Categories
Bushwig

Protected: Bushwig 10 – Day 1 (LOCKED)

This content is password protected. To view it please enter your password below:

Categories
Latest Nightlife

Detox and Love Will Save the Day

Love Will Save the Day (LWSD)

09-08-21

LWSD is a New York Fashion Week party produced by Deryck Todd and Evan Kline in association with LDV Hospitality was “a love letter to the rebirth of New York, written on the dance floor.”

Co-hosted by ladygunn magazine, the event took place at The Seville. Timo Weiland and Malik Lindo DJayed the night away, while drag superstar Detox performed for the fashionable crowd.

Other notable guests included Margie Plus, Quenlin Blackwell, CT Hedden, Barton Cowperthwaite, Phil Gomez, Ethan D’Spain, Ryan Clark, Alexander Hankin, Jeff Perla, Ryan Thomas Roth, and more.


For images without watermarks or to request to see the full album of the event e-mail

hi@sidewalkkilla.com


If you enjoy our work, plese consider donating.

Venmo: @sidewalkkilla

PayPal: sidewalkkilla.official@gmail.com

Alexey Kim

Founder

Categories
Latest Nightlife

Chiquitita’s “Chromatica”

Chiquitita's

CHROMATICA

08-28-21

Brooklyn-based performer Chiquitita hosts six sold-out shows that pay an homage to the queerly beloved Lady Gaga album Chromatica, with back to back performances by NYC's best: Tina Twirler, MTHR TRSA, Fabiana, Beaujangless, Magenta, Laurel Charleston, Macy Rodman and Chiquitita herself.


For images without watermarks or to request to see the full album of the event e-mail

hi@sidewalkkilla.com


If you enjoy our work, plese consider donating.

Venmo: @sidewalkkilla

PayPal: sidewalkkilla.official@gmail.com

Alexey Kim

Founder

Categories
Latest Nightlife

Violet Chachki “A Lot More Me”

Violet Chachki

A LOT MORE ME

08-22-21

Violet Chachki performs her first US solo show A Lot More Me at Webster Hall.

Aquaria and Ty Sunderland DJed at the afterparty.


Please e-mail hi@sidewalkkilla.com for the use of images without watermarks.

Donations/tips are greatly appreciated.

Venmo: @sidewalkkilla

PayPal: sidewalkkilla.official@gmail.com

Alexey Kim

Founder

Categories
Latest Nightlife

Matvey Cherry is a Lovely Dark Thing

Matvey Cherry's

LOVELY DARK THINGS

08-15-21

Last Sunday, one of the most enigmatic figures in New York City's nightlife, Matvey Cherry, brought out an intimate soiree of the city's movers and shaker for his second installment of Lovely Dark Things at the Triad Theater.

When asked who Matvey Cherry is, he responds:

“A star of our time.”

Matvey’s musical journey is described as multi sensorial experience, because “it's the fucking 21st century. You have to do everything or nothing at all.

He created Lovely Dark Things when he got tired of performing at 3 Dollar Bill and decided to take full control of his own creative expression and his art:

“So I started my own show, where I was able to invite any artists I want: drag, burlesque, contemporary dancers, etc., to create a truly unique Bohemian experience at a legendary theater, the theater where Lady Gaga started her career, by the way.”

Matvey concludes:

“Follow me and find out what I’m cooking up for the future. I'm always working on something.”


Please e-mail hi@sidewalkkilla.com for the use of images without watermarks.

Donations/tips are greatly appreciated.

Venmo: @sidewalkkilla

PayPal: sidewalkkilla.official@gmail.com

Alexey Kim

Founder

Categories
Latest Nightlife Unsorted

Femme Fatale

FEMME FATALE

(NSFW)

08-14-21

Sisters Charlotte and Emily Chauvin (@jointhefuturenow) started working at music festivals from a very young age. Charlotte says:

“There, we met such diverse people, from performers, to old hippies, to musicians, spiritualists, tent riggers, painters, designers and more! We were so inspired by the community to use art to encourage more connections. One notable jumpstart was meeting The Poetry Brothel at Electric Forest festival, and then performing with them at House of Yes!”

The twin sisters see @jointhefuturenow as a collective of friends. Together, they have a mission to make more spaces for artists to realize their vision and connect. When they start planning a party, for example, they ask their friends,

“What do YOU want to do, what do YOU want to see? What can we make happen?”

Femme Fatale was their way of getting all of the badass babes in their lives together for a night. Charlotte explains:

“So many of these beautiful people I've seen wield knives, draw (fake) blood, and literally scare the shit out of me (and turn me on) while onstage. I wanted to bring all those acts (and friends!) together because damn that's hot.”

The event was produced in collaboration with Alana Miller AKA Glitter Milk who Charlotte met at a lavish banquet table at Suwannee Hulaween festival:

“She fed me crickets then flogged me over a Victorian couch. So, producing these kinds of parties together is a continuation of making these sexy, silly, and absurdly creative experiences we both love.”

What's in store for the future?

“More parties,” Charlotte shares, “Our next is October 22nd at Rubulad in Brooklyn, Night of a Thousand Clowns! An all-clown extravaganza, where we take all the best parts of Femme Fatale (Burlesque! Sideshow! Clown! Mysticism! Music! Poetry! Immersive mysteries!) And bring it to level: CLOWN!”


Please e-mail hi@sidewalkkilla.com for the use of images without watermarks.

Donations/tips are greatly appreciated.

Venmo: @sidewalkkilla

PayPal: sidewalkkilla.official@gmail.com

Alexey Kim

Founder

Categories
Latest Nightlife

The List Is Closed

Terence Edgerson's

The List Is Closed

07-30-21

Moments from The List Is Closed party at Le Bain, by Terence Edgerson.


Please e-mail hi@sidewalkkilla.com for the use of images without watermarks.

Donations/tips are greatly appreciated.

Venmo: @sidewalkkilla

PayPal: sidewalkkilla.official@gmail.com

Alexey Kim

Founder

Categories
Unsorted

strut 2021

Strut

2021

DAY 2

Please credit @sidewalkkilla and @derycktodd #strut #strutnyc when posting

Categories
Editorial Latest The Mixer

Myanmar: All Quiet on The Western Front

EDITORIAL | THE MIXER

ALL QUIET ON THE WESTERN FRONT:

Examining Western media's surprising lack in coverage of the fight for democracy in Myanmar.

