Mayor Eric Adams spoke out against anti-Asian hate crimes in Chinatown during a celebration on Tuesday kicking off Lunar New Year and the start of the Year of the Tiger festivities.
“Year of the Tiger, this shows us strength, resilience and endurance as we go through COVID, as we go through crime, as we open up our economy,” Adams told the crowd, gathered at the basketball court. of Sara D. Roosevelt Park Tuesday Morning. “I am recommitted more than ever, to make sure my AAPI community is safe in New York City as we end the violence against this community, we stand united.”
The Lunar New Year is the most important holiday for Asian communities around the world. Asians usually leave work and go home to celebrate and get together with family. The festivities can last two weeks. For Asian New Yorkers, the start of a new year brings hope not only for the city’s recovery from the coronavirus – which suspended festivities last year – but also for a wave of anti-Asian violence. .
Hate crimes against Asian New Yorkers increased last year, according to NYPD data. There were 131 reports of anti-Asian hate crimes, up from 28 the previous year. The two years also saw more reports of attacks on New York Jews, though advocates say hate crimes of all kinds are often underreported.
For the viewer Benjamin Wei, the founder of Asians fight against injustice, hate crimes were also a top concern. He mentioned the the recent murder of Yao Pan Ma, 61, who was repeatedly kicked in the head, and Michelle Go’s subway push, although it was not classified as a hate crime.
Wei said the Lunar New Year, which started under clear blue skies, is a chance for a fresh start. With all the recent tragedies, he said the community needs it more than ever.
“We wash our sheets, we clean our apartments, we get our hair cut, and we hope that this coming year, the year of the Tiger, will be a positive year, full of hope and optimism, a year that us, because a community can heal and move forward,” he said.[Our city] must be safer, not just for Asian Americans, but for everyone.
Hundreds of masked spectators lined the area on Tuesday, straining to catch a glimpse of the performers and the mayor.
At one point, lion dancers moved past Adams, who held out a hanging cabbage stick, a symbol of good fortune. Those in the crowd make their way forward to touch the lions’ heads, also considered a gesture that would bring good luck.
The piece de resistance was the traditional lighting of firecrackers, intended to scare away evil spirits and mark the excitement of a new year.
Correction: A previous version of this story misrepresented last year’s Lunar New Year festivities.