Thursday, March 22, 2007

Some Recent Consequences of anti-Chinese, anti-Asian hate speech

Why we "can't take a joke"...

Condemn anti-Asian hate crimes and hold MTA accountable!

On March 16, 2007 the New York Post reported that 17 year old Asian high school student, Marie Stefanie Martinez was assaulted in New York by a group of teenagers on a MTA B82 bus due to their perception that she looked "Chinese" even though she is of Filipino descent. Ms. Martinez was punched, kicked, and subjected to slurs in what can be categorized as a hate crime based on her attackers animus towards her perceived ethnicity.

Reportedly, the MTA bus operator who witnessed the assault did nothing to intervene during the course of the assault on Ms. Martinez and neglected his moral and ethical duty to ensure the safety of MTA riders and punctuated his negligent conduct by allegedly advising Ms. Martinez, who was still wearing her Catholic school uniform, to "go talk to a priest" after the assault.


The Death of a Family Man

THE last time Xia Gui Ping spoke to her husband, Zhang Hongqi, it was Feb. 18, the first day of the Lunar New Year. The phone rang at 7 that morning in her house in Luoyang City, in eastern China. On the line was Mr. Zhang, making the call he had made every day for five years.

First, he chatted with the couple’s 14-year-old daughter, How Ran, instructing her to put on new clothes, as is Chinese custom on the first day of the year, and watch the firecrackers explode outside her house.

When he spoke with his wife, he wished her “Happy New Year” in English. From the other side of the world, she said she missed him as much as she did the day he left for America five years ago.

After blowing kisses into the receiver, Mr. Zhang turned back to the images of past new year festivities in China that he was watching on a DVD player in his tiny rented room in Flushing, Queens, an hour’s commute from Charlie Mom, the Upper East Side restaurant where he worked as a deliveryman.

The next evening, on the second day of the Lunar New Year, Ms. Xia awaited her husband’s call. It never came. Not until the following day did relatives tell her that her husband had been stabbed to death on a Flushing street corner in the early hours of Feb. 18 while returning home from dinner. He had been left to die on a blanket of snow.



Jun Zuniga said...

You're right about "why we can't take a joke"...this is why we fight. Solidarity.

Jun Zuniga said...

AA Community Rallies Around 17-Year-Old Teen Beaten on New York MTA Bus

By Caroline Aoyagi-Stom, Executive Editor
Published April 6, 2007

Members of the New York Asian American community are rallying behind a Filipino American teen who was attacked by a group of youths for looking "Chinese" while riding an MTA bus on her way home from school, all while the bus driver allegedly stood by doing nothing.

Local AA groups are demanding that the New York Police Department look into the beating of Marie Stefanie Martinez, 17, on March 16 as a possible hate crime and are seeking accountability from the MTA, especially since the victim claims the driver did not come to her aid.

"Ms. Martinez could be your mother, your daughter, your sister, your cousin. If Asians or Asian Americans are being assaulted on the basis of someone's perception that we 'look Chinese' then racism and hatred isn't making the distinction between whether or not someone is Filipino American, Hmong American, Chinese American, Vietnamese American," said Jun Zuniga, a Filipino American, who has started an online petition condemning the recent assault on Martinez.

"Our political leaders need to be held accountable when hate crimes against our community occur. We have to help steer public policy."

On March 20 two teens - a 14-year-old girl and a 17-year-old boy - were arrested for the beating of Martinez by the NYPD's hate crime task force and taken into custody. The girl is currently being detained in juvenile detention while the investigation continues. The 17-year-old boy allegedly hit Martinez in the face.

Martinez was riding the MTA B82 bus after finishing school and was heading to her Brooklyn home on March 16 when the beating occurred. According to local media reports, Martinez was confronted by a group of about nine to ten hostile teens who taunted her for looking "Chinese" even though she is of Filipino descent.

Suffering cuts and bruises from the assault, Martinez was finally rescued by a good Samaritan. As she got off the bus, Martinez says the driver told her to "go talk to a priest" likely because she was wearing her Catholic school uniform at the time.

Martinez has now filed a civil lawsuit against the MTA seeking monetary damages and changes to the current MTA policies.

Charles Seaton, a spokesperson for the MTA, said he could not comment on any pending lawsuits but said the incident is "under investigation."

"Marie is devastated. She is afraid to ride the bus and she wants to go back to the Philippines," said Martinez' attorney Rosemarie Arnold, who noted that volunteers are driving the teen to and from school since she no longer feels safe riding the MTA bus.

Arnold says she has received a letter from the MTA admitting fault in the incident and promising to "investigate the incident." She also noted the police have been "helpful" in investigating the attack on her client.

The beating of Martinez has rallied members of the New York AA community and they are demanding accountability from the MTA and that the NYPD look into the incident as a hate crime.

"We want to let [Marie Martinez] know she's not alone," said Jian Feng Xu, board member of the United Chinese Association of Brooklyn, who noted the group is currently working on a press conference with the student and her attorney. "We want to publicize this to motivate the MTA and the police to do the right thing. We want to let other people out there know that we won't tolerate this."

So far the "Condemn anti-Asian hate crimes and hold MTA accountable!" petition started by Zuniga has already garnered more than 2,400 signatures of support.

"I want to encourage Asian Americans to report when these bias crimes occur so that American society at large starts to realize that Asians or Asian Americans will not sit idly by and tolerate hate crimes committed against us on the basis of our race and or ethnicity," said Zuniga.

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