City officials will convene with members of the Council Tuesday at a hearing designed to address the ongoing crisis of anti-Asian hate crimes.
Christopher Marte, a lawmaker who represents Chinatown and other parts of lower Manhattan, said the hearing would include the questioning of officials from the NYPD as well as the city Commission on Human Rights. Marte sits on the Council’s Committee on Civil and Human Rights, which is jointly conducting the hearing, along with the Committee on Public Safety.
The hearing, as described in an emailed announcement, will explore “what progress, if any, has been made in regards to the city’s response to the widespread hate, and where there is room for improvement.” It takes place against a backdrop of several high-profile attacks in recent months, including the death of GuiYing Ma, who was fatally bludgeoned outside her home in Queens; Christina Yuna Lee, a 35-year-old woman who was stabbed to death inside her lower Manhattan home; and Michelle Go, who died after being pushed off a subway platform in February.
Police were also investigating the death of Zhiwen Yan, 45, a food delivery worker in Queens who was shot to death on Saturday while driving his scooter in Forest Hills.
Although murders are down this year, major crime is up 41.6%. Hate crimes against Asian New Yorkers in 2021 were up 361% over the previous year.
The sense of fear pervades the Asian American community, according to Councilmember Julie Won, who represents Long Island City, Sunnyside, Astoria, and Woodside and will be at the hearing.
Won, who is Korean American, said she and her mother remain on the phone when her mother leaves the Manhattan nail salon where she works until 9 p.m. Won also recounted how her baby's nanny is coping with commuting fears.
“She simply told me 'I cannot get on the train later than 9 p.m. because I'm too scared,’” Won said. “And that is the reality for every Asian American living in New York City right now.”
Won said she intends to use her time at the hearing to address reports that the NYPD Hate Crimes Bureau downplayed incidents of anti-Asian harassment brought to the attention of police.
But she said long-term solutions are complex, given the problems of homelessness, mental health issues and anti-Asian hostility.
“There’s just so much happening all at once,” said Won. “Kind of the perfect storm.”