Published: 15:40, April 6, 2021 | Updated: 20:16, June 4, 2023
Asians keep up pressure in NY on hate crimes
By Minlu Zhang in New York

Volunteers of Main Street Patrol connect their walkie-talkie apps before patrolling the streets of Flushing in New York, the US, on April 4, 2021, in New York. From coast-to-coast, Asian American groups were already doing more than digital activism, including patrolling, escorting, and chaperoning in Asian communities. Now, those activities are only increasing. (BRITTAINY NEWMAN / AP)

Protesters denouncing racism against Asians have again filled the streets in Manhattan as New York sees some of the most sustained agitation in the United States for a stronger response to hate crimes that have become more frequent during the coronavirus pandemic. 

“Our purpose is to regain peace,” John Chan, the event organizer and convener of the Coalition of Asian­ Americans for Civil Rights, CAACR, told the rally on Sunday. 

“We don’t need violence, we don’t need racism, and we call on local law enforcement agencies to pay attention to Asian hate crimes and Asian racism, and severely punish hate crimes.” 

Members of about 500 Asian organizations put on a collective show of solidarity for the latest protest against a surge in racism directed at those of Asian descent

The “NYC Stop Asian Hate Ral­ly”,organized by the Asian Ameri­can Community Empowerment and the CAACR, drew a massive crowd at Foley Square in Manhat­ tan for the start of a protest march. 

Members of about 500 Asian organizations put on a collective show of solidarity for the latest protest against a surge in racism directed at those of Asian descent. 

ALSO READ: Hate crimes against Asian Americans have deep roots in US history

The protesters forced the tem­porary closure of all Brooklyn­ bound lanes on the Brooklyn Bridge on Sunday, New York City officials said. 

“I want to be here today to let you know very clearly that when the haters come for the Asian­ Ameri­can community, they come for all of us, including me,” said New York City Comptroller Scott Stringer, who is running for mayor. 

“I want you to know that you’re not alone. Because when other people and other groups have been attacked and called out, Asian community leadership has always been with everybody. And now it’s our turn to be with you.” 

Sunday’s rally was noticed beyond the Asian community. “My best friend is an Asian. She is like a sister to me, and I consider her as my family,” said Quianna, a schoolteacher.

“As this happened after Black Lives Matter, I feel that I have to support her because she did the same for me.” 

Min Wang met her husband in China several years ago when he was studying Chinese medicine. Standing by her husband, who is black, Wang was holding their 4­-year-­old son, who was wearing a police uniform. 

“He said he wants to catch bad guys,” Wang said, laughing and looking at her son. “Even though he doesn’t know what’s going on.” 

Plagued police 

New York City has been plagued by a spate of anti-­Asian attacks in recent weeks. 

On Saturday, a convenience store worker in Manhattan became the city’s latest suspected victim of an anti­-Asian crime. His attacker spewed angry words at him and said “You Chinese mother­­­­­­!” as he punched him, police said. 

READ MORE: Anti-Asian violence an ugly scar on US

Police said initially the assault was not being classified as a hate crime because the attack was over “a previous larceny and dispute”. But the department said later on Sunday that it was being investi­gated as a bias crime. 

On March 29, a 65­-year-­old Fili­pino woman was physically and verbally attacked in Midtown Manhattan. A parolee convicted of killing his mother nearly two decades ago was charged with two counts of second-­degree assault as a hate crime and one count of first­-degree attempted assault as a hate crime. He was held without bail. 

New York City police said that they had recorded 26 anti­-Asian incidents this year, including 12 assaults.