Following the Atlanta shooting last week, where six out of the eight killed were Asian, residents gathered in downtown Brooklyn to stand in support and solidarity with the Asian Community.
“I am not new to this fight,” said Brooklyn Borough President Eric Adams, who is running for Mayor and organized the rally on the steps of Brooklyn Borough Hall. “I am not new to standing up on behalf of people. It doesn’t matter the ethnicity, this is still our city. And our city is made up of the diversity, that is our strength – and as a black man, I identify with what you are going through right now.”
New York State Senator John Chun Yah Liu, an Asian-American representing the 11th District, spoke at the rally and told the crowd that if someone purposely drives to 3 different Asian businesses and shoots in there, he is driven by hate, yet the Atlanta Sherif failed to call it what it is.
He said, “You’ve gotta be kidding me. To say that the guy had a bad day and to say that he had some kind of sex addiction which further compounded the objectification and marginalization of the Asian-American community, particularly our sisters. This is what we gotta deal with.”
Senator Liu’s words were met with shouts from the crowd saying, “Yes, you tell ’em, son,” and more yes’s were shouted along with chants of #StopAsianHate and #NoAsianHate.
Wai Wah Chin, Charter President of The Chinese American Citizen Alliance Greater New York, spoke at the event and said, “We have been fighting for the Civil Rights of Chinese Americans since 1895, and it is horrific what we just all heard. This should not be happening to anybody of any race, any time in a civilized nation.”
She said, “We must hate what is wrong” to stop hateful violence against any group, and that hate should be “reserved against racism.”
An Asian woman in her early 30s, who did not want to give her name, told Bklyner that she found out about the rally as she was walking to the park. She said she stopped because “these recent crimes[hate crimes against Asians] are not new, but they are escalating, which is very disturbing. I think we all need to rally together.”
Tiffany Forte, a 33-year-old woman from Brooklyn, told Bklyner, “everything is gradual, and I think it’s gonna take a lot. It’s not just about saying to others, ‘stop hate.’ There needs to be cultural emergence, education… We need to facilitate ways for people to interact and learn about other cultures at an early age in order to combat hate. It’s not something that can happen overnight.”
Christina, an Asian-American woman at the rally, told Bklyner she thought these rallies are not enough to stop the hate, “Definitely more things should be done. I think everybody should step up. People need to talk more and do more.”
Other mayoral candidates also voiced their support for the Asian community and addressed what needs to be done to combat hateful crimes on Twitter.
Diane Morales called for more accountability and education.
Andrew Yang tweeted, “It’s a heartbreaking time for the Asian American community,” and called for funding the Asian Hate Crimes Task Force as well as more reporting of hate incidents.
Scott Stringer and Maya Wiley both tweeted messages of support. “No one should be left alone in this fight against it,” Wiley said.
Mayor Bill de Blasio addressed the Asian Community at a press conference on Monday. He said, “Once again, in these last days, we continue to see these horrible acts of hatred towards the Asian-American community. This goes against everything we believe in this city, everything we feel as Americans.”
He believes that having more police presence in the Asian communities will help decrease the crime against Asians. He stated, “We’re going to continue to build up NYPD presence in our Asian communities to provide support, to provide protection, to provide reassurance to Asian-American New Yorkers,” and he urged every New Yorker to report hate crimes.