Office of the Bronx District Attorney Holds Rally Against Hate on May 21

In light of recent hate crimes against AAPI and Jewish communities, the Bronx District Attorney’s Office held an Anti-Hate rally and a resource fair on May 21st, 2021 at Lou Gehrig Plaza from 12:00 pm to 2:00 pm, near the Bronx DA’s Office, a few blocks away from Yankee Stadium. The Bronx District Attorney, Darcell Clark, led the cry against all forms of hate, saying, “It’s not who we are as New Yorkers and we will not stand for it… hate against one of us is hate against all of us.” 

Many religious and elected leaders joined DA Clark in denouncing hate. Bronx Assembly Member Jeffrey Dinowitz said, “It’s not just Jewish residents, it’s not just Asian residents. The hate, the discrimination against other communities as well has been going on for far too long.” Other speakers, such as Mayoral Candidate Andrew Yang, NYPD Inspector Tommy M. Ng (and head of the NYPD Asian Hate Crimes Task Force), New York City Council Member Vanessa Gibson, and the Regional Director of the ADL Scott Richman all denounced hate while touching on the importance of solidarity, camaraderie, and acceptance of everyone regardless of their background. 

The Asian American Bar Association of New York’s Executive Director, Yang Chen, spoke on the recent hate crimes against the AAPI community. Chen invited attendees to visit the AABANY table to pick up copies of our anti-Asian violence report or a Know Your Rights brochure for AAPIs who encounter an anti-Asian hate or violence incident. Chen added that AABANY was also giving out buttons with the words “One Humanity Against the Virus.” He explained  that “we’re not talking just about COVID-19, we’re talking about the virus of racism that infects our world today.” The buttons proved to be a popular item.

In addition to AABANY, the Bronx District Attorney’s Office, the New York City Commissions on Human Rights and other groups handed out various resources to educate the general public on ways to combat hate at tables set out in the plaza. 

AABANY thanks DA Clark and her staff, especially Deputy Chief of Staff, Beverly Ma, and Miriam Bell-Blair, Director, Immigrant Affairs Unit, for organizing this rally during AAPI Heritage Month. We look forward to continuing to work with the Bronx DA’s Office to combat hate against all communities in New York City. To see more photos from the event, view them here.

In the News: Chris Kwok Quoted in The City about Anti-Asian Harassment Incidents against Older Asian New Yorkers

On April 20, 2021, Board Director Chris Kwok was quoted in an article published by The City titled “Older Asians Face ‘A Whole Wave’ of Hate Hidden in Official NYPD Stats.” The article reviewed the NYPD’s statistics on harassment reports and highlighted the 11% increase of second-degree harassment incidents against Asian New Yorkers older than 65 in 2020 compared to 2019. Further, the article describes how reports of harassment are rarely investigated due to how hate crimes and harassment are classified under New York penal law and criminal procedural law. “For crimes against Asian Americans, it seems like there’s a default like we begin with ‘It’s not a hate crime’ and we’re going to have to look for things that prove it is,” stated Chris. He believes that district attorneys should elevate the charges to more serious offenses, even if they cannot be designated as hate crimes.  

The article notes that the NYPD has tried to prevent the increase of harassment incidents in New York by deploying undercover Asian police officers in the community: “In three incidents this month, undercover Asian police officers were targeted in Manhattan, according to the NYPD. All three suspects were arrested and charged with hate crimes. In the most recent incident, on Saturday, police allege a man attempted to shove the officer into subway tracks, saying: ‘That’s why you people are getting beat up. I got nothing to lose.'” Despite this, harassment cases are often dismissed by judges and anti-Asian violence incidents are still underreported.

Chris Kwok was also quoted in an April 15th World Journal article “仇恨亞裔案件列「反新冠」欄目 批評人士:警低估危機” about the underreporting of anti-Asian hate crimes in 2020.

Please also take a look at previous blog posts from February 19March 1March 8March 15March 29, and April 12 quoting Chris Kwok or mentioning AABANY’s report on anti-Asian violence. If you have come across a news report or article about our report that is not listed above, please let us know at main@aabany.org.

More public awareness about our report and the rise in anti-Asian violence is needed. Please share our report widely. If you have ideas or thoughts about how we can combat anti-Asian violence, please share them with us at main@aabany.org.

