On June 10, 2022, CUNY’s Asian American/Asian Research Institute (AAARI) hosted a discussion to address the Endless Tide report published by AABANY on May 31. The discussion was co-led by AABANY’s Board Director and Issues Committee Chair, Chris Kwok, and Megan Gao, Vice Chair of the Pro Bono and Community Service Committee. Chris is also a Co-Executive Editor of the report and Megan is an Associate Editor. As the report continues to gain media attention and publicity, various AAPI community groups have referred to Endless Tide and AABANY’s Anti-Asian Violence Task Force (AAVTF) to bring their issues and concerns to government officials in New York City.
In publishing the Endless Tide report, Megan mentioned that lawyers can make a unique contribution by using the criminal justice system as a way to analyze how anti-Asian hate crimes have been prosecuted in New York City. By tracking the number of complaints and arrests that the New York Police Department made, the authors of Endless Tide were able to offer a legal analysis that details how the system has affected and impacted our AAPI neighborhoods and communities. In their research, they found that publicly available data does not track a hate incident from initial report to final resolution. In fact, the AAVTF learned about the disposition of outstanding cases by meeting directly with various District Attorney’s offices.
At the event, they invited David Kim, a survivor of an anti-Asian attack featured in the report. David’s case was an example of the indifference he encountered in getting a District Attorney’s Office to pursue a hate crimes prosecution. David and his friends were harassed and physically threatened after a vehicle collision at the intersection of 149th Street and 34th Avenue on June 4, 2020. They were taunted by the alleged perpetrators and called racist epithets, forcing them to stay in their car until a 911 call was made – to which the police took time to respond to. With the incident happening at the peak of the pandemic, the victims were also yelled at and blamed for causing COVID-19. After the incident, Kim wanted to file a report to the precinct and pursue a case against his perpetrators. However, after meeting with the District Attorney’s office, with the assistance of counsel, they were told that the District Attorney’s office decided that no charges, including hate crime charges, would be brought. To date, no explanation has been given for this decision.
Hearing David’s story, Chris and Megan highlighted how the title Endless Tide reflects the ongoing racial discrimination towards Asians and Asian Americans. In an effort to address and assist the members of the community that have experienced bias incidents or hate crimes, AABANY created the Hate Eradication Active Response Team (HEART). David and his attorneys came to HEART after their requests to the District Attorney’s Office to pursue hate crimes prosecutions proved futile. Ultimately, the Endless Tide report and the AAVTF seek to encourage discussion with government officials and other organizations to take a closer look at how we can address the hate, violence, and discrimination faced by the AAPI community in New York City.