Over 60 Volunteers Are Now Patrolling Flushing for Anti-Asian Violence
An all-citizen patrol group has assembled in Flushing, Queens to deter further incidents of anti-Asian violence.
Main Street Patrol, which targets the busiest streets in the neighborhood, has now grown into 60 members since its inception in February.
Founder and actress Teresa Ting says she was inspired by similar efforts in California, such as volunteer groups escorting the elderly in Oakland.
“If the public had more access than a lot of these incidents would [be] intervened,” Ting told Queens Daily Eagle. “I just wanted to bridge that gap. People think, ‘Oh it’s dangerous,’ but there are so many strategies and methods — we don’t want members to get into physical altercations.”
Ting says her group primarily focuses on addressing the bystander effect. The phenomenon appears to have been present in many anti-Asian attacks caught on video.
After passing a thorough screening process, volunteers head out in shifts of two or three. At present, patrol activities only take place on weekends, but Ting hopes to expand their efforts.
Jin Ooi, 34, decided to join the group after attending a March 21 rally, where he met Ting.
“I felt it was good that there was that kind of presence to deter these attacks, but I didn’t think this patrol would be actively deterring a hate crime,” Ooi told New York Daily News.
Along with some volunteers, Ooi managed to deter two suspicious males who appeared to be planning an attack. The pair reportedly heckled Asian passersby, yelling slurs such as “ching chong” before targeting an elderly man.
Ooi’s group surrounded the men and successfully drove them away. Unfortunately, the racist tirade went on when Ooi and a female companion followed the pair to document the event and ensure that they do not come back.
Footage of one of the men slapping Ooi’s phone out of his hand while he was recording has been brought to New York police. The confrontation is now under investigation by the department’s Hate Crimes Task Force.
Main Street Patrol is accepting more volunteers. Head over here to apply.
Feature Image via Main Street Patrol
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