Feb. 18, 2022 By Allie Griffin
State Sen. John Liu and local Asian American groups are calling for increased state funding to support Asian New Yorkers who have increasingly been the target of violent—and even deadly—hate crimes.
Liu wants the state to allocate $64.5 million to support community-based organizations that provide services for Asian New Yorkers and/or educational efforts to combat discrimination against Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders that has risen since the onset of the pandemic.
“The AAPI community is under siege,” Liu said in a statement to the Queens Post. “For the last two years, we have been the target of relentless hatred, bigotry, and violence, and we desperately need resources that would address the root cause of these attacks and support our community.”
The proposed funding would be more than six times the amount the state earmarked for such groups last year. In April, former Governor Andrew Cuomo and the state legislature created a $10 million fund to provide grants to Asian American nonprofits to help address a rise in bias attacks against the AAPI community.
Despite the creation of the fund, Asian New Yorkers have continued to be victims of hate crimes in the city at an alarming rate. Hate crimes targeting Asian New Yorkers increased by 363 percent from 2020 to 2021, according to NYPD data.
In one case, a 61-year-old Chinese man died on Dec. 31 of injuries he sustained when he was randomly assaulted by a homeless man in an East Harlem bias attack in April. The suspect was charged with murder and assault as a hate crime.
In another case, a 61-year-old Asian woman was randomly beaten unconscious with a large rock by a stranger in North Corona on Nov. 26. The NYPD is re-investigating the assault as a possible hate crime.
Most recently, a 35-year-old Korean American woman Christina Yuna Lee was followed home and stabbed to death inside her Manhattan apartment by a homeless man early Sunday. She was killed about a month after a 40-year-old Asian American woman was fatally shoved in front of a subway car at Times Square.
However, police have not classified either murder as a hate crime. Nonetheless, many Asian New Yorkers are left living in fear, Asian leaders said.
“The past weeks have been traumatizing as we’ve marked multiple attacks against #AAPI New Yorkers across the City, most recently Christina Yuna Lee,” Council Member Linda Lee posted on Twitter Tuesday. “Despite our anger and fear, we cannot give in to divisiveness but must work to implement real solutions that keep all of us safe.”
The Asian American Federation, one of the groups demanding additional funding, is calling on officials to come up with solutions to combat the attacks.
“After two years of relentless hate directed at our communities all of us advocates are exhausted,” the organization tweeted Tuesday. “Our hearts have been broken by what is happening in our City. But we will not rest until we get the answers and the resources our communities so desperately need.”
Liu said the extra state funding would directly support organizations embedded in Asian communities and would help cover the cost of mental health, language and education programs.
“This extra state funding would go directly to the organizations that work on the ground every day with affected AAPI communities and would address everything from mental health services to the implementation of AAPI curriculum to language access,” Liu said.