09 Sep Our Streets
We are proud to call New York City home.
It’s where we are raising our two beautiful children. It’s where we go to work. It’s where we attend church. It’s where we enjoy many of the City’s amazing cultural institutions and patronize it’s wide variety of restaurants and shops. And of course, it’s where we root for the Yankees.
Like most New Yorkers, we love walking around the city. There’s no better way to experience all the city has to offer and immerse yourself in its diverse culture. It’s amazing how you can sometimes feel like you live in a small town in a city of 8 million.
The streets bind us. They are the lifeblood of a community.
But sadly, recent racially-motivated biased attacks on our neighbors, specifically against those in the Asian community which we happened to be a part of, has turned the streets we love into the streets we fear. These unprovoked attacks have kept many of our most vulnerable residents at home or forced them to live in fear and mistrust of our neighbors. NYPD report from July found hate crimes targeting Asian Americans in New York were up 363%. Physical assaults are up 16.6%. According to activists, New York is the number one city in the country for anti-Asian attacks. On a national level, a recent report showed there were 9,000 attacks nationwide since the pandemic began (March 2020- June 2021).
But we will not live in fear.
We will not let hate win.
Even before the city shut down in March 2020, the New York City Commission on Human Rights began fielding an influx of reports about anti-Asian attacks happening across the city. According to Carmelyn Malalis, chair and commissioner of the agency, as early as January 2020, “We began hearing from community members that the rhetoric that was coming from the White House at that time was really having an impact on their businesses and their communities.” At its first town hall about the issue in April, more than 1,200 people logged in — the maximum capacity.
This spring, Curbed mapped nearly 140 incidents for which locations were known, collected from February 2020 through April of this year, mostly from data provided by the Commission on Human Rights. The map reveals that most of the reports are concentrated in Manhattan, with a cluster of incidents happening in Flushing, as well as in Chinatown and the Lower East Side, where many Asian Americans work and live.
We all agree that NYC needs a proactive plan to protect Asian Americans from hate.
We have a responsibility to create and uphold a New York City that is safe and accepting for all of our constituents. Just recently, Asian American Federation has launched the Hope Against Hate Campaign.
On a national level, this spring President Biden addressed the issue and announced Additional Actions to Respond to Anti-Asian Violence, Xenophobia and Bias. Congress, too, took action to protect the AAPI community, passing a bipartisan bill that makes it easier to report hate crimes by improving outreach and adding tools in multiple languages.
The Alicia and Jason Lee Foundation will have news shortly and we are going to help empower New Yorkers against this scourge of biased violence.
Because when we rise together – we cannot be defeated.