Hundreds of people gathered in Times Square on Tuesday to remember the life of Michelle Go and to advocate for public safety.
Michelle Go’s Vigil
Asians Fighting Injustice, a non-profit organization fighting against Asian hate and systemic injustices, hosted a candlelight vigil along with its community partners in remembrance of Michelle Go at the Red Steps in Times Square at 6 p.m. on Jan. 18.
Along with friends and family of Go, New York City Mayor Eric Adams, Congresswoman Grace Meng, New York State Attorney General Letitia James, City Council Speaker Adrienne Adams and other elected officials also attended the vigil.
“The way we carry out Michelle’s legacy is not just here on one night with candles and kind words but in our actions,” Congresswoman Grace Meng said. “We need to make sure that we are working to demand equity and justice and answers. There are too many people, especially in the Asian American community, who are terrified to walk the streets, terrified to go to the grocery store, to take the subway, to leave their homes.”
Go, a 40-year-old woman who dedicated 10 years of her life to helping homeless people, was shoved into the path of an oncoming subway train by a mentally ill, 61-year-old homeless man, Simon Martial, on Saturday, as NextShark previously reported. Martial has since surrendered to the police and was charged with second-degree murder.
The founder of Asians Fighting Injustice Ben Wei has previously called on New York City Mayor Eric Adams to develop a mental health reform plan.
“Seniors and elders are afraid to do the daily interactions that they’ve done for so many years in this great city. I’m re-committed to make sure this will not happen in our city,” Mayor Adams stated at the vigil. “We have to do this together. We must ensure that we have a plan of intervention and prevention. Intervention is what we must do now. My deployment of law enforcement officers matched with mental health professionals to identify those who are in need and give them the services immediately. It’s what we must do right now.”
“This is New York City, the most diverse place on the globe,” Adams added. “It’s time for us to come together as a city and not allow these issues to take place. My heart goes out to this family.”
Other officials and friends of Go also delivered speeches in remembrance of Go and to inspire action towards a safer city.
“What does make me happy is that I know Michelle lived her life to the fullest,” Go’s friend Louise Chang said. “Michelle, we will miss you deeply, but know that you will always be in our hearts and memories.”
The Asian American Foundation Press Release
The Asian American Foundation (TAAF), a group that is dedicated to “accelerating opportunity and prosperity for AAPI communities,” also released a statement to NextShark outlining its plan of action towards bringing together communities and government leaders to pursue solutions for addressing and preventing attacks on AAPI individuals.
“This tragedy is the latest example of violence that AAPI communities across the nation continue to endure, underscoring the acute need for TAAF and our partners to provide public safety solutions that will make AAPIs safer from acts of violence — no matter where they come from or why,” TAAF CEO Norman Chen stated. “In the days since we learned of Michelle’s attack, TAAF has been coordinating with our NYC AAPI Action Center, the Asian American Federation, as well as government agencies, and other local advocates and leaders to pursue a comprehensive, cross-racial approach to protect against similar attacks in the future.”
TAAF has contributed $5,000 to Asians Fighting Injustice’s Stop Asian Hate NYC Fund in support of Go’s vigil. The foundation’s Action Center also plans to “extend the reach of a number of its services with the support of TAAF, including expanding its public safety escort program, its efforts to connect AAPIs with mental health services, and its work with other partners to drive toward long-term, cross-racial public safety solutions.”
“We are in a state of shock and grieving the loss of our daughter, sister, and friend,” Go’s family wrote in a statement released on Twitter. “We hope Michelle will be remembered for how she lived and not just how she died. She was a beautiful, brilliant, kind, and intelligent woman who loved her family and friends, loved to travel the world and to help others. Her life was taken too soon in a senseless act of violence, and we pray that she gets the justice she deserves.”