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Marching in solidarity: hundreds take to the streets to protest anti-Asian attacks

Hundreds gathered in Mitchel Square Park to call for unity amid further Asian hate crimes.
Photo by Dean Moses

New Yorkers who rallied Uptown say enough is enough—no more Asian hate.

Despite mounting activism and the NYPD’S implementation of a task force and civilian panel to combat anti-Asian violence, the AAPI community are still being targeted in unprovoked hate crimes, the latest of which occurred on 125th Street and Third Avenue, leaving a 61-year-old man hospitalized after repeated punts to the head. These continued and seemingly random attacks have enraged the city.

A young woman believes all races should unite against white supremacy. Photo by Dean Moses
Black Lives Matter activists stood alongside those calling for the protection of the AAPI community. Photo by Dean Moses

Organized by activists and the Rainbow Coalition, a group consisting of all races and creeds congregated at Mitchel Square Park on 168th Street Sunday afternoon to stand in solidarity with Asian Americans. The event began with the creation of a shrine at the roots of a tree where incense was spread, and prayers were said. And then, as more people poured into the park clinging to protest signs, speakers addressed the ongoing fight to prevent turmoil between cultures.

A man drags the American flag through the streets, symbolizing his feelings on the country amid racist attacks. Photo by Dean Moses

Johanna Fernández is an assistant professor of history at Baruch College and is a part of a movement to free Mumia Abu-Jamal, an activist and journalist who helped create the Philadelphia branch of the Black Panther Party and was convicted of murdering officer Daniel Faulkner in 1981. On Saturday, protesters celebrated his 67th birthday at City Hall and continued to declare his innocence in the incident and demanding that he be freed from prison.

“We are here in the heart of the Dominican community; we are marching to East Harlem and we are here to say an injury to one is an injury to all. Not too long ago we had a person in the White House who was blaming China and the Chinese for the coronavirus and spewing anti-Asian hate, spewing white supremacy, and jingoism in this country and that is what we have to blame,” Fernández said to a roaring, jam-packed crowd.

Johanna Fernández holds a phone so Mumia Abu-Jamal could speak to the crowd. Photo by Dean Moses

Those preparing to march were also excited to hear from Mumia Abu-Jamal, who spoke to the large gathering via a cell phone from a hospital bed in a Pennsylvania correctional facility, where he is recovering from heart surgery and COVID-19.

“This country has a long and distinguished history of anti-Asian violence and one of the most oppressed communities. We came over here and were exploited by their labor, not just as people who labored on the land, but people who labored in mines and they were treated as non-humans,” Abu-Jamal said. 

“Stop violence against Asians” was the mantra carried by all on Sunday. Photo by Dean Moses
Asian marches say they belong in the country and fellow walkers agreed. Photo by Dean Moses

After the speech, like a stampede about 200 demonstrators filed out of the park and into the street, chanting “Stop Asian hate!” Waving signs, banging drums, and holding fists to the sky marchers walked in solidarity with one another as they made their way to East Harlem. Among the marchers, were nurses who exhibited signs reading, “Racism is a public health crisis,” Asians wearing “Black Lives Matter” masks and Black and Brown individuals brandishing, “I stand with Asian lives!” posters.

Marchers chant “Stop Asian hate! “Photo by Dean Moses

This was a message intended to spread unity, which appeared to be successful as passing motorists stopped to give protesters a fist bump or horn honk. Local store owners also emerged from their place of business to record the commotion.

The march culminated in the People’s Church in East Harlem, near the site where the last attack was committed.

Passing motorists fist bumped those marching to 125th street. Photo by Dean Moses
Nurses call racism a “Public health Crisis.” Photo by Dean Moses

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