In the News: Board Director Chris Kwok Quoted in the Gothamist on the NYPD’s Misclassification of Anti-Asian Hate Crimes in 2020

AABANY Board Director Chris Kwok was quoted in an April 12th article in the Gothamist titled “The NYPD’s Method of Counting Anti-Asian Attacks Underestimates Severity of Crisis, Critics Say.” The article summarizes the findings of a Gothamist/WNYC investigation on the New York Police Department’s response to the rise of incidents against Asian Americans in 2020. Back in March 2020, the NYPD classified incidents against Asian American New Yorkers as “anti-COVID” due to the victim’s disability status instead of labeling it as “anti-Asian hate crime” when there was clear racial invective present. The article states that in 2020, the NYPD recorded four anti-Asian hate crimes while they recorded 25 anti-COVID crimes during the same period. Out of the 25 anti-COVID crimes, 24 consisted of Asian victims. In the article, Chris stated: “That’s a poor choice — especially in light of what’s happened afterwards. If it was an African American [victim] and COVID-19, I don’t think people would readily say ‘Oh, it’s about the disability’… They’re kind of erasing that [Asian] part.” Chris also mentioned that had the NYPD seen the early 2020 crimes for their underlying racial animus, the NYPD could have addressed the rising attacks sooner.

Here are other recent news stories that have quoted Chris Kwok or mentioned AABANY’s report on anti-Asian violence:

“Brutal Attack on Filipino Woman Sparks Outrage: ‘Everybody Is on Edge’” By Nicole Hong, Juliana Kim, Ali Watkins and Ashley Southall, March 30, 2021, The New York Times, https://www.nytimes.com/2021/03/30/nyregion/asian-attack-nyc.html

“Asian hate: Couple threatened by suspected Black man at Home Depot — ‘I’ll cut you, you f****ng Asian’” By Srivats Lakshman, March 30, 2021, MEAWW, https://meaww.com/hate-crime-new-york-city-home-depot-30-march-2021-couple-attacked 

“We need to recognize and fight against anti-Asian hatred” By Yeji Chung, April 5, 2021, The GW Hatchet, https://www.gwhatchet.com/2021/04/05/we-need-to-recognize-and-fight-against-anti-asian-hatred/ 

Please also take a look at previous blog posts from February 19March 1March 8March 15, and March 29 highlighting news stories about our report. If you have come across a news report or article about our report that is not listed above, please let us know at main@aabany.org.

More public awareness about our report and the rise in anti-Asian violence is needed. Please share our report widely. If you have ideas or thoughts about how we can combat anti-Asian violence, please share them with us at main@aabany.org.

Fall Conference 2020: Anti-Asian Violence and Hate Arising from the COVID-19 Pandemic

On September 26, 2020, as part of the second day of the 2020 Fall Conference, AABANY hosted a program discussing Anti-Asian Violence and Hate Arising from the COVID-19 Pandemic, which focused on trends and newly compiled statistics related to this discrimination. The panel included:

  • Karen King, Counsel at Paul, Weiss, Rifkind, Wharton & Garrison LLP (Moderator)
  • Joe Gim, Deputy Chief of the County Court Trial Bureau in Nassau County
  • Russell Jeung, Professor of Asian American studies at San Francisco State University and Member of the Asian Pacific Policy and Planning Council
  • Stewart Loo, Deputy Inspector of the NYPD Asian Hate Crime Task Force
  • John C. Yang, President and Executive Director at Asian Americans Advancing Justice
  • Jo-Ann Yoo, Executive Director at the Asian American Federation

First, Professor Jeung introduced “Stop AAPI Hate,” an online reporting center organized by the Asian Pacific Policy and Planning Council. Since March 19, 2020, the reporting center has been tracking and responding to incidents of hate, violence, harassment, discrimination, shunning, and child bullying against Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders in California and where possible throughout the United States. In California, there have been over 300,000 reported incidents over the eight month period. There was a major uptick in March when President Trump started calling COVID-19 the “Chinese virus” and in late June when Trump started using the term “Kung Flu.” Although most of the reported incidents have been verbal, there have been an alarming number of incidents where Asian Pacific Americans (APA) were coughed or spat on.

Jo-Ann Yoo then discussed the situation in New York and emphasized that reporting is only as good as its outreach. Joe Gim specified that legally, a hate crime in New York must both involve a person selected to have a crime against them because of their identity and have that factor be a substantial part of the crime.

