By Marivir R. Montebon
New York – Some 20 Filipino American groups here have created a network to address Anti-Asian Hate and make all residents, visitors, and commuters in the NY Metro area feel safer.
The network named Filipino American Network against Asian Hate (FANAAH) has started to lay down preventive short- and long-term actionable proposals to Mayor Adams this month.
FANAAH said that since the pandemic reached NYC in March 2020, there has been a surge of hate crimes, harassment, and public safety incidents against Asian Americans, many of the gravest crimes were towards Filipino Americans. Noel Quintana was attacked in the subway — his face slashed from ear to ear, and Vilma Kari was kicked repeatedly in Midtown while the attacker yelled, “You don’t belong here!”
According to FANAAH, the city must address homelessness and identify other approaches of addressing behavioral health issues to ensure public safety.
“There is a need to work more closely with NYC Department of Health and Mental Health and fund community-based organizations, healthcare centers, and social agencies who specialize in this field,” said Fr. Julian Jagudilla, lead convenor and executive director of the non-profit Migrant Center of New York.
FANAAH argued that the surging crimes is not just about adding more NYPD and police visibility. “Police presence is a deterrent, but they do not have enough resources to cover foot traffic in underserved communities.”
The FilAm network asked Mayor Adams to host a town hall to discuss the uptick of hate crimes and address public safety.
It acknowledged that the creation of the NYPD Asian Hate Crimes Task Force is a good start and promised to continue to support and build this team. However, it emphasized more cultural competency training is needed for all officers and leadership.
Convenor Rachelle Peraz Ocampo, president of the New York chapter of the National Federation of Filipino American Associations (NAFFAA) said that the city government need to “hear directly from the community about our urgent concerns and ideas.”
These actionable short-term measures include education on hate crimes and how to report; legislative options for the prevention of hate crimes; review the efficacy of existing hate crimes laws; alternatives to mass incarceration; and share resources for the community with a point person from Mayor’s office to direct questions and grievances.
FANAAH also sought to focus on education on multiculturalism as a long-term effort to ensure a peaceful city. The city government need to provide for spaces for dialogue between communities of Black, Latinx, and other POC to discuss how our communities intersect and find commonality between each other’s cultures.
FANAAH said that the inclusion in the curriculum of Filipino American history is important to acknowledge Filipino contributions to American society, particularly Larry Itliong’s leadership to the labor movement and the indispensable contribution of immigrant teachers, nurses, and healthcare workers to New York starting in the ’60s and ’70s. #