B’klyn Chamber, decrying hate crimes, holds solidarity rally for Asian community

May 6, 2021 Editorial Staff
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`Stop Asian Hate’ sticker unveiled at Sunset Park restaurant

From brooklyneagle.com

Amid the recent  rise in violence and hate crimes targeting Asians in New York, the Brooklyn Chamber of Commerce, elected officials and business leaders from across the borough on Thursday hosted a solidarity event at Park Asia Restaurant in Sunset Park to support the Asian Pacific American community.

Maggie Gu, owner of Park Asia Restaurant;  State Sen. Andrew Gounardes; Assemblymembers Peter Abbate and Helene Weinstein; Councilmember Robert Cornegy; a representative of Councilmember Justin Brannan and Brooklyn Chamber of Commerce President Randy Peers gathered to forcefully denounce the violence and make it clear that hate has no home in Brooklyn.

The Chamber also unveiled a “Stop Asian Hate” decal sticker, hundreds of which were provided free to local businesses and residents to display unity against the face of hate in the community.

Sunset Park in South Brooklyn is one of the most vibrant Asian Pacific American communities in all of New York City, with nearly 30 percent of the population identifying as Asian. Neighborhood small businesses have been devastated by the pandemic, and Asian restaurants and industry workers were especially hard hit. 

One way that Brooklynites and all New Yorkers can aid their recovery and express solidarity with the Asian Pacific American community is by patronizing these locally owned businesses, according to the Chamber. 

“Enough suffering, enough devastation, enough violence,” said Gu, whose restaurant is one of the borough’s most popular dim sum destinations and prior to the pandemic welcomed hundreds of customers, large banquets, parties, weddings and private functions. “It’s been a disastrous and difficult year, and we must address the rise in anti-Asian hate crimes so that our community can feel safe again.”

“We denounce the unacceptable and horrifying violence toward the Asian Pacific American community,” said Peers, president of the Brooklyn Chamber. “Diversity has long been a source of great pride in Brooklyn and truly one of the borough’s greatest strengths. Turning the corner on the unprecedented health and economic crisis requires all of us to come together as one community in support of building a better future.”

“One of the most significant components of Brooklyn’s growth over the last two decades has been our diversity and the ability of people of all backgrounds to plant roots here,” said Ana Oliveira, senior VP of Investors Bank and board chair of the Chamber. “There is no place for hate. The Asian Pacific American community is such an important part of Brooklyn.”

“The rise in hate crimes and violence against our Asian-American and Pacific Islander community is despicable and disheartening,” said Attorney General Letitia James, in a statement that was read at the gathering. “We are a state built on the values of diversity and acceptance, which is why it is imperative that we continue to embrace all of our communities and support and uplift each other during this challenging time.”

“Asian Pacific Americans are an invaluable part of our community, and in New York, our diversity gives us strength,” said Gounardes. “The astronomical rise in hate crimes and anti-Asian sentiment is appalling, and we must turn the tide of prejudice, support our neighbors and build a better, more inclusive community.”

“We must continue to take immediate action in support of victims of hate,” said  Abbate. “Today we stand in solidarity with the Asian Pacific American community, as we spread love over hate and unity over fear and division.”

“Supporting the Asian Pacific American community amid the frightening rise of hate crimes is of the utmost importance,” said  Weinstein. “We must work together and spare no effort to drive out fear and hate in our communities, and ensure our neighborhoods are safe.”

Cornegy added, “In solidarity with all who have been targeted and victimized by anti-Asian hate, I stand with you. The stunning rise in racist attacks affects all corners of our community, and these disgusting acts must be confronted and permanently rooted out.” 

“This disgusting attempt at dividing our communities will only slow down the recovery that our borough so desperately needs,” said Carlo Scissura, president and CEO of the New York Building Congress. “Now is a time for all of us to stand with our friends and neighbors in the Asian Pacific American community.”

“We want everyone to know that we will not accept intolerance and hate,” said Philip Penta, partner of 3 Guys from Brooklyn, one of Brooklyn’s largest fruit and vegetable retailers.

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