AsAmNews: Civil rights groups condemn attack on young AAPI canvasser
by Akemi Tamanaha, Associate Editor
Civil rights groups recently held a press conference to condemn a racist attack on a 14-year-old Asian American boy who was canvassing for District 10 legislature candidate Weihua Yan in Nassau County, New York.
According to Yan, the attack occurred in Great Neck on Monday, October 4. A woman allegedly punched Yan’s 14-year-old Asian American intern and shouted “racially charged” insults at him.
On Friday, Yan and leaders from civil rights groups like the Asian American Legal Defense and Education Fund and the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People held a press conference to condemn the attack.
Reporters asked Yan if the boy had been out canvassing since the attack. The candidate says he does not want to ask him to return in such a short timeframe. Yan and other leaders are concerned about the impact a traumatic event like Monday’s attack will have on his young intern.
“Young people should be happy and not be afraid to be attacked. A simple ‘No, thank you. I’m not interested,’ would have sufficed. This is unacceptable. We strongly oppose this type of behavior. Not in your town. It can never happen again,” Desiree Woodson, vice president of the North Shore chapter of the NAACP, said at the press conference.
Leaders also criticized law enforcement’s response to the incident. They claim that the police said they could not take action against the alleged attacker.
“Police were called, and they claimed there was nothing they could do. They minimized his injuries as not serious enough. Their inaction sends a message that racial violence is not a serious problem. Their inaction inflicts another wound, that this boy’s wellbeing does not matter,” Jane Shim, AALDEF’s Director of the Stop Asian Hate Project, said.
Speakers at the press conference also acknowledged that Monday’s incident is part of a broader increase in anti-Asian violence across the country.
“This incident is not just about one person’s hate. It’s about a broader issue that our society must address. We must join together to loudly say, ‘no hate in our town,’” Yan said.