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SAN FRANCISCO (KGO) -- A father of a 1-year old child is sharing his story after being brutally attacked outside a grocery store in San Francisco.

The incident has community leaders speaking out on the need for safer streets in order for businesses to thrive post-pandemic.

EXCLUSIVE: 2 Asian women attacked, robbed in different neighborhoods

"My sense of security has been shattered," says the man who wants to be called "Bruce.


He recalled the terrible moment he was waiting to cross the street in the Mission Bay neighborhood with his child in a stroller, when he was suddenly knocked to the ground and attacked with a flurry of punches.

"I was right on the ground and in that exact second I was trying to shield my head and prevent any worse injuries," he said. "I couldn't protect my child. I was on the floor and he was in a stroller that was slowly rolling away, so it's definitely very scary as a parent."

When asked if he thought the incident was racially motivated, Bruce said the thought did cross his mind, especially given the random nature of the attack and the number of attacks on Asian Americans in the past year.

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The incident is shocking to nearby business owners, such as Nani Tsegaye of Tadu Ethiopian restaurant. She says her store location in Mission Bay has actually been broken into and robbed more times than their Tenderloin location, and that dealing with crime is the price of doing business in San Francisco.

"It was a heartbreaking experience," she said. "We just expect something to happen now more than we expected before."

Vas Kirinis of NextSF and director of the Fillmore Merchant's Association, says it has never been easy to do business in the city -- Especially during this small business week and month where Mayor London Breed is challenging residents to buy small and local.

"The city needs to demonstrate that we are safe and clean and fun to be in again. Safety is of the utmost importance for us running out businesses so we really need to address this."

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As for Bruce's suspected perpetrator, Sidney Hammond, ABC7 News learned he was arrested less than a month earlier after an assault and for stealing at the same location.

ABC7 News reporter Dion Lim reached out to the DA's office asking for comment. The response was that multiple felonies and misdemeanors were being filed against Hammond.

Bruce is speaking out to raise awareness, and has this wish:

"That my attacker can be somewhere where he can't harm anyone else or if he needs help he can get the help he needs."

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Shirley Chung of 'Top Chef' pivoted her business and became a voice against anti-Asian hate

Shirley Chung prepares a dish at the Michael Muller's HEAVEN, presented by The Art of Elysium, event on Jan. 5, 2019 in Los Angeles.Phillip Faraone | Getty Images Entertainment | Getty Images

When the pandemic hit, chef and reality TV star Shirley Chung quickly pivoted her restaurant business to manage through the crisis.

Dealing with anti-Asian hate was another matter.

As she heard about alarming racist incidents and hate crimes happening around the country recently, including the killing of six women of Asian descent near Atlanta in March, Chung felt a need to speak out.

"Everything that was happening was hitting so close to our hearts," the 44-year-old said of herself and the chef community in Los Angeles.

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Chung, who was a finalist on Bravo's reality show "Top Chef," also endured incidents at the Culver City, California-restaurant, Ms Chi Cafe, that she co-owns with her husband. Her non-regular diners began to question its cleanliness, despite seeing tables sanitized in front of them. The back door was graffitied. In response, Chung added extra cleaning services and installed security cameras so that her customers and staff felt safe.

More recently, someone stole a to-go order right off the counter, threatened her husband, Jimmy Lee, and screamed racist remarks.

"That actually made me want to be even more vocal and really share my experience," said Chung, who was born in Beijing and immigrated to the U.S. at age 17.

VIDEO3:0803:08Asian-Americans have had to deal with increasing hate in the past year, says advocateThe News with Shepard Smith

While the couple's parents wanted them to stay quiet in fear for their safety, Chung said making noise will help call attention to the plight of the Asian-American and Pacific Islander (AAPI) community and the impact of hate on their businesses.

"We don't want to be silent anymore," she said. "We want to lead by example and let our parents see it is OK. Now is our time."

Paying it forward

When Covid first hit, Chung quickly made adjustments to her business.

"That was the only way to survive," she said.

As she opened back up, she restarted shipments of her frozen dumplings to Goldbelly, a gourmet food delivery company. Within the first week, her orders tripled and she knew she was onto something. She increased her offerings and now has a full-blown store. She also started doing digital cooking demonstrations.

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Source: Shirley Chung

While trying to come up with solutions, she started talking to other area chefs to exchange ideas.

"From those conversations, I realized many AAPI owners and chefs didn't have the access to many things 'mainstream' restaurants and chefs are used to, from government grants and updated policies to social media platforms to promote their business," said Chung, author of "Chinese Heritage Cooking From My American Kitchen."

She began to help her fellow AAPI business owners by sharing new policies, and suggesting they join the Independent Restaurant Coalition. She also helped less well-known restaurants get onto platforms like Goldbelly to expand their income, she said.

In March, Chung took part in the LA Food Gang fundraiser, Let's Eat Together, which raised almost $60,000 for struggling AAPI restaurants.

This Sunday, Chung will also be a part of a week-long event called Pop Off LA, in which select Los Angeles restaurants will collaborate one one-of-a-kind creations. A portion of the proceeds will go to nonprofit Off Their Plate, which will then engage struggling Asian restaurants to make meals for AAPI organizations.

Hopeful about the future

Chung is extremely hopeful for 2021. One blessing in disguise has been the changes she's made to her business that she plans on keeping.

"There were some digital business innovations happening during the pandemic," she said. "This live cooking experience via the internet is here to stay."

The pandemic also made her community more connected. Now she's hoping that Asian-Americans can become more visible. That means getting involved in politics and on mainstream media and pop culture.

"Representation matters," Chung said.

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