Great Neck takes stand against rise in anti-Asian hate crimes
Hundreds of Long Island residents rallied in Firefighters Park in Great Neck to condemn the recent surge in bias incidents and violence against Asian Americans.
The rally comes as a recent national report by the Center for the Study of Hate and Extremism found anti-Asian hate crimes increased by 339% in 2021.
"We are sick and tired of having to having to see our friends and family get blamed for global pandemics and watching our elderly get pushed, beaten and killed over racist misinformation, " said Great Neck resident Vicky Lin.
On Long Island, Nassau police say there have been two anti-Asian bias crimes so far this year, and in Suffolk County there have been 14 hate crimes overall.
The rally demonstrators say the bias crimes are fueled by ignorance, and they are calling for the passage of the Asian-American History Education Bill.
"Through education, we can begin to change minds, break barriers and stereotypes about Asian Americans and finally start to chip away at the hate and the racism, " said Assemblywoman Gina Sillitti (D-Port Washington).
It would require all K-12 students in New York to learn about Asian-American history, as well as the contributions of Asian-Americans in the community.
"The more we know about our history and the better we understand the journey of our neighbors, the closer we can be as a community," said State Sen. Anna Kaplan.
The sponsors of the bill say they're pushing for its passage before the legislative session ends in two weeks.
The call for Asian American education in schools resonated with the young demonstrators, who say knowledge will foster tolerance and respect.
"We need to incorporate Asian American historical figures, struggles, stories in our school curriculum. Only then, can we begin the very important work of erasing anti-Asian bias and ensuring that the tragedies of yesterday and today do not occur tomorrow, " said Manhasset resident Iris Liu.