‘We paid a price for being a hero’: GoFundMe for teenage SEPTA hero raises over $700,000

GoFundMe SEPTA train

A crowdfunding campaign set up to help Christina, the teenager who stood up to bullies and was beaten on a Southeastern Pennsylvania Transportation Authority (SEPTA) train last week, has surpassed its initial $10,000 goal by raising more than $702,435, as of Nov. 22.

Tons of support: The GoFundMe campaign, set by YLin Chen, Christina’s mother, and Michael Chen, Christina’s brother,  said that Christina has now been released from the hospital after suffering the severe beating last week, according to local news site Billy Penn. The 18-year-old will also receive mental support from a therapist while recovering from her physical injuries.

  • As her family, we will continue to campaign against Asian hate crimes in the school district of Philadelphia,” the teenager’s family wrote. “In addition, we are actively advocating for the safety of school students when taking public transportation.”
  • More than 13,000 people have donated to the GoFundMe campaign.
  • Thank you guys, we never expected to pass the 1000 dollar mark,” Michael Chen said in an update. “My sister could not make any public appearances due to her injuries, so my uncle Mike and our family friend Jack Zhao spoke in her place.”

What happened: Speaking to reporters, Christina’s aunt, Mei Lu, recounted the incident and said her niece, a Central High School student, was trying to defend a group of Asian American students who were also on the train, according to 6ABC.

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  • I ask her, ‘Because you think the boys are Asian you want to protect your own ethnicity?’ And she said, ‘No. No matter if they’re Asian, African American, Caucasian, I am doing the right thing,’” Lu said, sharing the conversation she had with Christina.
  • The teenager was riding on the Broad Street Line on Wednesday Nov. 17 when she witnessed a group of Black teens bullying Asian American Central High School students. She immediately intervened, but the aggressors turned their focus on her and started assaulting her.
  • The suspects, described to be aged between 13 and 16, kicked and punched Christina, even slamming her head on the train door. One of the attackers was filmed using her shoe to strike the teenager lying on the ground.
  • While SEPTA Police Chief Thomas Nestel and others from the community hailed Christina as a hero, her mother viewed the brutal incident differently.
  • She says she saw that but every time when friends and people from the community gave her support and her love, every time [they] said hero, the word, her mother’s heart was broken. We paid a price for being a hero,” Lu told CBS Philly.

The aftermath: The incident was reported to the SEPTA police following the attack, leading to the arrest of four female suspects. Nestel said one of the attackers’ mothers  reported her daughter after seeing the viral video of the assault, according to NBC Philadelphia.

  • All suspects are facing several charges, including aggravated assault and ethnic intimidation, the Philadelphia District Attorney’s Office said on Thursday. The DA added that one of the assailants was charged with one count of robbery for attempting to steal AirPods from a victim.

Featured Image GoFundMe (left), @MrAndyNgo (right)

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