By Emi Grate

sidewalkkilla

Mar 24, 2021 (Wed) – this day marks 52 days since the Myanmar military, the Tatmadaw, seized power from the semi-civilian, semi-democratic government in a violent coup d’état. The Tatmadaw claimed that the National League for Democracy (NLD), which won the election with over 82% of the votes, had committed voter fraud. They raided the homes of elected officials before dawn on the day they were supposed to start a new term in Parliament (Feb 1, 2021) in the capital Naypyidaw, and declared a one-year state of emergency. An 8pm to 4am curfew was later implemented in major cities, large gatherings were outlawed, and there have been nationwide internet outages between 1am and 9am for the past 37 nights, while some parts of the country are now under martial law. Since the coup, citizens have poured into the streets in millions in fervent protest for the release of their elected leaders and against the military coup. The Tatmadaw have cracked down on the protests in violent fashion which escalated from the use of water canons, tear gas and rubber bullets, to machine gun fire, arson and destruction of civilian property. Night raids and arrests without warrants have continued in addition to the daytime crackdowns, resulting in the deaths of over 300 civilians – the youngest being 7, and the eldest, 70. Thousands have been displaced due to different forms of persecution, and thousands more remain missing due to arrests and kidnappings – including the elected president, Win Myint, and the leader of the NLD party and state counselor, Aung San Suu Kyi.

Despite brutality from police and soldiers, the people continue to voice their dissent in different and creative ways – by banging pots and pans at 8pm every night for 15 minutes, by forming a temporary government known as the Committee Representing Pyidaungsu Hluttaw (CRPH), by refusing to go to work in the case of government employees in what is called the Civil Disobedience Movement (CDM), by building barricades in their neighbourhoods and assigning night guards, by starting mutual aid funds for community welfare programmes, and by creating peopleless protests using traditional toys and other inanimate objects. In a stunning turn of events, after 51 days of relentless protests and 51 nights of civil unrest, the country went silent for the first time. And this was accomplished by design: people needed to recharge; state media has been insisting on TV that all is fine; and the crisis within the country goes largely unnoticed by the world due to a lack of in-depth coverage by international media. The people wanted to symbolically express how they are oppressed and silenced, and also highlight the silence and inaction from Western world powers – since they are very often the most vocal when it comes to human rights and democracy. On closer examination of the interests and motivations of media, political powers and businesses from the West and the international community at large, I have found clear reasons why these entities would choose to silently and cautiously observe what the Myanmar people are calling the “Spring Revolution”, instead of actively choosing a side in the struggle or intervening in any capacity. I would like to explore these reasons below from the standpoints of geopolitics, economics and human rights.

People from San Chaung spell out “Spring Revolution” with lit candles, remembering those who passed away and the detained Aung San Suu Kyi on March 2, 2021.

Disclaimers:

—I will be using “Myanmar” to describe the country and everyone in it as a collective, and “Burmese” to describe the language or the majority ethnic population native to the flatlands of the country – although “Myanmar” and “Burma” are interchangeable linguistically and historically, and the latter is anglicized.

—A lot has happened within Myanmar over the past 70 years and over the past 50 days. My summarization of 20th and 21st Century Myanmar history and the recent happenings may seem oversimplified or reductive, but I have made an earnest effort to include all information that is relevant to the current situation in the country.


GEOPOLITICS

This coup and subsequent uprising are not the first. The military regime first came into power in 1962 under General Ne Win. There have been multiple changes in military leadership over the decades and different uprisings opposing various leaders and policies. Every uprising brings hope of change, freedom and progress as well as vicious crackdowns. The 8-8-88 Uprising brought about the 1990 General Election, the results of which were annulled, followed by new military leadership. The Saffron Revolution (2007) brought about the 2008 Constitution, and then came the experiment with a semi-civilian, semi-democratic government for two election terms from 2010 to 2020, which leads us to the present day.

Myanmar had stayed impartial throughout the Cold War despite its adoption of Socialism, under Ne Win, thanks to his policies of isolationism and rejection of Cold War politics, among other things. However, as leadership changed in the Tatmadaw, Myanmar opened its borders to trade with China and started receiving substantial military aid. This was right after the violent suppression of the 88 Uprising, which also coincided with the 1989 Tiananmen Square Protests. The two neighbours found camaraderie in the quelling of political dissent and in being shunned by the international community as a consequence. This camaraderie has remained intact over the past 33 years: China remains the biggest trading partner and economic investor in Myanmar. For the Chinese government, the Myanmar military junta is a political and economic entity that unequivocally supports them, and one they can support and trade with conveniently. With similar pro-democracy movements at their doorstep, in Hong Kong and Taiwan, Chinese leadership maintains support for the Myanmar military and its leaders. On Feb 3, China vetoed the UN condemnation of the Myanmar coup at the Security Council. Again on Mar 9, the UN Security Council failed to release a statement condemning the coup, due to opposition from China, Russia, Vietnam and India. So far, the UN has only released statements regarding use of deadly force from the Tatmadaw but no official condemnation of the coup. After some China-financed factories burned down in the crackdown of a protest in an industrial zone outside Yangon on Mar 14, the Chinese Embassy called for the persecution of those responsible without mention of the death of 18 unarmed protestors at the scene.

The situation is similar for the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN). The military junta is all the ASEAN member nations have ever known. Myanmar military rule actually predates the founding of ASEAN in 1967, and Myanmar did not become a member till 1997 under Than Shwe, the country’s third military leader. Over the second half of the 20th Century, Myanmar has become a source of cheap labour due to ethnic minorities fleeing persecution by the Tatmadaw into neighbouring countries. ASEAN has a non-interference policy for internal affairs of member nations, has always worked with different military leaders after coups happen in the region, and are willing to resume such a relationship with Myanmar. In mid-February, Indonesia proposed a plan to hold Myanmar military leaders to their pledge of holding a new general election within one year of the coup – which the Myanmar citizens contested – and Indonesian foreign minister Retno Marsudi proceeded to meet with military-appointed Myanmar foreign minister Wunna Maung Lwin on Feb 24 in Bangkok, Thailand. On the very same day, Malaysia deported 1.086 Myanmar immigrants on three Myanmar Navy ships, despite a court order from the Kuala Lumpur High Court and pleas from human rights organizations to halt the deportation. The focus of ASEAN has always been maintaining diplomatic relations among its member nations – since the region has experienced instability over the past several centuries due to internal conflicts and Western Colonialism. And ASEAN, by constitution, is an economic union and not necessarily a champion for human rights.

