CNN: She was attacked in the street for being Asian. Her community still lives in fear.
By Jessie Yeung/CNN
New York (CNN) — One spring morning last year, Vilma Kari was strolling through midtown Manhattan on her way to church when she was suddenly attacked by a stranger.
“You don’t belong here, you Asian,” he said, cursing and beating her so violently that Vilma, then 65, was left with serious pelvic injuries.
Later, Vilma realized that closed-circuit video of those nightmarish moments had gone viral online, placing her at the center of a media storm over anti-Asian attacks during the pandemic.
“Every day I was constantly reminded of what had happened to me,” said Vilma, who immigrated from the Philippines as a student in her 20s.
Vilma and her daughter Elizabeth are among thousands of families across the United States grappling with a surge in anti-Asian violence fueled by misinformation linking the virus with Asian countries or people.
This rise in attacks has led to increased anxiety and mistrust in the community – and older AAPI people in particular are more afraid to go out for fear of being targeted, survivors and experts told CNN.
“You’re still going to see the senior citizen who may still be walking around Chinatown late at night, but I think the majority are very cautious,” said Shirley Ng, a community organizer with civil rights group the Asian American Legal Defense and Education Fund.