The continuing, unabated rise in anti-Asian violence came to head on Sunday as over a thousand marched in Queens to protest the unprovoked attacks, which have been plaguing the city.
Beginning in Flushing, a who’s who of elected officials and renowned individuals gathered at 137-35 Northern Boulevard on the steps of the neighborhood’s town hall. Here hundreds watched as the likes of Rev. Al Sharpton, Mayor Bill de Blasio, Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, Queens Borough President Donovan Richards, and many, many more rejected injustice to much applause and fanfare.
“We must stop the profiling of Asian Americans. When we saw an attack in Harlem against an Asian American, we don’t need to send a message. We need to come and bring the message. When Blacks attack Asians, Black leaders need to stand up. When whites attack other whites, whites need to stand up. I’ve come to tell you that we are not going to stand by and allow hate between one another. You can’t fight hate against one without fighting hate against all,” Reverend Al Sharpton said, adding, “Hate is wrong no matter who the victim is!”
De Blasio also spoke, but as a polarizing figure the mayor garnered a mixture of cheers and jeers.
“If you love New York City you can’t take the contributions of the Asian American out of it because the only way we are New York City today is because of what all Asian Americans have done for us. So anyone who hates Asian Americans, hates New York City too, hates America too and won’t be accepted in New York City. If you hate get the hell out of here because you don’t belong in New York City. We will stand together,” Mayor Bill de Blasio said.
Led by Queens Borough President Donovan Richards and co-hosted by Congress member Grace Meng and New York State Attorney General Letitia James, the solidarity march was dubbed “We Belong Here: Queens Rises Against Hate.” This anti-hate march united individuals from all across New York City to stand against the recent racial injustices targeted on the Asian American community.
New Yorkers from every borough traveled to Flushing where they stood beneath the looming shadow of speakers hoisting American flags over their heads and waving signs reading “Stop Asian hate” and “Hate is the virus.” Police officers from Community Affairs directed traffic, parting the demonstrators for motorists to make way.
Those in attendance championed every politician and community leader who took the time to spend the afternoon denouncing hatred, such as Senator John Liu who has continuously voiced his disgust with the atrocious crimes being committed against Asian American. Racial slurs, verbal abuse, and violent attacks have heightened since the dawn of the pandemic where individuals have scapegoated Asian Americans for the coronavirus pandemic. Liu says that these demeaning acts will not be tolerated.
“We are here to say we are not subhuman. We are not dogs! We are not a virus! We are not coronavirus! We are people! We are humans,”
Senator @LiuNewYork said at the “We Belong Here: #Queens rises against #hate” #rally and #march in #Flushing. #AAPIHeritageMonth #news pic.twitter.com/ErJ1t9Rzta
— Dean_Moses (@Dean_Moses) May 2, 2021
“We are here to say we are not subhuman. We are not dogs! We are not a virus! We are not coronavirus! We are people! We are humans! We are sons and daughters, we are mothers and fathers, we are aunts and uncles. We are Americans. We are New Yorkers, and we must have the same equal protection under the law and equal treatment by the government,” Liu said passionately.
After hours of speeches, hundreds upon hundreds of marches took to the streets and began their trek with Richards, Liu, and Meng guiding the way, a sea of humanity made up of every race, color, and creed followed. Chants of “Stop Asian hate!” could be heard for blocks as the voices of many cried out as one.