In the West, the UN is very limited in its powers and capabilities, despite its well-meaning principles, due to veto powers from member nations like China and Russia. (Myanmar has military ties with Russia and North Korea as well.) The Myanmar people have been asking for UN Peacekeeping Troops to be deployed since crackdowns against the protests started, as they have seen in the past how these tend to escalate. The UN remains unable to reach a consensus in condemning the coup thus far. As for the US, the situation in Myanmar seems to present the Biden Administration an opportunity to flex its foreign policy prowess and get on the all-American pro-democracy soapbox. However, the US is in the midst of dealing with the disastrous legacy of the Trump Administration: Trump had actively antagonized China since before taking office; there had been threats of war with Iran and North Korea, as recently as 2020; the Coronavirus Pandemic had been severely exacerbated due to longstanding issues in public health and healthcare; the second Trump impeachment just wrapped; and the Capitol itself had been under seige in early January. In addition, the Biden Administration has already failed and/or faced delays in fulfilling campaign promises of $2,000 stimulus checks, no deportation of immigrants within 100 days of taking office, and the $15 minimum wage. Disapproval and condemnation from Washington of the Tatmadaw and their coup could easily be read as a challenge to and undermining of a sovereign foreign power, albeit an illegitimate one. And sending any US troops into Myanmar would add one more to the long list of wars the US has engaged in and could result in China facing a situation akin to the Cuban Missile Crisis. This would be a threat to world peace at large.

The EU seems to be pretty much in agreement with the US in its approach to the situation in Myanmar. Both entities have released statements condemning the coup and its use of violence against peaceful protestors, and have implemented sanctions targeting military leadership and affiliated entities.

In essence, the East has made up its mind that they are willing to work with the Myanmar military junta again, and they have been vocal about it, even if not explicitly so. The West, however, has yet to decide what their relationship with Myanmar is, especially since China has overwhelming influence not just over Myanmar but also in international politics. To navigate this precarious situation, the CRPH appointed Dr Sasa, an ethnic Chin medical doctor turned politician and philanthropist, as the special envoy to the UN. He has been meeting with local ethnic leaders making sure the country is united under a pro-democracy banner, and meeting with international leaders making a case that a democratic Myanmar will be an asset and ally to the international community – so that the Myanmar people can ask for more drastic intervention measures.

Protester gives three-finger salute to the police at the “22222 Revolution” protest by the Embassy of China in Yangon. February 22, 2021

ECONOMICS

Right after the coup happened, on Feb 2, the Myanmar people came up with the Civil Disobedience Movement (CDM) as a means to protest in a safe manner during an ongoing global pandemic, and as a way to completely stop the Tatmadaw’s State Administrative Council (SAC) from functioning. It is basically a labour strike where government employees don’t go to work, as a refusal to work under a military government, with the chant, “ရုံးမတက်နဲ့၊ ရုန်းထွက်။” – which means, “Don’t go to the office! Break free!” Myanmar is a very poor country where most wage workers make less than US $2 per day and a majority of government employees make less than US$250 per month – a situation that has been worsened by the Coronavirus Pandemic. People took a great economic risk by choosing to abandon whatever means of income they have to protest the coup.

On Feb 23, Mary Callahan, an associate professor of international studies at the University of Washington who has done research on Myanmar, wrote a series of tweets from her now deactivated Twitter account criticizing the CDM. She called the movement “inhumane” for stopping means of income for the majority of the country’s population and implied people will resort to savagery if they don’t get paid by the end of the month. (I called her a Karen in a response, which may or may not have played a role in the disappearance of her Twitter account.) Yet here we are after almost two months of non-stop protests, and the people are still going strong. The Internet is out for 8 hours every day, most bank services aren’t functional, a large portion of government employees from different sectors are out of office, and somehow the people are still well-fed and housed – with the exception of those who have been ousted from their living quarters by armed forces, of course. They continue to march in the streets in the name of democracy and in opposition to the military junta. Since the beginning of the protests, those with financial means have been distributing water and meals for protestors. As the crackdowns turned violent, people have pooled together resources to make protective gear for those marching on the frontlines, to create make-shift defenses for their own neighbourhoods and to cover medical bills. As people are forced out of their homes and families lose their breadwinners to arrests, kidnappings and killings, carts and tables full of produce and groceries have popped up across the country bearing the banner “လိုတာယူ၊ ပိုတာလှူ” – meaning “Take what you need! Donate the excess!

Personally, I find none of this surprising: I’ve always known my people to be kind, generous, resourceful and resilient. Even after living under an oppressive totalitarian dictatorship over the past half century, they still refuse to give in to despair and are committed to taking care of each other. This form of community welfare, however, does not bode well for any capitalists who are looking to invest in Myanmar for cheap labour. The “life, liberty and pursuit of happiness” that is synonymous with Western (American) Democracy is accompanied by the unwritten clause that you have to earn your keep, by working 40 hours a week, if not more. The fact that working class people, who are very poor already to begin with, have been able to not only sustain each other without paid work for almost 2 months, but fight ardently for a social and political cause they believe in, while not plunging the entire country into utter chaos, is an inspiration to the proletariat everywhere and a direct threat to the capitalist institution.

Myanmar is a major supplier for fast fashion brands like H&M, Zara and Primark, with its US$4.59 billion garment industry constituting over 30% of the country’s exports. Garment workers have joined the protests since early February, and their union, Federation of Garment Workers Myanmar, has taken steps to ensure the workers can participate in the protests and can return to work without negative consequences. However, those represented by the union remain a minority. On Feb 18, GY Sen, a Primark supplier in Yangon, held up to 1000 of its employees against their will in a factory for several hours, to stop them from participating in protests. Currently, there is an ongoing campaign for Adidas, which runs 6 factories in Myanmar, and Beyoncé, an Adidas partner, to publicly support their almost 20,000 employees and the people of Myanmar.

At this point, Western investors are in a tough position. If they vocally support the Myanmar people and their movement – and should they prevail in this fight for democracy – there is possibility of stronger labour laws and stricter regulations on foreign investors, which will interfere with their ability to outsource cheap labour. They also invite open hostility toward their properties from the armed forces, which would worsen if the Tatmadaw manages to assert dominance over the people. Much like the political powers from whence they came, most of the foreign businesses in Myanmar remain silent regarding the Spring Revolution. As for Eastern investors, just like those from ASEAN members and China, they are biding their time to work with military leaders again, but China-owned businesses don’t necessarily have a bright future in a democratic Myanmar, as people have started boycotting them, as well as products made in China.

Pro-democracy fighter who lost his life from gunshot to the head during Hlaing Tharyar protest is surrounded by mourning family. March 14, 2021.

