Chris Kwok says the Asian community is on edge as discrimination has spiked since the beginning of the pandemic.
While the NYPD’s February statistics show overall crime is down in the city, attacks against Asian Americans are only going up.
Kwok has been active in the fight against this form of hate as a Board Member of the Asian American Bar Association of New York.
“The social fabric of our county is really stressed by COVID-19 and I think people need to find somebody to blame and if they [see] an Asian face on the street they think that person brought COVID, was responsible for this,” he said.
The NYPD says there have been at least six attacks on Asian-Americans during the first two months of the year — compared to none during the same time last year. Some of these crimes are directly attributed to coronavirus-related discrimination.
Police Commissioner Dermot Shea addressed the disturbing trend Thursday.
“It’s a year, as we know, that the COVID reality we’re in is a little different, but when you look at the anti-Asian hate crimes, we have six vs zero and were paying very special attention to that,” said Shea.
The latest crime numbers also don’t take this month into account. On Tuesday, a 56-year-old Asian man was punched in the face as he was entering the F train subway station near East Broadway and Rutgers Street.
The city did launch a webpage and Asian Hate Crimes task force recently, but Kwok says more resources are needed. He partially attributes the uptick in hate to former President Donald Trump's rhetoric.
“He sort of unleashed nativist strains that have sort of been there in America, the perception Asian Americans are permanent foreigners,” said Kwok.
Kwok is also encouraging anyone who is or becomes the victim of a hate crime to report it, and those who witness it to record video at a safe distance to help law enforcement.