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As Anti-Asian Violence Continues, NY Groups Host Community Safety Trainings


Tuesday, October 26, 2021   

NEW YORK -- Police data show New York City saw a 368% increase in assaults against Asian residents in September, compared with the same time last year.

As a result of continued anti-Asian violence and rhetoric, community organizations are training New Yorkers on how to safely intervene and de-escalate verbal assaults. In collaboration with Nonviolent Peaceforce, the Asian American Federation hosted an "Upstander Intervention Training" this weekend in Brooklyn's Sunset Park neighborhood, with the goal of helping residents develop techniques to respond appropriately when witnessing a hate incident.

Joo Han, deputy director of the Asian American Federation, said it is important for people to know how to take action beyond calling 911.

"A lot of times there's a reason why people don't report, right?" Han pointed out. "There's some folks in our community who haven't had safe interactions with police. They may be undocumented. So we also need to be mindful of that. If we're thinking about creating safety for ourselves, we want to also make sure we're creating safety for other communities."

The training is part of the federation's Hope Against Hate Campaign, which includes standardizing and coordinating bias incident reporting sites in multiple languages. They are also training safety ambassadors and companions in de-escalation strategies and mental-health support for Asian-majority neighborhoods.

Nonviolent Peaceforce has supported similar community protection programs in the Twin Cities and around the world.

Kalaya'an Mendoza, director of U.S. programs for the group, said training can be pivotal to finding solutions rooted in community safety.

"New York right now is an epicenter of anti-Asian violence," Mendoza asserted. "The impact right now, I feel like, is a paradigm shift happening, where people are seeing that they have the agency and ability to facilitate safety."

New York had the second-highest number of Asian hate incident reports from March 2020 through June 2021, according to a report from Stop AAPI Hate.

The Asian American Federation is hosting additional virtual trainings in November, with plans to host more in-person events throughout the city in the coming months.

Disclosure: Nonviolent Peaceforce contributes to our fund for reporting on Criminal Justice, Human Rights/Racial Justice, Peace, and Social Justice. If you would like to help support news in the public interest, click here.

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