Potri Ranka manis claims she was giving out free face masks in the New York City subway system when she was attacked and called a racist slur.
Chinese, mind your business. “Go home to your dirty land,” a Filipina nurse of 67 years recalls being told last Wednesday.
This attack is part the ongoing anti-Asian bias wave that has been taking place in the United States since last. A recent report by a coalition tracking racism and discrimination against Asian Americans shows there were at least 4,533 incidents in the first six months of the year and advocates say numerous other attacks have taken place over the summer.
Manis was on the E train August 10, when she noticed two people without face covers. Manis, a city public-health worker, thought she could offer masks to them because the Metropolitan Transportation Authority (MTA), required them.
According to Manis and a New York Police Department report, she was punched repeatedly in the head by one of them when she approached them.
Although Manis was not named by police in a press release, one of the suspects did take the woman’s cell phone during the altercation. They then exited the train and exited the subway station.
Congresswoman Grace Meng, a Democrat from New York who introduced the now-Covid-19 Hate Crimes Act law, said Manis was an “unsung frontline worker” and the attack was”abhorrent.”
Jo-Ann Yoo is the executive director of Asian American Federation. She told CNN that there is still a lot fear in the Asian American community. She said that elderly people are afraid to leave their homes and parents are concerned about their children’s ability to attend in-person classes. Workers are also vigilant during commutes.
Yoo and other New York officials held a news conference on Thursday calling for immediate funding to increase resources and ensure safety for residents of Asian descent.
Yoo stated, “We must be able safety ambassador programs and victims require mental health support.”
Anti-Asian attacks “are not going away”
Stop AAPI Hate started tracking violence against Asian Americans (and Pacific Islanders) on March 19, last year. This was when more Asian Americans were verbally or physically attacked while being wrongly blamed for the Covid-19 pandemic.
A year later, anti Asian violence persists nationally. There have been horrific assaults in New York City and San Francisco.
Last week, Stop AAPI Hate released its latest report showing it has received 9,081 firsthand complaints between March 19 of last year and June 30. Although the organization previously stated that it does not independently verify all reports received, it did say that it only counts reports with descriptions.
The majority of incidents, or 63.7%, were instances of verbal harassment. Shunning or avoidance was about 16.5%. According to Stop AAPI Hate, 13.7% of incidents involved physical assaults.
The coalition found that 63.3% of those who reported bias were women and 48.1% claimed they experienced incidents involving “at least one hateful comment regarding anti-China or anti-immigrant rhetoric.”
“Our data clearly indicates that Asian Americans across America continue to be attacked and that the hate incidents we have been tracking from March 2020 aren’t going away,” Manjusha Kalkarni, cofounder of Stop AAPI Hate and executive Director of Asian Pacific Policy and Planning Council said in a statement.