HUMAN RIGHTS

Myanmar is notorious for its human rights violations. Even under a semi-civilian, semi-democratic government, the Tatmadaw managed to carry out the Rohingya Genocide in 2017. With military officers in charge again, persecutions of ethnic minorities are back in full swing, in addition to the well-documented use of excessive force on protestors, medics, and civilians who are not involved in the upsiring. Nevertheless, without action taken by governments or businesses, any documentation of crimes against humanity won’t even go into history books but will devolve into hushed whispers warning the next generation of what despots are capable of. Nowadays, many governments and businesses will not openly criticize the human rights abuses in foreign nations because they are responsible for similar abuses themselves. Over the past few years, criticisms of human rights violations from one country by another have been rendered essentially ineffective due to the adoption of “whataboutism” in international relations. This tu quoque logical fallacy has been expertly deployed by Russia specifically to deflect any inquiries on its human rights issues by the media, by bringing up unresolved issues in the US and EU – a technique Trump quickly adopted to avoid accountability for actions taken by his administration. And it seems no government or business has the moral authority to chastise the Tatmadaw for its offences.

During summer 2020 in the US, the Black Lives Matter movement gained momentum and people took to the streets after the deaths of George Floyd and Breonna Taylor among many others at the hands of law enforcement. Police exercised extreme brutality toward those who were protesting police brutality, and politicians overwhelmingly backed the police and ignored the demands of the people. Airstrikes in the Middle East have continued from the Obama Administration, through the Trump Administration, to the Biden Administration. And the list goes on for human rights offences the US has committed within its borders and throughout the world. In the East, China continues to put their Uyghur population in internment camps, maintains its domination of Tibet, violently suppresses the uprising in Hong Kong, and regularly threatens to invade democratic Taiwan. In India, the Modi Administration is running a fascist regime that has been redefining citizenship laws to exclude and persecute Muslims. In 2020, Thailand concluded a five-year military rule with the military head, Prayut Chan-o-cha, leaving the military only to become the civilian Prime Minister – the same exact move pulled in Myanmar just a decade earlier by Thein Sein, who went from being an army general to a uniformed Prime Minister, then civilian President. The Thai people’s demands were rejected, and the military and royals have only grown more powerful since. In the Philippines, the Duterte Administration has been carrying out extrajudicial killings in an aggressive war on drugs. Myanmar, over the course of its post-colonial history, has had similar issues to all these aforementioned countries. But none of their governing bodies will hold or are in a position to hold the Myanmar Tatmadaw accountable for the crimes they are guilty of as well.

Although the Myanmar people are unable to rely on governing entities in the international community, they have found friends in similar movements. Myanmar has become the newest member of the Milk Tea Alliance, which consists of Asian netizens in different parts of the world engaged in different pro-democracy/liberation movements for their own people and/or opposing Chinese imperialism. Milk tea has become their symbol, since most tea in South and Southeast Asia contains milk but traditional Chinese tea doesn’t. #MilkTeaAlliance has been widely used on social media by netizens with origins in Hong Kong, Taiwan, Thailand, India and Myanmar. Many of the measures to counter brutal crackdowns by armed forces actually come from fellow Alliance members. The pro-democracy movement in Myanmar has also adopted the three-finger salute from the “Hunger Games” franchise – a phenomenon started by protestors in Thailand in 2014 when their military coup happened. It was first used by medical workers, spread very quickly among Myanmar citizens, and has now been seen at the UN.

The positive, I should state, is that despite the reluctance from the international community, including our nextdoor neighbours, the Myanmar people are now willing and ready to resolve issues that have long existed in the country. Since the time of the kings, the Burmese population of the flatlands have exerted dominance over ethnic minorities of the highlands, of which there are over 130 different tribes. We gained Independence from the British thanks to the Panglong Agreement signed by ethnic leaders along with the Burmese. This agreement stipulates that these ethnic groups would have self-determination and self-governance under a federal government after gaining Independence – a promise gone unfulfilled since 1948. On Mar 17, the CRPH released a draft of the new constitution for a federal democracy, which fulfils this promise. The CRPH, thanks to the efforts of Dr Sasa, has been able to galvanize ethnic armed organizations (EAOs), which had been fighting the Tatmadaw since the late 1940s, with the promise of forming an ethnic Federal Army. Buddhist dogma had been the prevailing ideology in the country’s spirituality since its early recorded history in the 11th Century. Amid the protests, due to lives and livelihoods lost as a result of brutal crackdowns, leaders from different religious groups have come together to hold interfaith vigils and prayer circles. When the boycott of China-owned businesses and made-in-China products started, the people were quick to clarify that they are against the CCP and not Chinese immigrants in Myanmar. (For a third-generation Chinese immigrant in Myanmar who has had to hide their Chinese ancestry growing up due to xenophobia, this brings me a lot of joy.) During protests, many have been seen carrying signs apologizing to the Rohingyas for the 2017 genocide. The CRPH has also put forth a plan to take the current military leader, Min Aung Hlaing, to the International Criminal Court for the crimes committed by the Tatmadaw.

Myanmar's LGBTQIA+ community protests on February 19, 2021.

CONCLUSION

As things stand, the Myanmar people are on their own. The East has its allegiance pledged to the military leaders, who are easy to please and easy to deal with, unlike a yet-to-form truly democratic populace. The West has yet to make up its mind, and the Myanmar people are quickly learning that foreign powers that so often profess values of democracy and human rights can be hypocrites acting out of self interest. Still there is no choice but to keep reaching out to the international community, out of principle, that perhaps someone would care and take the initiative to intervene in the interest of the Myanmar people. There is, of course, great comfort and encouragement in being part of the Milk Tea Alliance and knowing they are not alone; any victory won by the people in any of the Alliance nations can lead to victories for others.

Given the damage done to them by the Tatmadaw since the first coup in 1962 – including the lives and livelihoods lost during the recent protests – the Myanmar people are coping surprisingly well. Since day one of the coup, the people have come up with strategies and tactics to counter whatever action the new regime might take to keep them oppressed and obedient. Some plans, like the new constitution, had been in the works since before the coup – since the 2008 Constitution was designed to legitimize any potential military coups. In fact, it was the people who made the first offensive move against the new regime by initiating CDM. After almost 2 months, military leadership is still unable to fill administrative positions at the local level due to people’s refusal to cooperate. Naypyidaw is just a bunch of generals calling themselves kings with no peasants to pay tribute to them. They can keep sending soldiers and police officers to shoot citizens and loot their homes and businesses, but that can only last for so long until their subordinates defect or turn against them. The fact that the violence keeps escalating means the generals are desperate, and we have already started seeing defectors.

