CORONA, Queens (PIX11) — Queens is known as the world’s borough because it’s the most diverse county in the United States. Close to 50% of Queens residents were born outside the United States.
Many Queens residents on Friday rallied against another anti-Asian hate crime in the borough.
“Racism and hatred,” Cecilia Lai, one of the victims in the attack, said at the rally. “I’m confused [about] why we have to hate,” she added.
Through her tears, Lai spoke out for the first time about the anti-Asian attack against her and her 24-year-old son on March 2.
It was around 2:30 p.m. when Lai and her son were walking on Junction Boulevard near Roosevelt Avenue. Police said 18-year-old Natalia Plaza screamed “ugly Asian” out of a car window and threw water at Lai.
Police said Plaza and 21-year-old Elijah Fernandez, and another man got out of the white SUV and punched and kicked both victims in the head. Both Lai and her son, a Marine, were hospitalized with head injuries.
Plaza and Fernandez were charged with assault as a hate crime and assault.
At a rally in Corona Plaza on Friday, politicians and community activists said they condemned this anti-Asian attack and the alarming increase in anti-Asian hate crimes in the last few years.
As performers demonstrated, speaker after speaker talked about how Queens is one of the most diverse places in America.
Police are still searching for the third person involved in the attack on Lai and her son.
Submit tips to police by calling Crime Stoppers at 1-800-577-TIPS (8477), visiting crimestoppers.nypdonline.org, downloading the NYPD Crime Stoppers mobile app, or texting 274637 (CRIMES) then entering TIP577. Spanish-speaking callers are asked to dial 1-888-57-PISTA (74782).