It’s a scene all too familiar for the Asian American community in New York over the past few years — a somber gathering in support of victims of an anti-Asian attack.
The crowd gathered in Corona Plaza Friday evening to support victims Cecille and Kyle Lai, a mother and son who were attacked just a few blocks from the event.
Cecille spoke at the rally, still visibly processing the trauma from the attack.
What You Need To Know
- While NYPD data shows hate crimes are down overall this year compared to last, community members say fear has remained at a constant since the start of the pandemic
- A man and a woman have been arrested in connection with this attack. They have both been charged with a hate crime
- Cecille Lai and her son Kyle Lai were walking on Junction Boulevard in Queens last Thursday when police say three people approached them yelling anti-Asian slurs and physically assaulted them
“I’m just confused,” Cecille, a hotel worker, said. “I just don’t understand why we have hate for each other.”
Cecille and her son were walking on Junction Boulevard in Queens last Thursday when police say a white SUV approached them.
Investigators say three people inside the vehicle yelled anti-Asian slurs and threw water at Cecille.
The three people then got out of the car and proceeded to physically assault the mother and son, who were later taken to a nearby hospital to treat their injuries, according to investigators.
While NYPD data show hate crimes are down overall, this year compared to last, community members say fear has remained at a constant since the start of the pandemic, which is when the city faced a staggering increase in anti-Asian attacks.
It’s why Cecille Lai spoke out publicly.
“We should start speaking out because people are thinking it’s not happening anymore, or it’s done, but it is, it is still happening,” she said.
That sentiment was shared by elected officials at the event.
“This Asian hate, we've been seeing in the community for the last two years, for a few years, it is happening,” Assemblymember Steven Raga, who represents Queens neighborhoods including Woodside, Elmhurst and Jackson Heights, said.
A man and a woman have been arrested in connection with the attack, according to NYPD. They have both been charged with a hate crime.
Police say they are still searching for a third suspect.