Special report: The rise of anti-Asian bias and violence in the Hudson Valley
The COVID-19 pandemic is still crippling small businesses, but O'Mandarin restaurant in Hartsdale has also been hit with racism.
Peter Lu, owner of O'Manderin says he has spoken with regular customers and they say they don't want to go there because they are afraid of Chinese people carrying the virus.
The boycott of his restaurant got so bad that Westchester County Executive George Latimer ate there publicly last March - demonstrating how the fear was irrational.
Bob Chao, of OCA Hudson Valley, says Asian Americans are being treated as scapegoats for COVID-19 and the economic downtown. OCA - a nonprofit for Asian American rights - says words matter.
New data from the Stop AAPI Hate organization reports 3,795 anti-Asian hate incidents in the past year - 11% of them were physical assaults.
The NYPD recorded an 800% increase in violence against Asians in New York City in 2020. At least six Asians were killed in Tuesday's mass shooting in Atlanta.
Last week, an 83-year-old Korean grandmother was spit on, punched and knocked unconscious outside the mall in White Plains. The Westchester District Attorney's Office is investigating it as a potential hate crime.
"I tell my employees, let's just come work and go home. Let's avoid to go out," he says,
The number of bias incidents is most likely significantly higher and highlights the issue of underreporting.
O'Mandarin still donates thousands of meals back to the community - even while being singled out. They say in a year that's been so draining, they're pushing to see the glass half-full.
There's no vaccine for hate as a virus - but a good start is: if you see something, say something.
And if you want to make your voice heard, the Ardsley High School Asian Students Union is hosting a rally this Saturday, March 20. Everyone is welcome to stand with this community.
This week, Latimer and Westchester District Attorney Mimi Rocah are launching the #SpeakUpWestchester campaign.
To report any hate crimes anonymously, click here.
The district attorney's hotline to report hate crimes is 914-995-8477.
People can also call 911 or contact their local police department.