On March 31, AABANY’s Anti-Asian Violence Task Force, under the leadership of Chair Elaine Chiu, who is also a Professor at St. John’s University School of Law, organized and led a court watching event at New York State Supreme Court to observe the sentencing of Jarrod Powell, who pled guilty to manslaughter in the 2021 killing of Yao Pan Ma. Powell admitted that his act was motivated by racial hatred against Yao Pan Ma, and Powell was convicted of manslaughter as a hate crime. He will serve 22 years in jail plus five years of post-release supervision.
Prof. Chiu wrote on LinkedIn:
More than 50 Asian New Yorkers came out today to #rememberyaopanma at the sentencing of his killer, Jarrod Powell. Together we helped our communities be seen and heard and not forgotten. Congrats to the team at Manhattan District Attorney’s Office for their commitment to these cases. Asian American Bar Association of New York thanks @donblee and @waiyeechan of Homecrest Community Services and Ansen Tang of United Chinese Association of Brooklyn. A big shout out to @maywong of the Pro Bono Committee!
Jeffrey Gu, a member of AABANY’s Anti-Asian Violence Task Force, wrote on LinkedIn:
The raw necessity of just showing up has never been more evident. Over 50 Asian American community members showed up this morning to #rememberYaoPanMa at the sentencing of his killer.
It is not easy hearing victim impact statements and wondering whether, under different circumstances, it could have been your colleague, or friend, or family member viciously attacked on account of their race. The killer admitted in his plea that he targeted Mr. Ma because he was Asian American. There is no amount of justice that can restore what was taken from Mr. Ma’s family: the loss of a father taken from his children, a husband from his wife, a son from his elderly mother.
Thank you to the Asian American Bar Association of New York for organizing the gathering of support. Thank you to Elaine Chiu for inviting me onto AABANY’s Anti-Asian Violence Taskforce and for your diligent work in this space on behalf of victims. Thank you to the Manhattan District Attorney’s Office for working on these cases.
As a community, what we can do is at least show up and refuse to let the stories of the victims of anti-Asian American hate fade away. Follow Asian American Bar Association of New York for future court watching and community gatherings.
Jeffrey is Co-Founder of Make Us Visible, a group advocating for AAPI history to be taught in school from K-12 across the country.
Hannah Yu, Chief of the Hate Crimes Unit in the Manhattan District Attorney’s Office, wrote on LinkedIn:
While this sentencing is the end of this sad chapter, the work of our Hate Crimes Unit continues. We are dedicated to serving every community in Manhattan and ensuring that everyone feels safe to be who they are. It is my sincere hope that the Ma family will continue to heal and find peace.
Her post included the Manhattan District Attorney’s Press Release on the sentencing that included the following quote from D.A. Bragg:
“Mr. Ma’s death was the result of a despicable racially motivated attack. His family endured an agonizing eight months in the hospital while the devoted husband and father of two remained in a vegetative state, before succumbing to his injuries on December 31, 2021,” said District Attorney Bragg. “New York is one of the most diverse cities in the world, and no one should have to fear that they may be in danger because of their background. We will continue to work with our law enforcement partners to ensure that New Yorkers of all origins feel safe.”
AABANY thanks everyone who came out for this court watching event which epitomized the importance of the AAPI community showing up and standing up to speak out against AAPI hate. We thank Prof. Chiu for her leadership and Jeffrey Gu for his support and dedication. We thank Chief ADA Hannah Yu and the Manhattan DA’s office for their continuing fight to seek justice in hate crimes against the AAPI community and all targeted communities.
Support AABANY’s Anti-Asian Violence Task Force through our Turn the Tide (T3) Project. To learn more about the Task Force and its work, contact firstname.lastname@example.org.