Editor’s Note: This article has been updated to report that the grandmother thanks everyone who contributed to the GoFundMe created for her, but refused to accept the money. Mac wrote more about her reasoning in an Instagram post, where he said all the funds will be returned to those who donated. Attached is a voice clip, where she expressed her thoughts in Cantonese.
Chinese American rapper China Mac led a rally on Saturday to denounce the violent attack on an 89-year old Asian woman, who was set on fire by two men at a street in Bensonhurst, Brooklyn on July 17.
Outraged: On Tuesday, the artist took to YouTube to express his anger and call upon the public to join him in a rally to denounce the incident.
- In the video, Mac lamented: “If you’re a human being and you’ve got family, you’ve got a grandmother, you’ve got a mother, you’ve got people that you love, and you look at this and it doesn’t make you feel something, something is wrong.”
- “Everybody needs to be over here and we need to show them that we are not going to stand for this no more. Not just because Asians but people, period. Humanity, period. 89 years old, two men attacking, huh? We’re not taking that…I’ll see you there Saturday,” Mac said in an emotional plea.
- He reiterated the call to protest on Saturday morning, criticizing other Asians who choose not to stand up and get their voice heard when it mattered.
- “Asians are not coming out. Asians are not fighting. Bro, like why the f*** are we not fighting? Like, what the f*** is wrong with y’all?” Mac said in another video streamed on Saturday.
- In an Instagram post that has since been archived, Mac also called out Asian celebrities to step up and use their platforms to amplify Asian causes.
- He specifically challenged actress Awkwafina, basketball star Jeremy Lin, celebrity jeweler Ben Baller and rapper Rich Brian to “Speak up and help us fight for our respect.”
- Awkwafina posted an Instagram Story on Friday in response to his challenge, conveying her solidarity with China Mac, while asking those who are in the city to consider going.
#TheyCantBurnUsAll: Over a hundred people heeded Mac’s call and gathered at Seth Low Playground in Bensonhurst at 3 p.m. on Saturday for the “Asian Unity Rally.”
- The program started with China Mac, MC Jin and others expressing their dissent against discrimination and violence, AsAm News reported.
- After an hour of speeches, the group marched down Bay Parkway chanting slogans condemning violence towards Asians.
- Among the slogans the group chanted include: “When grandmas get attacked. We stand up. We fight back,” “When Asian people get attacked. We stand up. We fight back,” “When Black people get attacked. We stand up. We fight back,” “All for one and one for all. They can’t burn us all,” and “Ai-yo, ai-yo, racism has got to go.”
- On social media, protesters used the hashtag #Theycantburnusall to show solidarity with China Mac’s cause.
- The march eventually convened at the 62nd Precinct of the New York City Police Department, where about a dozen police officers stood.
- “Does anybody have kerosene in their pocket?” China Mac asked the crowd over the mic. “It looked like a hate crime to me.”
- Addressing the officers, Mac said: “I think the officers knew it was a hate crime. Then why are they not deeming it a hate crime? Is it because they are used to us being quiet? Is it because they didn’t want to get anybody from other nationalities upset?”
- The rally, held in a peaceful manner, concluded around 5 p.m.
- Mac documented parts of the protest and uploaded it on YouTube.
More support: MC Jin also used his platform on Instagram to share that he personally met with the grandmother who was attacked in Bensonhurst. Mac started a GoFundMe to help her with “security and hospital bills,” as stated in its caption.
- A Change.org petition has been created to “End Hate Crimes Against Asian Americans” and signed by nearly 5,000 people.
View this post on Instagram
I had the honor of sitting down with the 90 year old Asian grandma who was attacked in Bensonhurst, New York. Here are my thoughts on what we should do next as a community, because a hate crime against one person is also an attack against all of humanity. Petition link in bio.
- The GoFundMe reached its goal of $10,000, and is climbing, as of this writing.
- “This 90-year-old Asian Grandma represents exactly what we need at this time,” Jin told NextShark. “A strength and boldness to speak out on atrocities such as what happened to her so that there can be change. I thank her and everyone who is doing their part to amplify the voices of the unheard.”
- Later on, the elder would go on to refuse the donation money, but thanks everyone for their care.
- “She says that she has everything she needs, and that as long as our hearts are in the right place, that is enough for her,” Mac summarized. “Thank you to everyone who contributed. The gesture came from the heart and that is all that matters.”
Feature Image via @nycfoodblog