Senator Andrew Gounardes and Councilman Justin Brannan held a press conference on March 29 in response to a spike in anti-Asian harassment.
“In New York, it is our diversity that gives us strength. My heart breaks for Vanessa and Maureen, and the countless others who suffer in silence, ” Senator Gounardes said during the conference. “It is our collective responsibility to not only denounce hate but to actively work to change the systems and mentalities that perpetuate it.”
According to the Office of Senator Gounardes, there has been an 833% increase in anti-Asian hate crime in the past year in New York. This increase is largely due to the Covid-19 pandemic, which offenders blame the Asian community for bringing to the country.
This anti-Asian hatred is not limited to the city; Asian Americans all over the country have been facing increased prejudice since the onset of the pandemic. According to data reported by the Los Angelos Times, 4 in 10 Asian-Americans have noticed others act uncomfortable around them since March 2020. Last week, 8 Asian-Americans were killed in a mass shooting because of their race.
These attacks happen more frequently than records show, however, because not many people come forward to report incidents, noted Councilman Brannan.
During the press conference, victims and members of the Asian community were given the chance to speak on the podium, as a way to encourage others to come forward about hate crimes committed against them. City officials assured onlookers that they will take such cases seriously, and implement public safety measures to prevent future attacks.
“We all must stand against all the recent acts of hate and bias as we stand in solidarity with our Asian-American community together as one,” Councilman Brannan said. “Today, and every day, I affirm my commitment to the incredible diversity of our community as we work together to build a safer and more inclusive environment.”