April 6, 2021 By Christina Santucci
More than a dozen Queens political candidates joined mayoral hopeful Andrew Yang and community leaders in Manhattan Monday to speak out against anti-Asian violence.
Following remarks at the Canal Street subway station, the group rode the subway together to Times Square in a show of solidarity.
Yang posted on social media that he was “proud to join with other AAPI local candidates to say that NYC is for everyone and that all should feel safe walking the streets or riding the subways of our great city.”
He was accompanied by District 26 candidates – Badrun Khan, Hailie Kim and Julie Won, who are all seeking Jimmy Van Bramer’s seat – and four candidates for Flushing’s District 20 – Hailing Chen, John Choe, Sandra Ung and Ellen Young. That position is currently held by Councilman Peter Koo.
“NYC is such a beautiful place filled with people from different ethnicities, cultures, and religions. It’s heartbreaking to see the outbreak of violence against the AAPI community. We must stand together and remain vigilant,” Khan said in a statement.
Chen–who works as an Uber driver and is an organizer on behalf of other drivers–said Asian workers face harassment regularly. “This kind of stuff happens every single day,” he said. “Driving in New York City and being an Asian, it leads you to become a target.”
District 23 candidates Shekar Krishnan and Carolyn Tran, who both are running for Councilman Danny Dromm’s seat, were also in attendance, along with Richard Lee, who is seeking to replace Councilman Paul Vallone. Edwin Wong, who is vying for Councilwoman Karen Koslowitz’s seat, was also present.
Jaslin Kaur and Linda Lee, who are running to replace Councilmember Barry Grodenchik in eastern Queens, were also on hand. Grodenchik, who is is eligible to run again, has announced that he is not seeking reelection.
Kim and Choe put out a joint news release about the event.
“In condemning the visible attacks on our communities, we must not forget to hold our government accountable for the invisible attacks on New York’s working families,” Choe said in the statement.
“AAPI unity is important,” Kim said in the statement. “But we must stand in solidarity with AAPI across the economic spectrum by making sure our kids can go to great public schools, by making sure we are not displaced from our neighborhoods, and by allowing us to be safe if we decide to stand up against exploitation by bosses and landlords.”
Both Choe and Kim – as well as Won – said they do not believe additional policing should be used to combat the rise in violence against Asian city residents.
“I’ll say it louder for the people in the back: the safety of our community will not come from more policing,” Won wrote on Twitter. She also posted a photo of herself with fellow Council candidates Kaur and Tran aboard the subway.
Yang in his remarks did say that the police are needed to combat the problem. “The police are an important part of the solution,” he said.
The NYPD was already actively investigating or had solved 12 anti-Asian bias assaults in 2021 as of late March, WABC reported.
Also in attendance was Gigi Li, who Yang has endorsed for a lower Manhattan Council seat. Yang did not make any endorsements of Queens candidates Monday.