A 14-year-old Asian American intern for a legislature candidate in Nassau County, New York, was racially attacked while canvassing at a residence last week.
What happened: The boy, who was accompanying an Asian American adult, was campaigning for District 10 legislative challenger Weihua Yan in the Village of Thomaston in Great Neck on Oct. 2 when a woman attacked them verbally and physically. She “hurled racially charged language” at the canvassers and assaulted the child, “punching him in the face and pushing him,” Yan said in a statement.
The aftermath: The adult canvasser filmed the aftermath of the incident, according to The Island 360. While the boy was talking to police, the alleged attacker reportedly yelled “No solicitation, get off!” and “I assaulted you? Are you a man or what?”
The boy was not seriously injured. He declined to receive medical treatment and to press charges against the woman.
Yan’s response: Yan condemned the attack in a press conference Friday. While the boy did not suffer serious injuries, the incident has likely left him traumatized, he said.
The legislative hopeful also called out the broader issue of hate. He said his top priority when elected will be to enact a dedicated hate crimes unit in the area.
“We must demand action. The Nassau County Legislature had the chance earlier this year to enact a hate crimes unit, but they did not even bring it to a vote,” said Yan, who is running against GOP incumbent Mazi Melesa Pilip.
Officials’ reactions: Other officials have denounced the attack. An “ashamed” Village of Thomaston Mayor Steve Weinberg stressed the importance of respect as a means of upholding democracy.
“I’m ashamed. I’m sad. I’m outraged,” Weinberg said, as per The Island 360. “The fabric that makes our democracy work is that we have to be civil and respectful to each other. Period. There’s no room for yelling, screaming or violence or physical violence.”
U.S. Rep. Grace Meng, who represents New York’s 6th District, called the incident “disgusting behavior” in an X post. She also expressed support for Yan’s candidacy.