Ellen Young, Assembly Member Ron Kim, And Other Public Officials Stand In Solidarity With Yao Pan Ma’s Family
20th District City Council Candidate Ellen Young Stands With Family Of Yao Pan Ma And NY Lawmakers To Address Rise In Anti-Asian Hate Crimes
New York, New York – Today, 20th District City Council candidate Ellen Young joined Assemblymember Ron Kim, Assemblymember Robert Rodriguez, and a gathering of other city, state, and national lawmakers, family and community advocates, and a pro-bono attorney at the site of the attack on Yao Pan Ma to call out the dramatic rise of anti-Asian racism and violence in America.
On Friday evening, Yao Pan Ma was attacked and violently assaulted on the corner of 125th Street and 3rd Avenue in Manhattan. He is now in the hospital in critical condition, and as of late Sunday he remains in a medically induced coma. Ma’s wife, Baozhen Chen, said her husband was a talented dessert chef in China — where their two children still live — and came to the US two years ago for a better life. After losing his job in the pandemic, Ma began collecting cans for recyclables to make ends meet.
The violent incident is the latest attack amid a nationwide rise of physical assaults and harassment against Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders. Unfortunately, this form of racism and hate against Asian Americans is not new in America’s history. Since the start of the pandemic, there has been a sharp rise in racist attacks against Asian American communities across the country and here in New York.
The attendees condemned these attacks and announced that the family is being represented pro bono by the law firm of Paul, Weiss, Rifkind, Wharton & Garrison LLP. Together, they have established a family trust and official GoFundMe page for the family, which has already raised over $400,000. Those present promised to continue to collectively speak out in support of the AAPI community.
Ellen Young, 20th District City Council candidate said: “How many more times do we have to wake up in the morning to the news that another member of our community has been brutally assaulted before we take decisive action to address the problem? As the first female Asian Auxiliary police officer in Queens and NYPD trained block-watcher, I have seen first-hand the ability members of law enforcement have to deter crimes and protect members of the community. It is long last time that we bring the full weight of the law to bear against the rising tide of hate — these criminals need to face the maximum sentencing possible.”
Assemblymember Ron Kim said, “Our community is hurting. Every violent, viral attack is traumatic for all of us and changes how we go about our lives. Our elders feel like they are prey; they are scared to take public transportation, go to the grocery store, or even visit family -- it has to stop. We will bring those who perpetrate these dehumanizing attacks to justice and do all that we can to support victims and their families. We are a strong, resilient community who will turn our pain into power.
Everyone, no matter their background, is ultimately accountable for their own actions. At the same time, we can acknowledge the state of our country, which in the middle of an economic and health crisis has done and continues to do far too little for far too many people. These two points are not contradictory. Demanding justice for a crime is not a denial of the fact that most crimes do not happen in a vacuum. I don't pretend to know what went on in the mind of the suspect as he committed this horrific attack. But I do know that the conditions which led Mr. Ma to lose his job and collect bottles just to survive are the same ones that have caused so much anger, division, and hatred in our country, and that they all stem from the same dehumanizing root.”
“East Harlem has been home to immigrants for generations. Our Asian-American neighbors deserve to be treated with dignity and respect. They should not have to fear for their lives. We must also acknowledge that there is still tremendous work to be done to ensure that the violence and hate against the Asian-American community ends,” said Assemblymember Robert Rodriguez.
“The ongoing hate and violence against Asian Americans has been horrifying and this most recent heinous attack on Yao Pan Ma is unconscionable, despicable and sickening,” said U.S. Rep. Grace Meng (D-Queens). “We continue to pray for his recovery and hope the perpetrator of this cowardly act is swiftly brought to justice. Last week, the Senate overwhelmingly – by a vote of 94 to 1 – passed my COVID-19 Hate Crimes Act to help combat this rise in bigotry and violence towards the Asian American community, The House is expected to vote on the bill next month and President Biden supports the measure. But let’s not forget that we all have a role in fighting this xenophobia and racism. We must call it out, prevent it and report it, and do all we can to stop Asian hate. I ask New Yorkers to keep Yao Pan Ma and his loved ones in their thoughts at this difficult time. Thank you to Assemblymen Rodriguez and Kim and all my colleagues in government for standing up to hate.”
“Our Asian-American and immigrant neighbors deserve to feel safe in the city they call home,” said Assemblymember Dan Quart. “There must be accountability for the sickening and heartbreaking attack on Yao Pan Ma, but we cannot stop there. We must also invest in and fully fund AAPI communities and support on-the-ground organizations working to address the root causes of this violence. My heart goes out to Yao Pan Ma and his loved ones as he fights for his life.”
“The alarming rise of anti-Asian violence is an attack on everything our nation represents. As Yao Pan Ma fights for his life after this horrific act, we must strongly reaffirm that there is no place for hate in our communities. While we continue to identify actionable ways to address systemic racism and xenophobia, I stand in firm solidarity with Mr. Ma’s family and our AAPI neighbors,” said Senator Jose M. Serrano.