NEW YORK (TBEN) – The NYPD says it is investigating four attacks on Asian Americans in the city last week, and the community says it refuses to stand idly by.
Lennox Avenue and 139th Avenue are where police say a 27-year-old man was punched twice in the face last Monday. The victim claims that the suspect also took his cell phone and told him to return to China.
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Police say they are looking for the suspect.
Meanwhile, inside Washington Square Park, the voices of protesters from various communities and backgrounds could be heard on Saturday, all speaking out against the violent racist attacks on Asians.
“And I am here to promote conscious speak out, speak out and stand up for what you believe,” said one protester.
As TBEN’s Cory James reports, the protest came days after an Asian woman was thrown to the ground in Flushing, Queens, by a man.
Although the suspect has not been charged with a hate crime, House Democrats say targeted attacks against Asian Americans rose to 3,000 nationwide last year.
New York City officials said that in 2019 there were only three anti-Asian hate crimes.
Last year, however, they say there were 29 incidents, 24 of which are believed to be motivated by COVID-19.
Meanwhile, local leaders and activists are joining forces, denouncing violence and calling for change.
“We understand when we stand out for one reason and one reason, and that’s the color of our skin, or some would say, the angle of our eyes. This is fanaticism at its worst, and we cannot defend it, here in New York or elsewhere in this country, ”said New York State Senator John Liu.
“There are issues that we still have in our communities. I’m going to have a working group, I want Joe to be on that working group that he talked about this morning. We need to manage our interrelationships, but we don’t need to be anything but unequivocal to oppose the rise in hatred against Asian Americans, ”said Reverend Al Sharpton.
Mayor Bill de Blasio tweeted on Saturday, saying New York City is proud to be home to one of the largest Asian populations in the country.
READ MORE: NYPD suspect arrested for possible anti-Asian attack on woman in Queens
New York City is proud to be home to one of the largest Asian populations in the country and we support them. Hatred has no home in our city.
To our Asian communities: this is your home. This is your city.
– Mayor Bill de Blasio (@NYCMayor) February 20, 2021
He said the city is on the side of the Asian community and the extra hatred does not belong to New York.
On Saturday night, more than a dozen people gathered at the corner of Canal and Center streets in Chinatown to volunteer for “Safe Walks NYC”.
Gale Pauly was one of the volunteers.
“It’s not about us. It’s a reaction, ”he says.
The Brooklyn-based organization escorts people to and from subway stations.
“People feel, you know, don’t feel safe. They are under attack, mostly people who walk alone, so our presence gives them that sense of security, ”said Peter Kerri, organizer of Safe Walks NYC. “It’s better to prevent something from happening.”
The group was on their feet, dressed in reflective gear, ready in case they got a call from anyone worried about their safety.
“If any requests arise, we will send out to provide safe rides,” Kerri said.
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Currently, Safe Walks requests are made through Instagram and the organization’s website. The group hopes to develop an app to reach more people in the city.