Next, Stewart Loo introduced the NYPD Asian Hate Crime Task Force, which gets involved with incidents of hate and discrimination when they become crimes. The task force assists victims who cannot speak English but want to report an incident. Due to cultural differences and the length and complexity of reporting a crime to the NYPD, the criminal process can be very daunting. Yoo added that many people are shy or afraid to report, regardless of a language barrier, especially to the media. John Yang then discussed the importance of media pieces in humanizing the statistics and building community strength.

Professor Jeung and John Yang also discussed how APA social status has historically been very conditional. As many APA individuals still toggle between being part of a Model Minority or a Yellow Peril, they are seen as perpetual foreigners, which adds to the rising anti-Asian hate.

The panel concluded with talking about the rise in APA youth supporting Black Lives Matter. In order to be heard on a nationwide scale, everyday citizens must fight for the respect that their communities do not already receive, whether by serving as a poll worker, speaking up in organizations, or simply voting. The panel ended with discussing how APA culture is stereotypically seen as quiet, but in order to see change now, people need to speak up and speak out.

Thank you to the panelists, Joe Gim, Russell Jeung, Stewart Loo, John C. Yang, and Jo-Ann Yoo, and moderator Karen King for leading such an inspiring and important discussion on anti-Asian violence and hate during the pandemic. And thank you to the AABANY Pro Bono and Community Service, and Government Service and Public Interest Committees for hosting the event.

Click here to access the Stop AAPI Hate website.
Click here to access AAF’s COVID-19 Safety Resources.

To view a recording of this program, please click on the video image at the top of this blog post.

AABANY Comments on Formation of NYPD Asian Hate Crimes Task Force

The Asian American Bar Association of New York (“AABANY”) welcomed NYPD Chief of Detectives Rodney Harrison’s announcement on August 18 of the formation of an Asian Hate Crimes Task Force in the wake of a string of recent anti-Asian attacks and harassment. Incidents include an 89-year-old woman who was set on fire on July 17 and a woman who was the victim of anti-Asian verbal assault. Overall, there have been more than 2,300 separate racist incidents reported throughout the United States with 317 reported in New York alone.

The task force is reported to comprise 25 officers of Asian descent selected from throughout New York. The officers will be proficient in Mandarin, Cantonese, Fuzhounese, Korean, and Japanese. The task force will also rely on a team of certified translators if needed. Reports of potential hate crimes will be handled by officers of similar cultural and language background.

In conjunction with announcing the formation of the Asian Hate Crimes Task Force, The World Journal and WNBC among others have provided links to AABANY’s Anti-Asian Harassment and Violence guide and other resources to help victims report hate crimes to the prior authorities. With regard to AABANY’s efforts to combat anti-Asian violence, Executive Director Yang Chen was quoted by NBC on AABANY’s commitment “to seek justice, and to educate the broader community about eradicating racism and xenophobia in our society.” 

AABANY welcomes the formation of the NYPD Asian Hate Crimes Task Force and will continue to fight against anti-Asian violence and racial prejudice in all its forms. Click here to read more regarding AABANY’s COVID-19 Anti-Asian Harassment and Violence guide in English, Chinese, Japanese, and Korean.

In The News: Ryan D. Budhu’s Op-Ed on Police Brutality And George Floyd Published in USA Today

On June 19, 2020, USA Today published an Op-Ed written by Ryan D. Budhu, a member of the Asian American Bar Association of New York (AABANY) and past president of the South Asian Bar Association of New York (SABANY).

In the article, Budhu recounts his personal experience with police brutality, when his brother died in the custody of the NYPD. He also reflects on this tragedy in relation to the death of George Floyd, and the need for allyship between South Asian and Black communities. He writes: “I have a duty to listen to and help address inequities, especially those that affect Black lives within the circles that I occupy.”

To read the full article, click here.

AABANY Presents Community Webinars on Anti-Asian Violence in Mandarin and Cantonese

Mandarin Webinar
Cantonese Webinar

On Saturday, May 16, the Asian American Bar Association of New York (“AABANY”) hosted its “Mandarin and Cantonese Community Webinar on Anti-Asian Violence,” part of a broader series aimed at addressing the rise in anti-Asian violence in light of COVID-19. The events focused on briefing individuals on how to defend themselves if an incident were to occur and also discussed relevant state laws that protect victims. The Mandarin webinar aired from 2:00-3:00 PM and the Cantonese webinar aired from 3:00-4:00 PM.

