Since the onset of the Coronavirus, the NYPD has reported that hate crimes against Asians have skyrocketed. Sadly for a city as diverse and robust as New York City, it had become the center of the spike by the end of 2020, with the NY Post reporting a 900 percent surge from the year prior. While white conservatives including Fox News reporter Tucker Carlson argue that the Black community is to blame — citing the fact that many of the cases involved Black suspects — Asian American leaders of the city are pushing back against this narrative to show that there has always been solidarity between Black people and Asian Americans. On Saturday, Black and Asian religious leaders, activists, and community members will gather in Chinatown for a “walk of faith” to prove just that.
“The Asian American community is very vulnerable,” Pastor Edward-Richard Hinds told The Gothamist. “And so this helps to spread this message of love and solidarity, and that we are a part of the solution as well. And we will stand with them.” The pastor along with other Black clergy proposed the initial idea.
Hinds is also a part of the 67th Precinct Clergy Council known as, “The God Squad.” This organization along with more than 20 others in the area, have banded together to execute this demonstration of solidarity. The walk will begin at 11am at Seward Park in Manhattan’s Lower East Side before marching through Chinatown, and pausing at “key landmarks” for reflection and prayer. At the end of the demonstration, participants will break bread together as a final display of unity.
“Historically, we’ve seen Black folks show up for us,” said Pastor Ray Low of the New York Coalition of AAPI Churches. “We do have support. And that’s a powerful thing. And when that happens, people begin to listen as well.” He additionally stated that he found the proposal “healing and honoring” when the march was brought to him by Hinds and others.
To the point of many demonstrators between the many organizations involved, this is not the first time the Black and Asian American communities have unified in this way. Last year, at the Rally Against Hate, thousands marched through Chinatown with protest signs and chants that cried out, “Black lives matter! Asian lives matter!”
“Let’s not let the skin color or our ethnicity and culture fool each other,” a Black organizer, Kelvin Coffey told the crowd during the rally. “We are in the same fight.”