Currently, it may seem that the Tatmadaw and the Myanmar people are evenly matched in this struggle for control over the country. However, the people clearly outnumber the soldiers and police, and they can’t kill or put everyone in jail – unless Min Aung Hlaing is really committed to becoming the king of ashes. The people don’t have guns or ammunition, but they have control over all the resources in the country, and the means to transport or freeze them. And they have the most important and necessary resource of all: each other. The people of Myanmar are more united now than ever, like never before in history. They had, in the past, come together under leaders they trust, with Aung San Suu Kyi being the most recent example – and her father, the pro-Independence leader Aung San, had been one before her. Over the course of these recent protests, the pro-democracy icon has not even been in the picture at all, and yet the people continue to fight for their own future and for each other. This is a movement with no designated leader, which makes it much harder for the Tatmadaw to stop. The Myanmar people had experienced some freedom and progress over the past 10 years under a semi-civilian government. They want more, they don’t ever want to go back, and they are determined to depose anyone who stands in their way.

Perhaps, a lack of interest for the Myanmar people or inaction regarding their plight from the international community may not be an entirely bad thing. With the ongoing brutality from soldiers and police, many more will fall unfortunately – and I will personally say the international community is complicit in these tragedies, since their inaction is a calculated choice. However, given all that the people have accomplished over the past several weeks, I have absolute faith that they can rebuild whatever has been lost, heal their collective traumas, and come back even stronger. Myanmar may even turn out to be the Milk Tea Alliance member that accomplishes its goals before other members do. As a clear winner emerges toward the end of this struggle, the international community may finally take a side in the interest of their future business prospects in Myanmar, and may even take credit for the people’s victory. In that case, I insist we celebrate it explicitly as the people’s victory: it will be hard earned and deeply appreciated, and the rewards of a new federal democratic union should be their own.

ADDENDUM: Since the writing of this essay, the Tatmadaw has escalated its rule of terror. The youngest recorded casualty is age 5. There have been airstrikes on villages in Karen State. On Mar 27 – once called Revolution Day that commemorates the fight against Japanese fascist forces and now rebranded by the Tatmadaw as Armed Forces Day – 114 lives were lost, including a 40-year-old father of four in Mandalay who was burned alive. The CDM has been nominated for a Nobel Peace Prize, and the death toll stands at 573 as of Apr 1.

Emi Grate

Drag Artist

THE MIXER

Categories
Events Latest

Stop Asian Hate

EVENTS | PROTESTS

Stop Asian Hate

People of New York take to the streets to protest the anti-Asian hate crimes.

sidewalkkilla

On March 16, 2021, a 21-year-old white psychopath went into three different spas in the Atlanta area and murdered eight people with a gun. Six of them were Asian women. Hate crimes against Asian Americans are not new by any means, but anti-Asian sentiment rose precipitously after ex-president Donald Trump used a racially charged hashtag (#chinesevirus) and continued using anti-Asian rhetoric throughout the pandemic. Just a month after being acquitted in his second impeachment for inciting the Capitol Hill riot, his nation-dividing orange spirit lives on.  

On March 21, New Yorkers took to the streets demanding that anti-Asian hate crimes be stopped and that the Atlanta shootings be officially recognized as hate crimes. What further fueled the protesters’ anger was sheriff spokesperson Jay Baker’s statement that the shootings were based on the shooter’s supposed sex addiction (AKA fetish) and that the shooter was having a “bad day.”

A crowd of speakers and protesters assembled at Union Square, later moving on to Columbus Park in the heart of Chinatown. See what the protesters and the first Asian-American NYC mayor hopeful Andrew Yang had to say below. 

Spica Wobbe & Uncle John

Spica Wobbe: This is something everybody should participate in. The violence, the hatred, and racism have been around in this country for too long. What happened in Georgia is just the tip of the iceberg. I think everybody should show their concern and should try to end it together as a community, as a society. This is too much, we cannot take this anymore. 

John Wobbe (Spica's husband): We personally know people who have been attacked. A couple of months ago there was a woman whose face got punched in, she had to go through reconstructive surgery. 

Spica Wobbe: There is no reason for people to do that. I think that all of the hatred is coming from the wrong propaganda, the ideas. I think that we should change it by doing this [protesting] and education as well. We should teach our children and even adults that hate doesn’t make us grow, hate will only destroy us. We should change our attitude, have an open mind, and have our community as one, not separately. That’s the only way we can survive. 

Xuelin Zhong

I’m from China and I’ve been doing PHD research here for the past six years. Even before I came here I saw on the Chinese news about hate crimes and the suppression of Black people in the US. In the few years that I’ve lived here I’ve seen so much more hate crimes on the local and national news. Now it’s getting wilder and wilder and I think it’s time to stand together and try to make some change.

Michele Wong McSween & Family

Michele: I’m here because I have to stand up to this ongoing racism. I brought my family and I wanted to show them that we need to stand with other Asian Americans to fight for our rights and to show them that we have to band together to stop the community and nation from marginalizing us, taking advantage of us, from casting us aside and using us for whatever role they need us to be, whether we are the “model minority” or whether we are not a minority, because we didn't need help because “all Asians are successful.” No, we cannot be whatever anybody wants us to be and I’m tired of it and I want my kids to see that there are all these people that feel the same way as us. We should not be feeling the same way anymore. I want them to be proud of their culture and I want them to see that everyone here is standing together and we are all unified in showing our pride and how we can come together to hopefully make a change. It's long overdue. 

Stevie, Michele, Walker, Harry and Steve

SWK: Can you explain what the term “model minority” means and why it can be so toxic?

Michele: It’s just unfairly placed on us, where we are seen as high achieving, highly educated, we are respectful, we are polite, we do the right thing. There are so many Asians that don’t have the same resources. I think there’s 40% of Asians [25% is the actual number] living in poverty in New York City. What kind of model minority is that? They are suffering, they are struggling but yet nobody knows about them. They only know about Crazy Rich Asians, or other movies that portray Asians in a certain light. Granted there are some that are like that. I'm a fourth-generation Chinese-American, I was always taught “Just work hard, just do the right thing, don’t make a fuss, don’t rock the boat, keep your head down, just work hard, don’t draw attention to yourself.” Well I am tired of that and I don’t want my kids to feel that way, I want them to feel empowered to speak up. I want them to feel like they have every right to achieve whatever they want and no one can tell them otherwise. And I’m also very sick of not seeing Asians of being pushed in the heads of businesses and organizations. Our representation is abysmal. 

