ANTI-ASIAN HATE RESPONSE

A surge in anti-Asian hate crime across the U.S. has made the most vulnerable in the community, especially seniors, more afraid to leave their homes.

Red Doors

By Ethan Stark-Miller

Don Lee was standing near a window in the Homecrest Community Services center in Sheepshead Bay earlier this month when rocks suddenly came crashing through the glass.

“We were having a meeting with the staff and literally I was standing right there when the rocks came through — pow, pow,” Lee said. “Then when we went downstairs, we noticed the windows downstairs were also shattered.”

Lee, who chairs Homecrest’s board, said this was the first of two vandalism attacks on the community center – which also serves as a church – over the past month. The second incident took place last Friday when vandals again shattered the center’s windows with rocks and what appeared to be a bike lock.

In a separate incident, which Lee believes may be related, a man walked into the center on Tuesday, demanded a meal and started shouting racial slurs.

Lee said he thinks Homecrest was targeted because it primarily serves Asian seniors and immigrants. He sees the vandalism as part of a broader trend of attacks on Asian Americans across the city over the past year, a trend that’s confirmed by NYPD statistics. There were 131 reported hate crimes targeting Asian Americans in the city in 2021, compared with 28 the previous year — an increase of roughly 368 percent, according to police data.... Read more

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Church Candles
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Church Candles

By Amy Yee

Even a short trip to the grocery store or visiting a local center with hot-meal services can mean racist harassment – or worse.

Asian-American seniors like Derek Tang, a 68-year-old refugee from Cambodia, typically go to Homecrest Community Services in Brooklyn to socialize, have lunch and maybe play mahjong. But now Homecrest is also offering safety webinars and distributing panic alarms so Tang and other patrons can feel more secure stepping out of their homes.

Tang hasn’t been employed since suffering a heart attack in 2006. His wife was working in an Asian grocery store, but the shop closed during the pandemic. That makes the meals served by Homecrest a vital lifeline. So he still needs to get himself there, despite concerns about safety. One member of the center, an 89-year-old Chinese-American woman, was lit on fire near her home in Brooklyn in the summer of 2020. Tang, a genocide survivor, took Homecrest’s online class and studied pamphlets. He’s vigilant when he leaves home... Read more