Asian-Americans and supporters gathered in Times Square Wednesday night to demand more protection from the police, and call for an end to hate and bias-driven attacks.
Dozens of white lanterns lined the steps of Father Duffy Square, in a silent homage for the victims of of Asian hate in the middle of the bustling tourist destination.
The Justice for Asian Women rally drew a crowd of supporters calling out the dramatic rise in anti-Asian hate since the start of the pandemic.
“I’m here for my daughters and for the future of all Asian-Americans,” said Francine Yu.
“It’s been a year already since the tragic shootings that sparked a nationwide movement. And yet we still are scared to leave our homes,” said Benjamin Wei, the founder of & executive director of Asians Fighting Injustice.
These Asian American seniors from New York are the latest to take matters into their own hands. They are learning how to protect themselves with self-defense classes as hate crimes continue to plague the AAPI community in 2021.
The rally also fell on the same day Christina Lee‘s accused killer was indicted for her murder. Police said the 35-year old New Yorker was stalked and fatally stabbed dozens of times in February inside her Chinatown apartment.
Weeks before that Michelle Go was shoved onto the subway tracks at Times Square and killed. The deaths of Go and Lee have not been classified as hate crimes.
On March 11, police said a 67-year old Yonkers woman was called racial slurs before being brutally punched 125 times in an attack even seasoned officers have called one of the most appalling they have ever seen.
“We need more action. We need to see stronger solutions,” said Jo-Ann Yoo, of the Asian American Federation.
From detailing their own brushes with hate, to stories of people being afraid to even leave their homes, Asian-Americans have said that the rise in crimes against their community has literally changed how they live their lives.
Romney Smith covers the vigil that honors the life of Yao Pan Ma, a Chinese immigrant who was brutally attacked in April 2021 while collecting cans in East Harlem and died New Years Eve.
At Wednesday’s rally, New York Gov. Kathy Hochul held up a whistle — a tool many Asian women now say they travel with for safety — as she promised to continue to fund programs to stop the hate.
“I’m going to continue bringing resources of New York to organizations. Over $10 million thus far and we’re just getting started so u can use it to educate people,” Hochul said.
New York City Mayor Eric Adams released a statement after the indictment of Assamad Nash, the man accused of killing Christina Lee, in which he said that the emergency task force being created to combat crime would help the Asian-American community as well.
“The new emergency taskforce we’re creating will address the intersection where public safety, mental health, and homelessness intertwine, and is our latest effort to support the AAPI community during these troubling times,” Adams said in a statement. “As we mournfully commemorate the one-year anniversary of the horrific Atlanta spa shootings, I want members of our AAPI community, and all New Yorkers, to know that we are working around the clock to put an end to this violence and ensure that people in every neighborhood can feel safe in our city.”