Feb. 23, 2021 By Allie Griffin
New York City has launched an online toolkit to address the spate of attacks against Asian Americans in recent months.
Mayor Bill de Blasio announced Tuesday the creation of an online toolkit that aims to provide support to New Yorkers of Asian heritage who are subjected to hate crimes.
The toolkit, which can be found at nyc.gov/stopasianhate, features resources for those who are victims of hate, links to Asian American community groups, and information about bigotry.
Victims can also lodge complaints about bias crimes on the site.
“Right there on the website, you can report an attack or a bias crime and learn about the efforts that are being made all over the city to encourage mutual respect,” de Blasio said during a press conference Tuesday.
The city has taken other steps in recent times to address attacks against Asian New Yorkers.
The NYPD created a task force last August to investigate and combat the spike. The Asian Hate Crime Task Force was filled with 25 Asian-American NYPD detectives who collectively speak 11 different languages.
Nevertheless, there were still 28 hate crimes against Asian Americans in New York last year, compared to just three in 2019, according to Stewart Loo, Deputy Inspector of the NYPD’s Asian Hate Crimes Task Force, who spoke at the press conference.
The rise in anti-Asian rhetoric, Loo said, was spurred by the stigma related to the coronavirus pandemic.
The mayor’s announcement of the toolkit today comes after two anti-Asian incidents in Queens this month.
In the first incident, an Asian woman was subjected to racist remarks by a man who was following her along a commercial street in Astoria on Feb. 9. Video footage of the incident was posted on Twitter– although the NYPD said it didn’t receive an official complaint.
A week later, on Feb. 16, a 52-year-old Asian woman was shoved to the ground by a man on Main Street in Flushing. The suspect was arrested late last week after a video of the attack went viral on social media.
Queens Congress Member Grace Meng, who has been speaking out against the ongoing racism for months, joined de Blasio at his press conference Tuesday.
She said the anti-Asian rhetoric began to increase at the beginning of last year– even before the pandemic reached the shores of the U.S. For instance, she said that small business owners of Asian background faced hostility shortly after the COVID-19 outbreak was reported last January.
“These racist attacks have been outrageous, unconscionable, disgusting and it must end,” Meng said.
In September, Meng shared her personal experience as a victim of the surging anti-Asian bigotry in the country. Her office received a barrage of racist voicemails after a resolution she sponsored–condemning such behavior–passed the House of Representatives earlier that same month.
The racist messages I got were hurtful but so many have been hurt in worse ways to the point of death. Hate incidents against Asian Americans continue to rise. We must speak up and speak out. Our community has run out of ‘nice’. https://t.co/ZwtIq9jGr1
— Grace Meng (@Grace4NY) February 10, 2021