Rallies were held on two consecutive days this week in Manhattan’s Chinatown following the death of 35-year-old Christina Yuna Lee, the latest Asian American victim of a violent crime in New York City.
The demonstrations took place on Monday and Tuesday at the Sara D. Roosevelt Park, located two blocks away from Lee’s apartment, where she was brutally stabbed to death on Sunday morning.
Attendees brought flowers to honor Lee, a former Splice employee who made efforts to combat racism and cultural appropriation in the music industry. Others raised signs that pleaded for help and demanded change in the city’s “broken” criminal justice system.
“Our elected officials need to act,” Susan Lee, who is not related to the victim, said at Monday’s rally, as per ABC News. “I’m begging them to act so that not another life is lost.”
On Jan. 15, 40-year-old Michelle Go was shoved to her death in front of an oncoming train at the Times Square subway station. The incident previously galvanized Asian Americans in Chinatown, but barely a month later, little did anyone expect to take back to the streets to protest yet another violent crime.
“We’re here again less than a month after many of us came together to mourn the death of Michelle Go,” City Council Member Sandra Ung said in Tuesday’s rally, according to Fox News. “How much more do we have to do this?”
Assamad Nash, the 25-year-old man accused of Lee’s stabbing, has been charged with murder, burglary and sexually motivated burglary on Monday. A judge ordered him detained without bail, The New York Times reported.
While it is unknown whether Nash has a history of mental issues, mental health remained a point of focus during the most recent rallies. Go’s alleged killer, Martial Simon, was diagnosed with schizophrenia, his sister Josette told the New York Post.
“We need to put our money where our mouth is,” said City Council Member Linda Lee, who chairs the committee on mental health, according to NBC New York. “Myself [sic] as well as our colleagues, we have a large burden on our shoulders right now, and we need to step up to the plate, and we need to make sure that the city’s dollars, your taxpayers’ dollars, are being spent wisely.”
Alice Wong, who was born and raised in Chinatown, has advocated for Asian American communities for more than 15 years. She is reportedly “heartbroken and angry” over Lee’s killing.
“What I keep thinking about is that Christina took a cab home to be safe. She did what she was supposed to do, and she was brutally murdered,” Wong told the Washington Post. “It feels like everyone cares for a short while, and then they don’t anymore. And my community is still here trying to pick up the pieces from every attack.”
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