The son of GuiYing Ma, the woman who recently died from a violent attack in November, traveled from China to attend his mother’s funeral in New York City.
Ma, who was repeatedly hit in the head with a rock by suspect Elisaul Perez in November, succumbed to her injuries on Feb. 22. The 61-year-old woman spent several weeks in a coma before waking up days before her passing.
Ma’s son Yang Gao arrived in the U.S. on Friday after Reps. Grace Meng (D-N.Y.) and Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-N.Y.) assisted in securing a visa for him.
Gao last saw his mother in person when his parents left China four years ago. He told reporters he was devastated that their reunion would be at her wake.
A daily dose of Asian America's essential stories, in under 5 minutes.
Get our collection of Asian America's most essential stories to your inbox daily for free.
Unsure? Check out our Newsletter Archive.
Speaking with the help of a translator, Gao said, “When I first got the call from my father, I was in shock. What I lost is my mother, the dearest person that’s closest to me.”
Gao also expressed his appreciation for the lawmakers who made his trip possible, allowing him to be with his father, Zanxin Gao, who is now alone following the tragedy. He will attend his mother’s funeral with his father in Flushing on Saturday.
Meng said she was happy to help Gao, whom she learned had asked his father “to bring his mom back safely” just before his parents immigrated to the U.S.
Gao’s parents moved to the U.S. to earn money and provide for their family back home in China. According to Gao, he had opposed the plan and now wants his father to return to China with him, so he can spend time with his 14-year-old granddaughter and 9-year-old grandson.
“I was very nervous,” Gao shared. “I wasn’t agreeing for them to move to New York at first. I want them to stay in China, so I could take care of them, with their age.”
While Gao’s dad wants to bury his wife’s ashes in China, he said he still faces immigration issues that could delay the trip.
Perez is currently facing two felony assault charges and a charge of criminal possession of a weapon.