Guest speakers included moderator Kwok Kei Ng and representatives from the NYPD, Simpson Thacher & Bartlett LLP, and the New York City Commission on Human Rights (NYCCHR).

William Kwok, Asian Liaison of the Immigrant Outreach Unit of the NYPD Community Affairs Bureau, discussed the practical measures by which individuals can protect themselves from immediate physical harm. Individuals are encouraged to run into public spaces such as stores or public spaces that may have police officers on duty. If they are able, victims are encouraged to call 911 or get bystanders to contact the police. There are translators on stand-by at the NYPD if needed. Most importantly, undocumented persons should not be afraid of calling the NYPD as officers are forbidden to inquire about a victim’s immigration status.

Additionally, Officer Kwok and Mr. Ng discussed specific provisions of the Hate Crimes laws that apply. New York Penal Law § 240.30-3 describes the elements of Aggravated Harassment in the Second Degree, stating that the incident must reflect an intent to harass, annoy, threaten, or harm through physical force. New York Penal Law §485.05, the Hate Crime Law, enhances sentencing if the incident is proven to be bias-motivated. Victims and bystanders should be unafraid of reporting incidents to the authorities; any materials whether in the form of videos, audios, or testimonials can help secure a conviction. Officer Kwok and Mr. Ng presented in both the Mandarin and Cantonese webinars.

Lastly, Jiarui Li, an associate at Simpson Thacher and guest speaker for the Mandarin webinar, and Karen Yau, Co-Chair of the AABANY Pro Bono & Community Service Committee and guest speaker for the Cantonese webinar, discussed the various resources available to victims. Victims should contact the New York Office of Victim Services and the NYCCHR to see if they are eligible for compensation and legal assistance. Both New York City and New York State have dedicated Hate Crimes Task Forces that victims can contact. Victims residing in New Jersey or Connecticut can contact their own individual state Hate Crimes Task Forces.

The guest speakers reiterated the importance of reporting anti-Asian incidents to the police. Only by informing the relevant authorities can we adopt a preventative approach and stop bias incidents from occurring before individuals are harmed.

We thank the guest speakers for joining us and for their commitment to protecting the well-being of everyday New Yorkers. For more information on anti-Asian harassment and violence, email aabanyclinic@gmail.com or call our hotline at 516-690-7724.

NYC Mayor’s Office: Fact Sheet on Hate and Bias Incidents Related to COVID-19

Since the rise of COVID-19, Asian Americans have become increasingly vulnerable to acts of assault, harassment, and discrimination. In response, the New York City Commission on Human Rights, the Office for the Prevention of Hate Crimes, and the NYPD have become more aware and responsive to hate and bias reports related to coronavirus. Mayor Bill de Blasio’s Office has made an info sheet detailing some resources available to Asian Americans and others who may be victims of such cases.

Download the fact sheets in the following languages:

English
简体中文 (Chinese -Simplified)
繁體中文 (Chinese – Traditional)
Link to other languages available

AABANY Hosts Screening of the Documentary “Blowin’ Up”

On Thursday, April 11, AABANY hosted a screening of “Blowin’ Up,” a feature documentary that explores the complex realities of sex work in New York City and the compassionate approach of a human trafficking court in Queens County. The film features AABANY member Honorable Toko Serita, Queens Supreme Court, as well as other heroines of the Human Trafficking Intervention Court, that work with victims of sexual exploitation who face prostitution-related charges.

After the screening, Beatrice Leong, AABANY Government Service and Public Interest Committee Co-Chair, led a panel discussion featuring speakers from the NYPD/FBI Joint Human Trafficking Task Force and a Queens Assistant District Attorney who prosecutes human traffickers. The panelists talked about how they worked together to prosecute the traffickers and how one can identify and help a suspected trafficking victim. The panel gave important insight into how gangs and traffickers target their victims, and the audience learned that many victims are new immigrants, local high school students or children in the foster care system. “Drugs can only be used once, but a person can be used over and over.”

If you suspect someone is a victim of trafficking,  you can email New York Police Department, at ved@nypd.org or visit https://www1.nyc.gov/site/acs/youth/identify.page to report them.

We thank Beatrice Leong and Emily Arakawa for providing the photos and write-up for this blog post.