More than a hundred protesters gathered at Washington Square Park on Aug. 15, demanding justice for the 90-year-old Chinese woman who was set on fire in Brooklyn last month.

April Xu for Sing Tao Daily

Protesters gathered at Washington Square Park on Aug. 15 to demand justice for the victim in the July incident.

The original story appeared in Sing Tao Daily

Translated and condensed by Rong Xiaoqing from Chinese

More than a hundred protesters gathered at Washington Square Park on Aug. 15, demanding justice for the 90-year-old Chinese woman who was set on fire in Brooklyn last month. Hip-hop singer China Mac, the organizer of the rally, urged law enforcement to investigate the case as a hate crime. He also urged Chinese Americans to fill out the Census questionnaire and to vote in the upcoming election.

As of Friday, the NYPD said the incident—in which two men slapped the woman and lit her shirt on fire, according to news reports—has not yet been classified as a hate crime, but that members of the department’s Hate Crimes Task Force are working with the 62nd Precinct to investigate, a spokeswoman told City Limits. AsAmNews previously reported on that change.

Prior to the Aug. 15 rally, China Mac, whose real name is Raymond Yu, held another protest at the start of the month for the victim in Bensonhurst, where the July 14 incident took place. Protesters marched for two miles to condemn racism and hate crimes, chanting, “when grandma is attacked, we stand up and fight back,” and “no justice, no peace.”

Yu said he was furious at the NYPD’s initial response to the crime, and urged the community to unite in fighting against racism and hate crimes.

“We are treated as foreigners in our own country, and we are discriminated against as a whole group,” said Yu. He plans to organize more protests in New York; similar protests are being planned in Los Angeles and San Francisco on Sept. 5 and 12, respectively.  

Don Lee, the board chair of Homecrest Community Services, where the victim is a member, said the incident was not a robbery, and that a white woman walking nearby the victim at the time was not attacked, so he believes it was a hate crime. 

“But the police and the district attorney’s office haven’t classified the case as a hate crime,” Lee said. “I want you to go online and sign the petition to urge them to do so.”

The petition Lee mentioned demands the NYPD and Brooklyn District Attorney classify and investigate the incident as a hate crime, and for lawmakers to provide sufficient resources and pass legislation to address and protect all communities against hate crimes, including the Asian American community. The petition had more than 37,000 signatures as of Friday.

Franck D. Joseph II, deputy commissioner of the NYC Commission on Human Rights, said human rights protection cannot stop during the pandemic. He said the law prohibits discrimination in employment, housing, and public accommodations based on race, color, religion/creed, age, nationality of origin, alienage or citizenship status, gender, gender identity, sexual orientation, disability, pregnancy, marital status, and partnership status. “If you are attacked or discriminated against, we’ll stand together with you,” he said.

To report an incident of discrimination to the CCHR, call 212-416-0197. Leave a message and someone Chinese-speaking will call back.

With additional reporting by City Limits.

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