SWK (to Michele's eldest son Walker): What is your opinion on what is currently happeningas someone from a young generation?

Walker: I’m thinking about mine and my brothers’ futures. I'm coming out here to support and create a more welcoming community for the youngsters. 

Vivian Sun (middle)

We just want to show support to our community and the Black community. This is a solidarity protest. I think it’s very meaningful that there is a dialogue and there is a conversation. It’s not a surprise that there has been some kind of bias and prejudice within our own community. There has always been a struggle to reconcile our differences. With Trump, he made everything so much worse, he almost pitted everyone against each other. I think there is a huge misunderstanding.

Every time we walk around we don’t feel that safe anymore, because people now feel okay to come up to us and tell us out loud, “Go back to China.” This is something that makes us very uncomfortable. We have been living here a long long time, we all are citizens. We don’t want people to judge us by our face. Racism has always been there and it’s getting so much worse, it’s so sad. There has been so much pain for Black people too since last year, since forever. It’s a huge problem and I think at least we should be united against white supremacy and against racism. 

Tommy Chung

What brings me here today is all the Asian hate crimes happening all over the country. I feel like we need to take a stand and we need to have our voices heard. We've been invisible for too long and that’s why I’m here with this movement [Stop Asian Hate] and in solidarity with the Black Lives movement. I see a lot of companies taking a lot of performative posts and it’s annoying on our end because we don’t see any change within your company but we see you posting all these Black and Asian Lives Matter posts. And it’s annoying. I'm fed up with it and I really wanna take a stand to that. I want people not only to just post but also decide to take action with their posts. 

Ran Bai

I just immigrated here two years ago. I really love America and its culture. I'm also one of the LGBT groups. I love this environment but honestly I really don’t buy this slogan, it just says “Stop Asian Hate.” I think it’s so weak, it’s like when someone bullies you and you just passively say “Stop.” I don’t really buy it. I really love the Black Lives Matter slogan – it gives people emotion to connect to. 

Last month it was a spring festival that’s really important for us Chinese. We were all supposed to sit down and have dinner but my roommate’s mom disappeared for the whole day. We were so worried about her, we weren’t just worried about where she went, we worried about her life. That’s our Asian mom, we all call her mom. It’s not about hate, because I can hate you, you can hate me, but we don’t do the crime. But now it’s not just about the hate, it’s about the hate crime. You can hate me, you can disagree with me, but you don’t slash me, you don’t bully me.

Every time I go out, I pass by the subway station, I get really scared. Now I have to dress myself like a punk or a jerk so that nobody thinks “she’s weak.” I need to look strong to protect myself. We are going to change this. We are going to stop the killings, we are going to stop Asian moms disappearing, we are going to stop Asian elders’ lives being threatened. 

I really don’t get why the United States became this. All the politicians always blame China. You always blame others! Also another slogan is “Racism is a virus, hate is a virus,” [scoffs] It’s so ridiculous because we got the vaccine right now. The vaccine doesn’t cure the virus, so who’s going to cure the racism and the hate? We don’t have a vaccine for that.

Some people say, “I’m an Asian American, I’m not Chinese,” you just bullshit! They always tell any Asian face, “You are Chinese, go back to China.” When they see an Asian face they think you are Chinese. They don’t know the difference. You try to protect yourself and your Asian face, but it doesn’t really matter if you are Chinese, Korean, or Japanese – it’s your face, your color. Don’t just separate yourself saying I’m not Chinese. Why not Chinese? We all could be Chinese. We are human and we all should be untied.

If someone slashes me I will slash back, if someone says fuck you I will fuck you back. It now needs to stop. I can fight back. It’s not about stopping something, it's about fighting back.

Alina & Leon

I came from China, but my son was born in America. I saw the Atlanta news and it’s shocking for every Asian person. One time there was this person who threw a bottle of water at me and told me to go back to China. I made a decision for myself to bring my son today. I want to show all the people: stop hating Asians. My son is in school and the teacher would tell them about Black Lives Matter but I always told him that all lives matter. Before this, Black people died by police and this time Asian person died by the white person, and I heard that Atlanta’s police said something that’s not good for us Asians. He said that that guy had a bad day, no. On your bad day you can’t shoot anyone else. That’s why I took my son here to show him this. My son is a more silent person, so I told him, we don’t have to speak on things, we can just show up together with other people. 

Calvin Hunt & Richard Kirkpatrick

Calvin Hunt with son

Calvin: What brings us here today is gentrification. We are all God’s creatures, we are all created equal. So we just out here to support our brothers and sisters. We are all the same. All lives matter, Black Lives Matter, Asian lives matter, and we are here to support Asian community as human beings, as God's creatures. It's that simple.

Richard: We are just sick and tired of the hate. We are tired of the hate. Enough is enough. It comes in all colors, we are like a box of crayons – we come in different colors, it’s all about love not hate. 

Richard (right)

Romey & Lolenzo

Romey: I’m Asian so I wanted to stand up for this cause. I want to bring awareness to anti-Asian crimes that have been rising up so far. 

Lolenzo: I’m Black and Latino, I came here to support him. He's my boyfriend. We go through the same discrimination as well, so it’s only right for me to come and support my partner. 

Cassandra Schriffen & Irene Ippolito

Cassandra: I’m a teacher in NYC and I’ve been teaching in NYC for about 50 years and I am here because 40 years ago when I was teaching in Manhattan on an integration transfer, the Asian students in my school fought for my right to teach in Manhattan. So I am here today to support their right to walk. 

My hope is that we don’t see each other’s color, that we just see each other’s heart and that we can all live in peace in our beautiful city.

Irene: I’m here just to show solidarity with the other people that are standing out here today against hate and ignorance. Our country is gotta do better. We are stronger because of our diversity and we just have to stand up and say, “We are stronger together, we need each other, we need to go forward together, we are all American, we are all human beings and this hatred and this ignorance is just unacceptable.”

I think we have to have hope. The young people give me hope, the younger generation gives me hope. I’ve seen so many young activists that are really taking a lead and I hope the younger generation has their heads in tighter.

SWK: Why do you think the younger generation is so active in protesting and speaking out against what's wrong?

Irene: That’s a good question. I don’t know if part of it is social media maybe, because they grew up with more diversity than the older generation. Maybe that has a lot to do with it, but I’ve just been blown away with the younger generation that I’ve been talking to and I am here to support them. 

