Jo-Ann Yoo, Executive Director of the Asian American Federation, stood outside 360 W43rd Street in Hell’s Kitchen where a 65-year-old woman was violently assaulted and said that she would organize suing the building’s owners, The Brodsky Organization. “We’re going to sue. I’m so sick of standing here demanding for my people.”
The threat was a reaction to the brutal attack on Monday on W43rd Street between 8th/9th Avenue when staff at the building watched the beating and then closed the front door.
She told the assembled media: “We’re standing in front of this building that pretty much closed their door on a woman lying on the sidewalk. Isn’t that the perfect symbolism of exactly what is happening right now? We don’t want your thoughts and prayers anymore. How does a woman get punched and stomped on in front of a luxury building and the doorman closes the door? He was not at risk. So he could have gone out to offer assistance. To ask him to call an ambulance. Instead, he pulls the door. He closed the door!”
Yoo said the legal action would be to support the woman. “She’s lying in the hospital right now. We don’t know how to help her. Everybody’s reaching out to me because the community wants to standby her,” she explained. “She’s going to have medical expenses. She’s going to need mental healthcare. How many times will you make us stand here and beg for help?”
The video of the attack has now been seen by millions in New York, the United States and around the world. “That video was hard to watch. even though the toughest of us couldn’t stomach watching. That could be our mom, daughter, sister, wife. I don’t want you to look away. That’s what our community has been living with for 13 months. That is our reality,” Yoo said.
Congressman Jerry Nadler told the press: “We all have the power and ability to come to each other’s aid collectively, let’s confront the rise in hate directly, name it, call it out, condemn it. Enough is enough!”
Manhattan Borough President Gale Brewer had organized the event and condemned the attack saying: “We have to stop this violence.” She spent time telling the collected media and activists that it was unclear from the video what the building staff had done: “We know there are different stories about what happened. I don’t know all the facts. Some people said that nobody did anything. Others have stated that there is a video — not quick enough — that the doorman did come out and call the police. But I will say that every single time if you see something you must do something.”
Brewer was heckled when she spoke in support of building owner Dan Brodsky (who is a Democratic campaign donor and Chairman of the Board at The Metropolitan Museum of Art): “I know Dan Brodksy and spoke to him a little while ago. He is very upset, also. He is willing to put up any money to catch the perpetrator. And secondly, he’s willing to help organizations that are fighting hate against Asians. He’s willing to help monetarily with that. And I want to convey that. That’s the kind of person he is.”
The Borough President’s comments were greeted with shouts of “Outrage,” “Disgrace,” and “He needs to be held accountable.”
Brewer said that The Governor and the State legislature should add $19m to the state budget to fund the organizations responding to the anti-Asian hate crimes.