A Hate Crime in Chinatown Sows Division in Response [OP-ED]
The random attack on a 55-year-old woman in the heart of Chinatown shattered the relative sense of security in the neighborhood.
Following this sucker-punch incident in front of 65 Bayard Street, activists demanded reaction from lame-duck de Blasio or any of the mayor hopefuls. It was the opposite – a real shitshow typical of Chinatown politics.
Mayoral candidate Andrew Yang, suddenly smittened by Chinatown, opted to attend the rally hastily organized by Councilwoman Margaret Chin, who miraculously made her fifth appearance in the neighborhood since March 2020. Yang, seemingly dependent on the Chinese and Asian vote, has appeared at several rallies with supporters and campaigned extensively here but doesn’t enjoy the support of all Chinatown. In fact, many locals find Yang snooty and detached because he comes from privilege and does not understand their immigrant struggles nor did he understand the issues facing the neighborhood. You would think any candidate for mayor would familiarize themselves with a neighborhood before campaigning there but it’s obvious Yang depended on intelligence from Chin’s clueless staffers Ian Chan and Gigi Li whom he endorsed for the Chin-vacated council seat.
The second rally organized by district leader Jenny Low, which Yang was invited to, featured four other mayoral candidates – Kathryn Garcia, Scott Stringer, Shaun Donovan and AAron Foldenauer along with elected officials MBP Gale Brewer, public advocate Jumaane Williams and Sen Brad Hoylman. While both rallies decried the attack and called on Mayor de Blasio to fully fund nonprofits working on mental health outreach to the homeless population, the mayor himself appears overwhelmed and bewildered at his daily updates, and has been ineffective in addressing the growing numbers of random attacks citywide.
Chinatown has been inundated with homeless, warehoused in corporate owned chain hotels whose owners are paid a premium for an otherwise empty room. Yet, the issue is not homeless in our neighborhood, but that these residents are not vetted or offered support services.
At the end of the day, instead of trading political ideologies for showing unity in the face of these attacks biased attacks, Margaret Chin chosed to be divisive and hold her own rally.