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NYC organization Angry Asian Womxn to hold virtual self-defense class in remembrance of Michelle Go

via Cindy Trinh (left), Nina So (right)

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    Angry Asian Womxn, a New York City-based grassroots organization, will be holding a virtual self-defense class on Sunday in remembrance of Michelle Go, a woman who was shoved to her death in front of an oncoming subway train last year.

    Sarinya Srisakul, the first Asian woman firefighter in New York City, founded the organization to combat anti-Asian racism where it intersects with misogyny. 

    Srisakul has been working in the New York City Fire Department (FDNY) for nearly 18 years. She first mailed out free self-defense kits to Asian women in the city after the 2021 Atlanta Spa shootings. When Go was murdered last year, she also recorded a video on safety based on her experience working on live tracks over the years. 

     

    View this post on Instagram

     

    A post shared by Sarinya (@sarinyyya)

    In an interview with NextShark, Srisakul recalled the time she was attacked by a man. 

    About 10 years ago, a man who was hiding came behind me and randomly attacked me as a woman walking alone in the streets at night. I successfully was able to fight him off largely due to what I learned from a self-defense class I’ve taken.

    The personal incident and the rise of anti-Asian hate crimes in the U.S. amid the COVID-19 pandemic prompted Srisakul to mail out self-defense kits and organize self-defense classes. 

    The first Angry Asian Womxn self-defense class was hosted in person on Nov. 5, 2022, as a love letter to Asian/Pacific Islander (API) women and femmes. The event, which was sponsored by API women and femme-owned businesses, taught attendees how to use self-defense tools such as kubotans and pepper sprays.  

    The event was for us and by us. It was important to us to have a space with just us, free of racism and misogyny. The idea to have the event just us came from going to a vigil the year before for the victims of the spa shooting in Atlanta that was at a public park. Our team had very terrible interactions that were racist and sexist by white and Asian men while most of us were emotionally distraught from the nature of the event.

    We were blown over by the feedback, and most people remarked that they had never been in a space like that before and that it felt like a ‘safe container.’ For the self-defense portion of the event, people remarked how great it was to be there with just women so they didn’t feel as self-conscious if they were around bigger men trying to learn these things. 

    via Cindy Trinh

    The latest self-defense class will be held online on Jan. 15, the same day Go was murdered at the Times Square-42nd Street subway station last year. 

    Many of us have taken the train in Times Square and have stood where Michelle had while waiting for our train. We didn’t want her date to be passed without acknowledgement, and we didn’t want people to forget her and the good that she did in the world.

    At the virtual event, Srisakul and Casey Chan, another API woman firefighter, will be discussing situational awareness and New York City subway safety. They will also be reading a statement from Go’s family. 

    Angry Asian Womxn has partnered with Dragon Combat Club (DCC), an API-led self-defense group in New York that was founded during the rise of anti-Asian violence in 2020. Nina So, a member of DCC, will be leading the event’s self-defense portion. She trains in Muay Thai and Brazilian Jiu Jitsu.

    “Combat sports is one of the most courageous and bravest ventures I jumped into doing in my life,” So says. “The ultimate goal is life protection not only for ourselves, but for others. I want to empower other women to come train and have the confidence to defend themselves.”

    Dr. Emily Siy of Emily Grace Acupuncture will also be presenting a calming self-acupressure workshop and guided meditation to attendees. Siy is a doctor of acupuncture and Chinese medicine who specializes in menstrual and reproductive health. 

    Along with the self-defense class, Srisakul will be handing out free self-defense kits to Asian and Pacific Islander (API) women and any API individuals who identify as femme or are affected by gendered violence.  

    The self-defense kits, which were funded by donations and assembled by Srisakul and volunteers, contain a personal alarm, kubotan and a whistle. The kits also come with a calm strip, a stress-free tea, a self-defense information sheet, a guided meditation card and a resource list.  

     

    View this post on Instagram

     

    A post shared by Angry Asian Womxn (@angryasianwomxn)

    “We want a safer New York for our community, and we want our community to make sure they take care of their mental health after we’ve all had a difficult past few years,” Srisakul says. 

    The event will be held on Zoom from 5:00 p.m to 7:00 p.m. EST. 

    An in-person event in remembrance of Christina Yuna Lee, a woman who was stabbed to death in her New York City Chinatown apartment on Feb. 13 last year, will be held on Feb. 12 at Apex for Youth in the city. 


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