NEW YORK — An uptick in hate crimes against Asian Americans continues amid the COVID-19 pandemic, according to NYPD data.
Moreover, the NYPD Hate Crimes Task Force is worried about under-reporting.
“We see incidents of people being harassed on subways and buses, and our seniors are afraid to go grocery shopping in the supermarket,” said Chinatown Partnership executive director Wellington Chen. “This is not the America we know.”
The NYPD Hate Crimes Task Force reports at least 13 incidents since mid-March, with arrests in nine of those cases.
In response to the uptick in attacks, the Hate Crimes Task Force has put out information in English as well as several other languages to warn the community and encourage victims to report crimes.
“We’re never going to ask about immigration status. That does not come into account,” Molinari said. “We need people to report. We need to address their individual crimes and address the perpetrators to make sure there are no other crimes against other people.”
Some, however, feel victims have been forced into silence by statements made by President Donald Trump and others.
Trump has called COVID-19 the “Chinese virus” and defended the comments by saying, “It’s not racist at all, it comes from China, that’s why.”
Rep. Grace Meng, a Democrat representing parts of Queens, has spoken out against the president’s language. She introduced legislation formally denouncing anti-Asian sentiments and collecting data on bias incidents.
“I’m really nervous the effects will outlast the virus itself, and have lasting impact on so many people in our communities,” Meng said.
Chen shares that concern, and said it will take the rest of New York City to stop it.
“Instead of being a bystander, be an ‘upstander,’” he said. “Asians are still a minority and we need the other 86% to stand up, and when they see something, say that is not the right thing to do.”