Metro

Rally against anti-Asian violence held in Times Square year after Atlanta spa shootings

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Hundreds gathered in Times Square Wednesday to denounce anti-Asian violence a year after the Atlanta spa shootings — with many saying fear is an every day reality in the Big Apple.

“Even on the train ride here I was jittering and shaking,” Jersey City resident Alyssa Roaquin told The Post. “I’m always looking over my shoulder when I’m walking.”

“It’s sad because you see these hate crimes happening to women that look like me,” said Roaquin, who started carrying pepper spray last year. “I can’t help but feel like can I be next?”

The crowd of about 300 held signs that said, “Protect Asian Women,” “Badass Asian Bitches Say No More” and “Stop Killing Us.”

The event marked a year since Robert Allen Long allegedly opened fire in three Atlanta spas, killing eight people, six of whom were Asian women.

The Big Apple has seen the largest spike of hate crimes against Asian-Americans, with 133 recorded in 2021.

Just outside the city, in recent days, a man was charged with a hate crime in the brutal beating of a 67-year-old Yonkers woman who was punched and kicked more than 125 times in her building lobby.

People rally calling for action and awareness on rising incidents of hate crime against Asian-Americans in Times Square in New York City on March 16, 2022.
Attendants hold numerous signs calling to “stop Asian hate” during a rally in Times Square.
TIMOTHY A. CLARY/AFP via Getty Images

In that attack, Tammel Esco, 42, called his victim an “Asian bitch” before violently pummeling her.

A Yonkers resident who only gave her first name Jennifer said she was shaken after that attack and the victim “could have been my mom.”

Those feelings were echoed throughout the demonstration.

Candles on the Red Steps in Times Square are pictured during a rally calling for action and awareness on rising incidents of hate crime against Asian-Americans in New York City on March 16, 2022.
Demonstrators placed candles signifying the number of hate crime incidents against Asian-Americans on the Red Steps of Times Square.
TIMOTHY A. CLARY/AFP via Getty Images

Jo-Ann Yoo, the executive director of the Asian American Federation, told the crowd she’s scared to leave her house.

“I’m an Asian-American woman and I feel like I have a target painted on my back,” Yoo said. “Like many of you, I’m afraid to go out at night, to take the subway, to come home after seeing friends.”

Those attending the gathering included Gov. Kathy Hochul, state Sen. John Liu, New York City Comptroller Brad Lander and Public Advocate Jumaane Williams.

People participate in a "Break The Silence - Justice for Asian Women" rally, in Times Square, in New York City, U.S. March 16, 2022.
Several politicians, including Gov. Kathy Hochul, was present at the Asian-American solidarity rally.
REUTERS/David ‘Dee’ Delgado
People participate in a "Break The Silence - Justice for Asian Women" rally, in Times Square, in New York City, U.S. March 16, 2022.
New Yorkers voiced their concerns of elderly Asian-Americans being assaulted more often.
REUTERS/David ‘Dee’ Delgado

“We are here to declare an end to Asian hate in our city and in our nation and it starts right here on our streets,” Hochul said. “We are sick and tired of what is happening to this community that’s been under assault for far too long.”

“We deserve to be safe on our streets, on our subways, our home,” she added.

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