NEW YORK – Fed up with the incessant attacks on Asian Americans, Stan Lee recently started voluntarily patrolling San Francisco's Chinatown. So when the 53-year-old fire lieutenant saw a video of a New York City woman getting brutally beaten, he didn't have to guess how his fellow volunteers — other Asian American firefighters — were taking it.
“I’m pretty sure they’re all steamed, like I am,” said Lee, who is Chinese American. “It’s personal. It could have been our aunt or our mom or our grandma.”
The vicious assault of a 65-year-old woman while walking to church this week near New York City's Times Square has heightened already palpable levels of outrage over anti-Asian attacks that escalated with the pandemic.
New York police say the assailant yelled racial slurs at the Filipina American woman and told her, “You don't belong here!” The video quickly drew millions of views along with widespread condemnation, not just for its heinous nature but the seemingly indifferent bystanders. The assailant was arrested and charged Wednesday with hate crimes.
Asian American groups from coast to coast, already doing more than digital activism — patrolling, escorting, chaperoning — are trying not to let this latest hate crime discourage those efforts.
“I think that gives us more motive to take care of our own,” Lee said. “We see everyone in our community as our own. It doesn’t have to be just Asians.”
In New York City, Teresa Ting, a 29-year-old Chinese American, started what has become the Main Street Patrol following an attack on another older Asian American woman in the Flushing neighborhood of Queens in February.
“It literally could have been my mother had it been the wrong place, wrong time," Ting said of that attack.