Bronx communities grapple with rising hate crimes at Vishnu Mandir event

Asian Hate
A compilation of hate crime data published by the Center for the Study of Hate and Extremism, revealed that anti-Asian hate crime increased by 339% in 2021 compared to the previous year.
Photo Dean Moses

The month of May traditionally is a celebration and acknowledgement of Asian American Pacific Islander communities. This month’s celebration, however, was marred by an increase in Anti-AAPI hate crimes both locally and nationally.

There have been 10,905 bias instances reported by Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders from the start of the pandemic through the end of 2021, according to Stop AAPI Hate. Women account for 62% of reported hate crime incidents, according to the group, which was created in early 2020 to document the surge in COVID-related harassment and violence.

At the Vishnu Mandir temple, a 25-plus year staple in the Soundview section, all were welcomed to discuss how the surge in not only hate crimes, but overall violence in the city, has affected those who call New York City home.

The solutions proposed by community leaders at an over-the-weekend event called “Highlighting Hate Crimes, Community Leadership and Providing Resources” hosted by the temple and The Bharati Foundation, stemmed from a united force against systemic violence to pushing for legislation to reduce rampant gun violence.

“With the increase in crime (in NYC), it doesn’t matter what religion and race you are, crime and gun violence itself has picked up and it affects everyone,” said Bharati Sukul Kemraj, founder of The Bharati Foundation. “For us, during AAPI month, we did something different which was amplify Asian communities under a microscope. So that we know not all Asian are from China, and that anti-AAPI crime affects South Americans, Indo-Caribbeans.”

AAPI communities consist of approximately 50 ethnic groups speaking more than 100 languages, with connections to Chinese, Indian, Japanese, Filipino, Vietnamese, Korean, Hawaiian and other Asian and Pacific Islander ancestries.

A compilation of hate crime data, published by the Center for the Study of Hate and Extremism, revealed that anti-Asian hate crime increased by 339% in 2021 compared to the year before, with New York, San Francisco, Los Angeles and other cities surpassing their record numbers in 2020.

New York City had a particularly disturbing rise, from 30-133 incidents, of anti-Asian hate crimes last year, which is a 343% increase.

Overall, there is an 11% increase in suspected hate crimes reported to police in 2021 across a dozen of America’s largest cities. In most cities, Black Americans remained the most targeted group, while in New York, the Jewish community reported the most hate crimes last year.

“People are literally calling out for help and the violence we’re seeing, it isn’t just pickpocketing or petty theft,” Kemraj said. “But the violence, the hate crimes isn’t about hurting someone’s feelings. The violence is escalating to where people are in comas or dying, and generally put fear into those communities.”

Reach Robbie Sequeira at rsequeira@schnepsmedia.com or (718) 260-4599. For more coverage, follow us on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram @bronxtimes

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