Kim

I’ve been hearing in the recent news that older Asians are being attacked and the hate against Asian Americans is getting out of control. I feel like I really had to come here today to say something. I had to spread the message about not just keeping our heads down, but fighting back. It is really important especially if our life is threatened and our elders are being attacked. We have to stand together and fight back against this type of attack. It's just not acceptable.

I’m from Seoul, South Korea. I came here when I was 10 years old so I’ve lived here for more than 25 years. I grew up in Virginia, I did experience racism in high school. A bunch of C words thrown in my face, “Chink go back to China.” I moved to New York almost 3 years ago. I really love the diversity here, but it’s just so sad that those racist attacks are happening. I think it’s important no matter what color you are to unite and fight back.

What’s shameful and scary is that the police officer was defending the offender saying he had a “bad day.” It was also later revealed that that police officer posted a racist shirt on his Twitter. How crazy is this? How can we trust law officials that have to protect their citizens? 

Linda & Ginger

Ginger: We are here in support of fighting and ending racism and in the wake of all the increase of Asian-American violence. It really just moved us to be here and try to make a difference and try to encourage change in the society. 

Linda: I think these crimes really hit home these recent past weeks just because things are happening in Chinatown where we feel like we belong and where our parents came to feel like they belong. And now there are basically predators out there going against us, killing us. We are here for any type of racism, not just anti-Asian crimes, any racist crimes. 

Andrew Yang

Hello, New York City. How beautiful are we? This truly is the most incredible assemblage of beautiful Asian and Black and brown and white human beings I have seen in quite some time. First, let's give another round of applause to my soulmate, my rock, the true rock star in our family, my wife Evelyn. Many of you know that Evelyn herself was the victim of sexual assaults by her doctor and I found that out a number of years ago and it ate me up. I felt like I failed her as a husband and she went through it for a period alone. And then we shared it as a family and then years later she had an opportunity to potentially share that pain, her story, with the world.

And as her husband, I was just awestruck by the courage for her to even consider that. Consider something so deeply personal and I wanted to be supportive at every stage as her husband. I said, “Baby like whatever you want to do. I'm a hundred percent behind you.” But I will let you all know in my heart of hearts. I wanted to get that fucking guy really bad.

After my incredible wife came forward, another 40 women came forward and that doctor now is up on federal charges and he'll never hurt another woman ever again. So that story unfortunately is something of a precursor to what our community has experienced over the last number of days and the last number of weeks and months. It has been staggering to see the racism against our community morph and metastasize into something dark and virulent and increasingly dangerous. I remember when I first felt it, it was a little more than a year ago today you all probably remember it too, remember that first time when you actually got that extra glance, glare, animosity, on the streets here in New York, raise your hand if you remember that. Oh, we all remember that don't we?

First you're thinking, “Okay. Maybe that was just that one person. Maybe it was just in my head.” But then you kept experiencing it and then you're like, “No this is not in my head.” And then the first time you saw on video an elderly Asian woman shoved brutally to the ground or someone spat on or someone punched or beaten. Then you thought to yourself, “This is real.” Raise your hand if you remember that too. Oh, we all remember that. We all remember that and we hoped in our hearts that it would stay at that level, that it would stay, just the spitting and dehumanization, on that level. But we feared that this day would come, we feared that some of our people would be shot for no other reason than their race. And unfortunately that is exactly what occurred last week in Atlanta. And I've said to anyone who would listen, it is madness to question a 21-year-old lunatic as to his motivations when we can see clear as day that this was a hate crime, am I right New York City?

Everyone who is Asian American knows that these women were targeted on the basis of their race, that if you go to an Asian-owned business in an Asian community and you open the door, you know exactly who you're going to find, you know, exactly who you're going to murder in this case. And as Evelyn said, we spent weeks in Atlanta, Georgia, making the case among the Asian-American community, that we needed to invest in our future, that we needed to get out and vote.

Andrew Yang with wife Evelyn Yang

And so it was deeply personal seeing these women's stories. I actually imagine, as I know Evelyn did, like was there a chance that we met them when we were out among the community knocking on doors, speaking in plazas? The Asian-American community in Atlanta, if you have not been, it is amazing. I was blown away. I went down to Atlanta trying to make the case for Reverend Warnock and Jon Ossoff who won and got Chuck Schumer to become Senate Majority Leader. And as Evelyn said, the entire country has many people to thank for that, but among them it is the Asian-American voters of the state of Georgia, Asian Americans are 4.7% of the vote there. Do you think that did not make a difference in an election where there was a one percent margin and Asian Americans went two to one for the Democrats? 

Protester: You did the math.

[Crowd Laughs]

Andrew Yang: I did do the math. It's true. So spending time in Atlanta and then seeing the racism against our community become this murderous, this dark, has been very painful for all of us. It's been devastating and heartbreaking for so many of us.

And the question is, are we going to make this mean something to our families, our community and the country? Are we going to make these women's lives and passings mean something? Are we going to make them mean something, New York City?

We need to take this opportunity to let people know that Asian Americans are here to stay, Asian Americans are just as American as everyone else. Asian Americans are just as human as everyone else.

And I do remember vividly growing up, son of immigrants here in New York State and feeling like my Americanness was being challenged at every turn – there weren't many of us on TV. I remember I would bug my parents every time Connie Chung came on TV until eventually I got tired of it. And I want to give another shout-out to some of the Asian-American artists and creatives and creators who are here today, and we're making the case all over the country.

When I ran for president, some of the first people that gave me the time of day, the Fung Brothers, who were right there. We know that their parents were not that excited about their career choices. The Asian-American comedians you know what I mean, it's probably somewhere with running for office.

So we need to get behind and support our Asian-American artists and creatives as they tell their stories and ours. Am I right? That is actually part of the process of dehumanization, that is a part of the process of people seeing that we have souls, hopes, dreams, fears, struggles. We may not wear them the same way other folks do, but we have them nonetheless.

There were a number of reasons I decided to run for president, but I will confess to you all, there was one day, there were several, but one of them was that I thought I had an opportunity to make that presidential debate stage and I thought about what having an Asian-American face on that stage would mean to our community.

And then I said, you know, like that would have been a game-changer for me as a young person, as a child, seeing someone [like me] on that stage. And I didn't just make that stage once – I made that stage seven times, beating out governors, senators, members of Congress, and our current mayor. And I did this in part to demonstrate that there are no limits to what Asian Americans can do in this country, that we are not meant to be relegated to some particular role that has been prescribed, that we can lead, we can dream.

