual aid that have popped up in response to the terrible hardships we’ve had to endure. People have shown up to help make sure each other are fed, and can pay rent, and stay healthy during a pandemic that’s killed over 500,000 Americans. This is truly what the word community is about.
But, it’s kinda a double edged sword. On one hand it’s inspiring and heartening to see people show up for each other. On the other, it’s awful that we need to do this shit to begin with.
The most recent version of this came my way today when my friend Elly messaged me via Facebook.
In response to the recent spike in hate crimes against Asians and Asian-Americans, especially elders, someone named Monica has started a program called “I’ll Walk With You! (San Francisco)” to start matching “Walking Buddies” so that people can stay safe. To get involved you fill out a google form with some of the following info:
– What you’re looking for (Do you want some to walk with you? Volunteer to walk with someone else?),
– Where you live
– What language you speak
– If you want to talk or be silent
– When you’re free to walk
Then the goal is to match you with someone who fits what you’re looking for. And boom! you’ve got a new walking buddy.
Here’s what Monica has to say:
Dadaji, my grandfather, used to love to take walks and often walked alone. I also love taking walks- particularly alone. It is grounding. It is peaceful. It is meditative. It is self-care. I have been thinking a lot about Dadaji these days when I see the horrific news of elderly Asian men & women being attacked for merely leaving their homes. It pains me to think of these bastions of life wisdom and experience ever second guessing if they are safe in their daily meditation and grounding and just errands. With this on my heart, I am organizing “I’ll Walk With You” to support our neighbors who may feel nervous taking a walk to the store, around the block, etc. This does not have to be about a social hour, just someone that can walk a few steps behind to “be there” – or maybe it will be the seeds of a new friendship! We don’t need beefcake bodyguards. These attackers are cowards who target elderly people alone who seem like easy targets. We just need neighbors who are present and allies.
If you are interested in having a walking buddy or volunteering as a walking buddy (or both!) please complete the form below. Walkers do not need to be old/vulnerable/ill or fit a specific demographic. Buddies do not need to be trained bodyguards;) We want to establish safety and support independence for members of our city/community in this time that can feel upsetting and volatile…and can truly be dangerous for those targeted. By completing the form, you agree that a Walker or Walking Buddy may contact you directly.