With New York having the second-highest number of anti-Asian hate incidents in America, civic leaders, elected officials and victims of such crimes gathered in Lower Manhattan on Thursday afternoon demanding action.
The Asian American Foundation held an emergency press conference outside 1 Centre St. on Aug. 19 seeking greater focus and resources from government and police on biased verbal and physical assaults faced by the AAPI community. Speakers drove home newly released statistics in the report from Stop AAPI Hate which show New York to be the state with the second-highest number of hate incident reports involving Asians.
Showing his support, Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer touted the effects he has made to tackle prejudice and promised to continue to do so.
“Amid the continued and truly troubling rise in anti-Asian hate crimes across the city, and real worry in neighborhoods, I stand with our neighbors and friends from the Asian American community to confront and eliminate anti-Asian hate wherever it might be. We passed the COVID-19 Hate Crimes Act to give the DOJ more tools, and locals more help, to stem this tide of intolerance, investigate hate crimes–in every corner or place they might occur—and ease the worry across this great and diverse city. To overcome this scourge, we all must continue to work together,” Schumer said.
With attacks still running rampant, the victims are pleading for direct action to be taking on an issue that is swiftly spiraling out of control. Additionally, President Joe Biden is expected to release in the coming months a comprehensive report regarding the origins of COVID-19; it’s feared that no matter what the results may be, the spate of incidents against Asian Americans will only increase.
“The continuing onslaught of anti-Asian hate and attacks requires that we stay ever vigilant to underscore and denounce the violence and bigotry that has devastated the community in lockstep with COVID. Neither the passage of time nor the overwhelming numbers of incidents will dull the shock and outrage experienced by our community,” Queens State Senator John Liu said.
Minerva Chin, 68, knows first-hand of the bigotry Liu spoke of while simply walking through Mulberry Street as she had done hundreds of times before, feeling safe and content. However, despite hordes of outside diners she became a target on July 27.
“I felt the impact of a punch on the right side of my head. I immediately blacked out and I fell to the ground. I came to in a few seconds and I didn’t realize what had happened until two people approached me to ask me if I was okay. Nothing was stolen and nothing was said to me,” Chin said.
Potri Ranka Manis also spoke out at the press conference, still sporting a black eye from an attack on Aug. 10. The longtime registered nurse was making her way home on the train, distributing masks to rellow riders. A couple with their child were disgusted by this gesture, tossing the mask away before spouting racial slurs letting loose a flurry of punches .
Chin and Manis, are just two examples of hundreds of victims who’ve experienced anti-Asian violence, yet many victims are too afraid to report these crimes. Advocates and speakers implored others to come forward, so that investigations can be made to capture perpetrators and put an end to the violence.