One New Yorker, determined to make sure Asians feel safe in the city, decided to bring a touch of safety and solace to Asian New Yorkers — especially the elderly, women and the LGBTQ community.
It was during her own commute that Madeline Park — known to her tens of thousands of Instagram followers as cafemaddy — realized she needed to do something to help her neighbors — and herself.
“I realized every minute of that commute, I was terrified,” she told PIX11’s Shirley Chan in a Facebook Live interview Thursday.
Anti-Asian racism and violent attacks have surged in 2021, and in the past year since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic, hate speech and violence against the Asian American Pacific Islander community have been on the uptick. Many of these incidents are not being reported.
Park said it was after that commute where she realized she — like so many others in the Asian American community — didn’t feel safe going about her everyday life.
She decided once a week she’d take a cab to work instead.
But she could afford it, she said. She knew so many New Yorkers take the train or walk in order to save money — but those people still need to geel safe.
So she started a fund to help get those people safe cab rides like hers — and so @cafemaddycab was born.
She said she started out just making a few Venmo transactions, but it grew quickly.
The account reached $125,000 to help fund cab fare for Asian American New Yorkers concerned about their safety on public transit or on the streets.
But Park said even that much money won’t last more than a week due to the high demand.
Watch the PIX11 Facebook Live show with Shirley Chan here:
The NYPD recently stepped up patrols in Manhattan’s Chinatown and other neighborhoods amid a spike in anti-Asian attacks.
The department also deployed undercover Asian police officers and added two more detectives to its Asian Hate Crimes Task Force.
Park, an Asian American New Yorker, said she wants to hear more about how the city is keeping its subways and streets safe for Asian New Yorkers, and called on more public officials to denounce these attacks.
You can also go here for more information on how Park’s program works.
If you or someone you know are experiencing anti-Asian hate, click here for resources.
Anyone who witnesses an incident can also find out more information on bystander intervention by clicking here.