A female doctor in Boston recently detailed a harrowing racist encounter after finishing a hospital shift.
On Thursday, Massachusetts General Hospital anesthesiologist Dr. Lucy Li joined journalist Jim Braude for an interview at the show Greater Boston.
“It was about two months ago when things started to set in with the pandemic,” Li narrated. “I was leaving work early that day, it was still broad daylight at around 3 p.m. It was snowing so I put my jacket hood on.”
“I was walking, trying to get out of the cold weather when I saw a man in dark clothing started to cross the street and come towards me.”
She said that while she couldn’t hear him through her hood at first, she eventually made out the words the man was telling him.
“He was saying things like, ‘Why are you trying to kill everyone?’ ‘What is wrong with you?’ ‘Why the F are you killing us?’”
The man reportedly kept saying the same things over and over.
“I picked up my pace, walked faster, and then he followed me for about a block, saying more similar things, until he finally gave up and then walked away.”
Braude then asked Li what she felt during the incident.
“Initially, my first thought was I have to get somewhere safe,” she answered. “There weren’t that many people around. I was initially just scared. Then, after I got to a nearby grocery store, and there were people around, I called security. I was very angry at the irony of the whole thing.”
When asked by Braude what others can do to help ensure that such experiences no longer happen, Li shared that it’s important for people to “lead by example” and to “always be there and supportive of each other.”
She also noted that in certain situations, especially when safe, it is important for bystanders to stand up and defend a person being attacked.
Li then revealed that the incident has resulted in her becoming paranoid in the following days.
“When I was walking into work or out of work, I would look around me a little bit to see if the guy was still hanging around… Gradually, that faded away and it sort of in back of my mind now.“
In the last couple of months, Asian American front-liners like Li have been working hours of their shifts treating patients with COVID-19 only to be harassed by racist individuals when they are out of the hospital.
Watch the full interview here.