Asian Americans gathered in Times Square this week to mark the second anniversary of a shooting spree in Atlanta that claimed eight lives, including those of six Asian women, as well as losses closer to home.
But the gathering of some 60 people, “Always With Us: Asian Americans Rise Against Hate,” also reflected on local tragedies, including the death of Michelle Go, who was pushed from a subway platform in Times Square in January 2022, and Christina Yuna Lee, who was fatally stabbed in her Chinatown apartment in February 2022. Months earlier, there was Yao Pan Ma, a former dim sum pastry chef who died on New Year’s Eve 2021, months after being attacked in Harlem while collecting cans.
Although there has been a drop-off in local incidents recorded by police, anti-Asian violence has persisted. Earlier this month in Queens, a mother and her son, both Asian Americans, were physically attacked after three people in a passing vehicle first hurled anti-Asian slurs, Spectrum News reported.
In January, a mass shooting at a dance hall frequented by Asians in Monterey Park, California, ended in the deaths of 11 people. The Times Square rally, which coincided with remembrances in Atlanta, Denver, San Francisco and Detroit, took note of those deaths as well.
In recent weeks, Asian American advocacy groups have also sounded alarms over attacks that fall short of violence, including incidents challenging the patriotism of Asian members of Congress and other members of the community. In February, a Texas congressman questioned Rep. Judy Chu’s “loyalty or competence” after Chu, a California Democrat, defended President Biden’s appointment of an Asian American to a trade council.
“We are concerned that it is leading to bills in TX, GA, MT and VA that are similar to the Alien Land Laws of the early 1900s and even efforts to ban Chinese students (from TX universities),” Manjusha Kulkarni, the executive director of AAPI Equity Alliance, wrote in an email to Gothamist.
“As we have always said, anti-Asian hate is not simply about interpersonal attacks, but also racist rhetoric and xenophobic and racist policies.”