NEW YORK - It's an unrelenting streak of violence. With each passing day, more New Yorkers of Asian descent are targeted in unprovoked brutal attacks. Often, the perpetrators seem to be picking on women and seniors. Case in point, the broad daylight stomping of 65-year-old Vilma Kari on West 43rd street last week as she was on her way to church.
As city leaders search for a solution, on the weekends, extra sets of eyes search the streets of Flushing for trouble. Behind purple masks the volunteers who make up Main Street Patrol. A community group set up by Teresa Ting, "It feels like you have a target on your back. Especially me being an Asian woman puts me more into that vulnerable group."
On February 16, the NYU graduate and actress was triggered by a violent attack on a 52-year-old Asian woman. Viciously shoved to the ground, her head slammed into a metal newspaper dispenser. The victim needed at least 10 stitches.
The very next week, Ting organized the group which has since exploded into a volunteer team of more than 100 people. All volunteers work in groups and undergo bystander/upstander training, techniques like distraction and deeescalation. Including methods that don't require physically engaging with an attacker. Their presence is already making a difference.
"The community has responded in a very positive way," Ting says, "Just knowing that there are people out here being an extra set of ears, eyes, and mouths for them."
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