On February 17th Campus Safety reported that four NYU students, three of whom were Asian, were physically assaulted. The following week another Asian student was attacked. Most recently, on March 9th, an Asian woman was struck in the face while walking along Broadway from Astor Place. We know through conversations with students that these are just a small portion of the actual amount of hate incidents suffered by NYU students, as most have gone unreported.
These six reported assaults, however, have occurred among more intensely racialized and gendered acts of violence in the city. In January, NYU Alum Michelle Alyssa Go was pushed to her death at a subway station in Times Square. The following month, Christina Yuna Lee was violently murdered in her apartment in Chinatown. Recently, GuiYing Ma, a 61-year-old woman from Queens passed from the injuries she sustained after being struck in the head in late November. And it is not only Asian women who have been violently assaulted. Dorothy Clarke-Rozier, a 50-year-old Black woman from Jamaica, was violently stabbed to death in a random attack while she walked to work in Brooklyn.
These recent acts occur just prior to the one year memorial, on March 16th, of the eight lives taken in Atlanta. We are also approaching the two-year mark of when the city began sheltering in place. It was during this time that the Trump administration made use of disinformation campaigns widely scapegoating Asian communities for the spread of COVID-19. Such hate speech is at the heart of these recent attacks. It should also be noted that many of these attacks have been committed by those who are vulnerable, who during the pandemic have been unsheltered and mentally unwell. We see systemic failures to provide them with medical care and basic resources as deeply tied to the systemic increase in violence against various communities.
Even as mask mandates are being lifted and efforts are made to normalize COVID-19 as endemic, many of us continue to require community to make sense of what is happening and to heal. For students who would like space to be heard and to take action, there are a number of events taking place:
Wednesday, March 16, 11:00 a.m.-1:00 p.m. 8Lives Vigil is organized by Red Canary Song and the Asian American Feminist Collective with support from the NYU Center for the Study of Gender & Sexuality and Asian/Pacific/American Institute at NYU. This vigil will remember those whose lives were lost in the shootings in Atlanta last year and will take place in Garibaldi Square in Washington Square Park.
Wednesday, March 23, 1:00-3:00 p.m. Life in the Time of COVID-19: Countering Isolation and Anti-Asian Violence through Community, An A/P/A Student Check-in will be co-hosted with the student organization A/P/A BRIDGE and the Asian/Pacific/American Institute at NYU.
Thursday, April 21, 12:30-2:30 p.m. (new addition) Our Communities Are Stronger Together: An A/P/A Gathering has been planned as a follow-up to the March 23 student check-in. This event is open to all students, faculty, and staff.
Please visit Grief Garden, created by A/P/A Artist-in-Residence Khaty Xiong. The immersive poetry installation is on view at A/P/A Institute (8 Washington Mews), Monday-Friday 12:00-5:00 p.m.
Please be on the lookout for more information on volunteering for or requesting Safe Walk at NYU.
Read our previous statement about anti-Asian violence, watch the recording of our March 26, 2021 community check-in, and see our resource document (which we will continue to update) for additional information.
These recent attacks on our students are unacceptable. Students who have already been struggling with isolation, fear, and uncertainty should not be made to feel unsafe or unseen at their university. We at the Asian/Pacific/American Institute at NYU will be working to keep our communities safe and to politically mobilize on these critical issues. We invite members of the NYU community to join us in these long term efforts.