New York City Council members met Tuesday at a hearing to address the continuous local anti-Asian hate crimes.
The hearing, jointly conducted by the Council’s Committee on Civil and Human Rights and the Committee on Public Safety, aimed to address “what progress, if any, has been made in regards to the city’s response to the widespread hate, and where there is room for improvement,” an email announcement said.
Christopher Marte, a member who represents Chinatown and sits on the Council’s Committee on Civil and Human Rights, said the hearing questioned New York City Police Department officials and members of the city’s Commission on Human Rights.
The hearing also comes as anti-Asian hate crimes went up in the country by 342% in 2021, with hate incidents nationally exceeding 10,000 in under two years. New York has recently faced several highly notable crimes that resulted in the deaths of Michelle Go, who was shoved in front of a subway; Christina Yuna Lee, who was followed home and stabbed; GuiYing Ma, who was struck in the head by a rock and, most recently, Zhiwen Yan, who was shot while making a food delivery.
Councilmember Julie Won, who represents Long Island City, Sunnyside, Astoria and Woodside, attended the hearing to share her own stories of the fear she and others in her life currently feel. Won, whose mother works at a nail salon until 9:00 p.m., said she stays on the phone with her mother when she’s leaving work.
Won also shared the accounts of her child’s nanny, saying, “She simply told me ‘I cannot get on the train later than 9:00 p.m. because I’m too scared,’” further explaining, “That is the reality for every Asian American living in New York City right now.”
Won also sought to address claims that the NYPD Hate Crimes Bureau has downplayed incidents of anti-Asian hate brought to them, acknowledging that addressing these topics is difficult because “there’s just so much happening all at once. Kind of the perfect storm.”