NEW YORK — New York City has renewed their focus and effort in preventing hate crimes against the Asian American community following an uptick in attacks.
“Every community suffered, but there’s been a particular pain, a particular horrible challenge faced by the Asian American community because on top of all the suffering from the coronavirus itself, on top of losing loved ones, losing businesses, people have had to confront horrible discrimination and hatred,” Mayor Bill de Blasio said during his Tuesday briefing.
“If you dare to raise your hand against a member of our Asian American communities, you will suffer the consequences,” he said.
The city launched a new “toolkit” that addresses anti-Asian hate, discrimination and bias.
The toolkit shows specific ways to send the right messages and resources to report bias crimes.
The Asian Hate Crime Task Force, consisting of 25 members who speak 11 different languages, is working with the community to address their needs and keep them safe.
The task force’s focus will be across the five boroughs, specifically at subway stations, which have seen a recent uptick in crime.
Queens Congresswoman Grace Meng joined the mayor during his briefing, calling for an end to the racist attacks.
“Since the beginning of this pandemic, our Asian American community has been suffering and fighting basically two viruses before COVID-19 even hit New York,” she said, giving examples of recent attacks on the Asian American community.
She commended President Joe Biden for signing a memorandum combating bias incidents toward the Asian community, which included some of her measures.
According to NYPD Deputy Inspector Stewart Loo, there were 28 COVID-related hate crimes in 2020, victims in 27 of the 28 incidents were of Asian descent.
The year before, there were a total of three anti-Asian attacks in the city, while there have been two anti-Asian attacks in 2021 so far.
Loo believed the numbers are definitely underreported.
Executive Director of the Asian American Federation Jo-Ann Yoo said just over 500 reports have been logged by the organization and they encourage more people to come forward with bias crimes.
The Asian American community had suffered discrimination and businesses saw the impact of the coronavirus, which was first reported in China, even before the virus was discovered in New York and the rest of the United States, the mayor said.