Since March 2020, there have been nearly 3,800 anti-Asian hate incidents reported across the United States, according to the Stop AAPI Hate coalition, which has been tracking such reports. The majority of incidents involving Asian-Americans were cases of verbal harassment (68 percent) while shunning or avoidance made up about 20.5 percent. About 11 percent of the incidents involved some sort of physical assault.
Outside the Theodore Roosevelt Executive and Legislative Building in Mineola last week, local elected officials and county residents gathered in response to an alarming increase in bias incidents and violence against Asian-Americans in a “Stand Up To Hate” rally, which drew hundreds of people.
“It’s on all of us to speak out in a loud, unified, and categorical voice to demand an end to this violence,” Legislator Joshua Lafazan said during the rally. “We know that we cannot drive out hatred with more hate. As Dr. King taught us many years ago, only love can do that. Which is why when you look at this crowd—and you see Muslims, Christians, Buddhists and Jews standing together—when you see people of all different races and backgrounds standing together, when you see people of all different ages standing together—there can be no mistaking that love and unity is the answer.”
The rally, which was organized by Lafazan’s office in partnership with Gordon Zhang, who is the president of the Long Island Chinese American Association and Farrah Mozawalla, who is the executive director of Nassau County’s Office of Asian American Affairs, was co-sponsored by more than 50 community organizations.
The rally was attended by Nassau County Executive Laura Curran, New York State Comptroller Thomas DiNapoli, U.S. Congressman Thomas Suozzi, multiple members of the New York State Senate and Assembly members, North Hempstead Town Clerk Wayne Wink and Nassau County Legislator Ellen W. Birnbaum (D—Great Neck).
The diverse slate of speakers included Long Island Regional Director of the NAACP Tracey Edwards, spokesperson and past president of the Islamic Center of Long Island Dr. Isma Chaudhry, Long Island Regional Director of the American Jewish Committee Eric Post, Chair of the Board of the Holocaust Memorial and Tolerance Center of Nassau County Andrea Bolender, and CEO of Mill Neck Family of Organizations Dr. Asiah Mason, which provided American Sign Language interpreters.
“Nassau County is standing together against the rising tide of Anti-Asian hate,” Curran said. “Although there have been no reported hate crimes targeting Asian-Americans in Nassau, the attacks we’re seeing in our state are alarming and unacceptable. Now and always there is no home for hate in Nassau.”
Suozzi added during the rally that the steady stream of hateful rhetoric linking Asian Americans with COVID-19 and the ensuing number of anti-Asian hate crimes is abhorrent.
“It is incumbent upon all of us to do everything in our power to call out and reject xenophobia and racism each and every time it rears its ugly head,” he said. “We must always ensure that hate will never win.”
Mozawalla said that no one should be made to feel unsafe, uncomfortable or feel like they don’t belong and that it’s important to reiterate that Nassau County is diverse and inclusive.
“America is a great county built by immigrants,” Zhang said. “The anti-Asian violence is not just an attack on one group, it is an attack on our nation’s fundamental values of diversity, equity, and inclusion. We must all condemn the rising of anti-Asian hate crimes in both New York and across the country.”