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NEW YORK (WABC) -- Mayor Bill de Blasio and other officials spoke out Tuesday about the city's renewed effort to confront hate crimes against Asians.

"Every community suffered, but there's been a particular pain, a particular horrible challenge, faced by the Asian American community," de Blasio said. "Because on top of all the suffering from the coronavirus itself, on top of losing loved ones losing businesses, people have had to confront horrible discrimination and hatred.

"

The Asian Hate Crime Task Force is focusing on the entire city, but they will pay particular attention to the subways after a rash of incident in the transit system.

Eyewitness News found that the task force is unfunded and an all-volunteer force.

De Blasio said the Human Rights Commission is working and meeting with Asian community leaders this week on the next measures the city needs to take.
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The mayor spoke about the steps the city is taking to prevent hate crimes against Asians.


"If you dare to raise you hand against a member of our Asian communities, you will suffer the consequences," he said.

He was joined by leaders across the community, including U.S. Congresswoman Grace Meng.

"We have already seen our members and small businesses fight the pandemic of anti-Asian hatred, and these racist attacks have been outrageous, unconscionable, disgusting, and it must end," she said. "I also want to say a special thank you to so many other communities of color who have stood with us and stood publicly against this sort of discrimination. That ally-ship is incredibly important and meaningful."

She pointed to recent crimes where a Filipino man was slashed across the face on the subway and an Asian American woman was shoved to the ground in Queens. In fact, there were five Asian American victims attacked within two days, including a 30-year-old woman who was sprayed with a liquid, possibly pepper spray, by someone in a passing vehicle who didn't say a word.

Many of the victims were elderly and vulnerable, and all of the assaults were unprovoked.

RELATED | Man arrested, accused of shoving woman to ground outside Queens bakery
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Police in Queens arrested a man, accused of assaulting an Asian woman waiting in line outside a bakery Tuesday afternoon.


The city is launching a new resource, the site NYC.gov/StopAsianHate, to find specific ways to encourage victims to come forward or even to report a bias attack.

"We are really worried about the reality of people not feeling they could or should report a hate crime," NYPD Dep. Inspector Stewart Loo said. "We think there's more out there. We want to encourage people to come forward. We will protect their identities."

Community leaders say these are important first steps, but the fight for equality continues.

"These numbers are definitely underreported," said JoAnn Yoo, with the Asian American Federation. "We had an incident last year where a man was a victim of a hate crime, and when he finally reported, he tells us,''This is the second time this happened to me this week.'"

Asian Americans make up almost 15% of the population yet receive less than 2% of city contract dollars.

"I think the community feels invisible," JoAnn Yoo said.

RELATED: Leaders in Queens ask community to stand together against anti-Asian attacks

Mayor de Blasio said that the presence of the task force is encouraging people to speak up about the crimes being committed.

"The most important part is the way you're engaging the community and listening and showing people that whatever they're seeing and feeling, it will be acted on," de Blasio said. "It is so important for people to speak up."

The mayor encouraged New Yorkers to go to NYC.gov/StopAsianHate and said he wants to encourage everyone on social media to show support by using the hashtag #StopAsianHate.

ALSO READ | Asian seniors assaulted in unprovoked subway attacks
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In an exclusive interview, CeFaan Kim talks to a woman who believes she was the victim of a violent hate crime after a random, unprovoked attack on a subway train left her bloodied and beaten.



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Tags: attack nypd hate crime asian american the asian american community leaders the task force to come forward mayor de blasio de blasio said the community task force a particular to encourage a hate crime the city victim the city to confront

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NYC has extra COVID-19 vaccine supply this week

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New York City has a surplus of COVID-19 vaccines this week after delayed shipments finally arrived — so it’s ramping up hours and doubling the number of appointments at some inoculation sites, Mayor Bill de Blasio said Thursday.

The shipment that was supposed to be delivered to the city last week got delayed due to the winter storm that slammed much of the US – and finally made it to Gotham this week, along with the city’s regular weekly vaccine allotment.

“We had a tough week last week because of the storm, delayed shipments of supply of vaccine, but a lot has now come in,” said de Blasio during a City Hall press briefing. “We’re going to blitz this week. This is going to be a very intense week.”

The city is adding overnight shifts at vaccination sites at the Brooklyn Army Terminal, Bathgate Industrial Park in The Bronx and Citi Field in Queens.

Mayor Bill de Blasio speaks to the media at the opening of the COVID-19 vaccination site at Citi Field on Feb. 10, 2021 in QueensGetty Images

Additionally, de Blasio said, “We’re doubling the number of appointments at some of the key sites in communities where we’re focusing on fighting disparity.”

Those sites include Teachers Preparatory High School in Brooklyn and Martin Van Buren High School in Queens.

New vaccine pop-up sites will also open this week at the First Corinthian Baptist Church in East Harlem and another in Mill Basin, Brooklyn, de Blasio said.

As of Thursday morning, the Big Apple had approximately 189,600 first dose shots and about 237,500 second dose shots on hand, city data showed.

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More than 1.6 million shots of the vaccine have been administered in New York City since inoculation efforts began in mid-December.

The mayor also announced Thursday that the city has partnered with the Rev. Al Sharpton’s National Action Network non-profit and Choose Healthy Life to create 10 pop-up vaccine clinics at churches at other faith-based organizations across the city.

“People listen to their faith leaders,” de Blasio said. “So we’re going to bring faith communities more and more into this process as we go forward.”

Sharpton virtually joined the briefing from Harlem Hospital where he said he’d just been given the coronavirus vaccine.

“We need to follow the science and do what it says,” Sharpton said, adding, “I’m here saying ‘I cannot afford not to take the shot.’”

When asked by de Blasio why he got jabbed, Sharpton replied, “I personally took the shot because I feel two things: One, that you’ve got to be sure that your loved ones and the people you’re around are not risking themselves being around you because you’re playing some jaded game of Russian Roulette…That’s not fair to your loved ones.”

 “Secondly, is that I wanted to set an example,” said Sharpton. “I didn’t want to tell people to go do something that I wasn’t going to do myself.” 

Filed under al sharpton ,  bill de blasio ,  Coronavirus ,  Coronavirus in NY ,  2/25/21

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