Since COVID-19 began there has been an increase in anti-Asian crime nationwide.
Recognizing this, Councilwoman Vanessa Gibson, Congressman Ritchie Torres and community organizations and advocates held a “Stop the Hate Rally” on April 7 in support of the Asian-American Pacific Islander (AAPI) community in the Bronx.
Gibson stressed that she is tired of seeing Asian people assaulted, spat on and live in fear.
“We all have an expectation to be safe on the streets,” Gibson stated. “It pains me when I see people that are victims of racism and hate.”
Torres shares his colleague’s anger towards the rise attacks against Asian people. He explained that hate crime reporting is inaccurate nationwide and hopes that Congress passes the No Hate Act and the COVID-19 Hate Crime Act, which could help curtail hate crimes.
“We owe to every member of the AAPI community to stand up for their human dignity,” he stated. “By standing up for their human dignity we are standing up for our own. We are one people, we are one nation and that humanity is worth defending.”
Among the groups who joined the elected officials at the rally were the Asian American Federation, Chinese-American Planning Council, Inc., NYC Commission on Human Rights and clergy members.
Pastor Daniel Cho of the United Methodist Church in Manhattan was quite emotional when discussing the turmoil that Asian people have faced recently. Cho explained this racism and violence is nothing new, but COVID-19 has only exacerbated the problem.
He has a friend who was spat on, friends who are afraid to let their kids walk down the block and congregation members who have been attacked. Cho stressed that no one should be treated like this, regardless of their skin color, ethnicity or gender.
“We care about building a society that is grounded in love,” he commented. “We know the power of love can bring us all together.”
Alice Wong, chief of staff for the Chinese American Planning Council, said that she and her colleagues are distraught at how the AAPI community has been treated during the past year. Wong told the attendees that Asian people are told to go back to their own country even though they were born here and some arm themselves when they go out in public out of fear.
“I ask everyone here will you stand with the Asian American community because even though we are the community that is under siege right now we all do recognize that other communities of color have been dealing with this for so long,” she said. “Let us all stand together against this white supremacy.”