“When I was attacked on the subway, there were so many New Yorkers around me, but no one came to my aid, no one made a video,” said the Filipino American, 61. years.
“I was afraid I wouldn’t make it. … We’re all New Yorkers, and we should look out for each other.”
Quintana, a New Yorker, described the February 3 attack to city leaders, Asian Americans and their supporters who attended the “Rise Up Against Anti-Asian Hate” rally on Saturday in Foley Square.
“Stop the Asian hate!” New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio told the crowd. “This is the message we need to get across, not just in New York City, but across the country: Stop Asian hatred! Stop it now!”
US Senator Chuck Schumer, a Democrat from New York, told the crowd there were signs of a rise in violence at the start of the coronavirus pandemic.
“Tragically, these warnings came true and the Asian-American community, across New York City and the country, has been the target of racial discrimination and harassment,” Schumer said.
New York Attorney General Letitia James encouraged those at the rally to report hate crimes to her office.
“Come to my office so that we can expose these individuals who hate us, so that we can silence them. Any attack on any of us is an attack on all of us, ”said James.
Pearl Sun, a New York resident, attended the rally but did not speak to the crowd. She told CNN that she was now suspicious when she walked the streets of the city.
“I have to tell you, I’m going out the door and getting ready, getting ready,” she said. “I make sure I don’t listen to music anymore, when I walk around. I don’t listen to podcasts anymore.… I want to make sure I pay attention to what or what might be going on around me. “
“I think the rhetoric of our previous administration was definitely the catalyst for all of this. Anti-Asian sentiment has always been there, and we’ve had a lot of laws in the past that haven’t been good for us either: Japanese internment camps, the Chinese Exclusion Act of 1882.
“It’s been an ongoing situation, but the previous rhetoric has amplified all of its hatred, calling it the kung flu virus and the Chinese virus, and unfortunately we are apparently an easy target.”
Sun said the rhetoric has amplified the hatred, especially in cases involving older Asian Americans.
“They’re helpless, and it’s cowardly, and it makes me angry, it really makes me angry,” Sun said.
Township resident Will Lex Ham said many of his family lived in fear and anxiety. He said the Asian community is not receiving resources commensurate with its population in the city, state and nation.
“We are just tired. We are tired of being scapegoats for many pandemic issues. We are tired of being ignored,” Ham said.
Reports of attacks on the rise
The rally was hosted by the Asian American Federation, an umbrella organization that advocates for better policies and services for Asian Americans.
The federation says there were “nearly 500 incidents of bias or hate crimes in 2020, ranging from verbal assault to physical assault, coughing or spitting, avoidance, among other forms of discrimination “.
These numbers were gathered by the AAF, the Stop AAPI (Asian American Pacific Islanders) advocacy group Hate, the NYPD and the NYC Commission on Human Rights, according to the AAF.
“However, this is only a fraction of the actual number of incidents that have occurred, as the majority of incidents go unreported. For example, over 90% of reports collected by the AAF do were reported to neither the NYPD nor the NYC Commission on Human Rights, ”the AAF said in a press release.