TIMES SQUARE, Manhattan — Local leaders held an emotional candlelight vigil for those affected by the surge in anti-Asian hate crimes Saturday.
“I’m so tired of begging for people to see us as human beings,” Yuh-line Niou, a member of the New York State Assembly, told a crowd of hundreds.
The only Asian American woman in the New York State Legislature broke down in tears at the vigil. Niou cried as she talked about eight people gunned down in three Atlanta spas including six women of Asian descent.
“The women who died look just like me,” Niou told the crowd. “They looked like my mother, my sisters, my aunties, my nieces. They looked like us.”
One more in this ugly series of hate crimes was reported Saturday morning, where a man yelled anti-Asian slurs at a 66-year-old before punching him in the face in Chinatown. There have been at least 14 anti-Asian assaults in the city so far this year.
New York Attorney General Letitia James spoke and said enough is enough.
“Now, more than ever, we need to stand together in unity against racism and hatred because it is despicable. The rise in attacks on the Asian American community is an affront to our values and all we believe in.”
Those we spoke to were saddened, but determined to put a stop to this.
Hundreds gathered in the heart of Times Square earlier on a sunny Saturday afternoon for a rally and march organized by the group Safe Walks NYC.
Those demonstrating wanted everyone to know it was a show of love for the lives lost at the horrific Georgia massacre on Tuesday. But it was also about the latest uptick in anti-Asian attacks here in New York City.
New York City Public Advocate Jumaane Williams spoke, saying he was returning a favor paid to the Black community by the Asian community this past summer.
“I am so grateful to Asian leaders who supported Black Lives Matter this summer,” he said. “You still with us. You can be sure if they coming for one of us in the morning, they’re coming for another one of us at night.”
Safe Walks NYC was formed to help provide protection and support to women after a string of attacks in and near subway stations in Bushwick and Chinatown, but now it has grown to have an even larger message as they take on bigotry in all forms.
There will be another rally to stop the rise in Asian hate crimes on the steps of Brooklyn Borough Hall on Sunday.