We can help this country make sense of what is happening to it and help bring people together. When I was in Atlanta, I had the privilege of visiting Martin Luther King's childhood home as well as the King Center with Martin Luther King's son Martin III, and I do want to give a special shout-out also to our Black brothers and sisters who are here today and expressing solidarity with our community. We are so grateful in part because Asians are not used to people sticking up for us. Thank you.

But standing on the front stoop of Dr. King's childhood home with his son, as he looked out at the view that he woke up to every day as a child, and his son said to me, “On the left you can see there are very affluent houses and on the right you can see that there are people who are struggling,” and Martin Luther King III said, “This is the view that inspired my father to try and address what he saw as the three evils of our time: racism, poverty, and war.” And when I ran for president on universal basic income I was the first person to say, “This is not my idea, this is an idea that Martin Luther King put forward in his 1967 book Chaos or Community.” He said we need to help humanize an economy that is turning on more and more people; it was not my idea at all. It was Dr. King's idea.

I'm so indebted to the Black community for so much of what has happened over these last couple of years. Dr. King and his family, their vision for whatever reason has lain dormant over the last number of years and I say to folks in the Black community, “I believe we have sanitized Dr. King's memory.” We celebrate his birthday every year and what do we see on TV and hear on the radio? “I have a dream, I have a dream. We're going to climb the mountaintop together.” And that gives us the mistaken sense that his dream has been realized, does it not? Is it not that, “Oh he had a dream and here we are on the other side,” but Black people know better, Asian Americans know better. We all know that Dr. King's dream has not been realized at all. And that is going to be the work of everyone here and everyone around the country to help push our society forward to a point where we recognize everyone's intrinsic worth as a human being, as a mother, as a father, as someone who just wants to create a better life for themselves and their families. Just like the people who were killed in Atlanta wanted for themselves. 

I know what I saw when I met with these people, most of them had just come to Atlanta over the last number of years and they came with better hopes for themselves and their families and to see their lives snuffed out.

[Gets emotional]

So one question I'd have for us all is, what now? What are we going to do? No, we're heartbroken. We're angry. We want people to sense our pain, our presence, their frustration. We feel that our problems have been suppressed for so long and that we've been told that we don't have it the same as other groups, just to accept our place in American life, but that's not us at all. Is it, New York City? We are people of action, are we not? So I'm going to suggest a few things that I'm going to do as the next mayor of the greatest city in the world.

One of the first things I'm going to do is I'm going to fully fund the Asian hate crimes task force in the police. It is not an issue that you can have volunteers addressing. If crime against the community goes up 900%. You don't say, “Oh well, let volunteers take care of that,” you dedicate resources until that problem feels like it is going down, not up.

The second thing we need to do is call a hate crime a hate crime, when a woman gets shoved to the ground in front of us all in Flushing and is disfigured. That's a hate crime. When a man gets slashed on the subway because someone doesn't like the look on his face. That's a hate crime.When a woman gets acid thrown in her face in her face in Manhattan for no discernible reason, that is a hate crime. And it's only by calling out these crimes as such that we can raise the proper level of attention and frankly prosecute them the way that they deserve, to send a message that there is no room for hate in New York City.

And the third thing we have to do is build bonds and connections with the Asian-American community here in New York, because we know you know that for every incident we're hearing about there are two, three, five others that we will never hear about. You know that an Asian American who's been punched, stabbed, beaten, stabbed will probably know about, but punched, spit on, and other things, is likely never to tell anyone and we have to change that. We have to start building bonds of connection with the Asian-American community to let them know that this city is their city, is ours, and I'm going to suggest to you all that one great way to do that is by electing the first Asian-American mayor in the history of New York City.

Because you know I'll take it seriously. But these are things that frankly we can do at the public level, in this event today, is not about the public level. It's about us each individually as human beings. And so what can we do? What we can do, and I'm going to take a page from my friend Jumaane Williams who I've been speaking alongside over this last number of days, what he says is, “Look, this starts with us individually. We have to take it upon ourselves to try to greet someone that we see every day that we would not have greeted otherwise,” and often those are people that are going to be unseen, that are going to seem invisible and you might surprise them initially, but over time they will start to see you as a human being that cares about them. They will start seeing themselves as human if we start to acknowledge each other and our own humanity, then we can expand what it means to be part of a community. Will you all come into greeting at least one person every day that you might not have greeted otherwise?

We can expand the sense of fellowship to include folks who right now might look different than us and might not think that they are the same but we are the same. This is one of the lessons I got from visiting. Dr. King's birthplace.

Well then the other thing I'm going to ask of you all is this, and this is something that I had some experience with. This is the story that Noel Quintana told when he was on the New York subway. He said that he was having a dispute with this person and that it started to elevate and then eventually this person took out a box cutter and slashed his face and you've all seen the picture, you all know what happened to Noel, and Noel said with tears in his eyes, in an event not that different from this one, event that that was held a couple of weeks ago in Foley Square, not that far from here. Some of you were there, raise your hand if you were there. And so if you were there you remember what he said, he said with tears in his eyes, he said that there were people around and no one did anything. He said if someone even had just taken a video, then maybe we would actually have apprehended this person who right now is still free and walking the streets of New York City.

Now I've had some experience with this. I was in a situation where something was happening nearby me and there is not really like time to think when you're in that situation. Like I'm not going to pretend like some people are somehow going to make different decisions, but I will say that the commitment we all have to make, this is the best way for us truly to make each other safer, is that when something is happening around you, you have to do something. I want you to reflect on this, New York City. I want you to reflect on what it's going to feel like when you are a witness to something happening. Are you going to be the person that lets it happen or are you going to be the person that does something?

Noel Quintana has been asking that question. And that is the second commitment I'm going to ask of you all, New York City. If you see something, you have to do something – and if you do something you'll be able to look yourself in the mirror when you get home at night and say I did everything I could to help that person.

And if you say that and you act on that and you make that commitment, then we have a real chance to rebuild from this to reshape our community, to let people know that we all have so much more in common than what divides us, that we are all human beings and that Asian Americans should feel as safe walking down the streets of New York City as anyone else in this city. We are just as New York as anyone else, we need to act on that. We need to gather together in events like this, but we need to vote. We need to make our voices heard, and if something is happening in our vicinity that we can do something about, we're damn well gonna do something about it. Am I right New York? So let's help each other, let’s care about each other, and rebuild our community, which will include everybody together. Thank you all so much. I love you, New York City.

Alexey Kim

Founder