A vigilante group known as the Guardian Angels are out on the streets of Chinatown in New York to help those targeted for hate crimes amid the 2019 novel coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak.
In another interview, Silwa said the group is ready to deal with hate crimes against Asian Americans.
“If anybody’s harassing you, if anybody’s targeting you, anyone’s thinking that you’re wearing a mask, anyone’s thinking that you’re a carrier because you’re wearing a mask, they’ll have to deal with us. We’ll physically intervene,” he told Discovering Eyes.
In addition to protecting victims of hate crimes in Chinatown, the Angels are also visiting local restaurants affected by the outbreak, encouraging people to visit the area.
The Guardian Angels, a non-profit international volunteer organization, was founded by Sliwa on Feb. 13, 1979, according to the group’s official site.
Before becoming the Guardian Angels, the group Sliwa formed was initially called the “Rock Brigades.” Their original goal was to clean up New York City, but the group later focused its attention on helping the city with its crime problem.
“The group agreed to ride the subways between the toughest stops, without weapons, to help put a stop to the crimes occurring to citizens riding the subway system,” it said on the group’s history page. “These courageous volunteers would look for gang members who had been mugging straphangers in the subway and detain them for the police to arrest. Many times simply their presence would act as a deterrent to illegal activity.”
Although the group was founded in the United States, the Guardian Angels have expanded its operations to other countries such as Australia, Canada, Germany, South Africa, Mexico, Japan and the Philippines.
Feature Image Screenshot via Discovering Eyes