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Borough Hall to host Unity Rally Wednesday in response to rise in hate violence

Asians Americans and allies rally against Asian hate in Flushing on May 2, 2021. (Photo by Gabriele Holtermann)

In response to the ongoing rise in hate violence, Queens Borough President Donovan Richards, elected officials and community leaders from across the spectrum of religion, race and ethnicity will gather as “One Queens” at Borough Hall Wednesday.

The Unity Rally, denouncing hate in all its forms against all communities represented in the borough — including hate toward Asian American, Jewish and Muslim neighbors, who have frequently been the target of bigotry and violence in recent months — will be held a day after the one-year anniversary of the murder of George Floyd.

The Unity Rally, featuring speakers and participants representing the borough’s unparalleled diversity, comes in the wake of disturbing incidents in recent weeks and months. In Queens, a 35-year-old man of Asian descent was shoved onto the subway tracks at the 21st Street F train station Monday, but was rescued by fellow straphangers. The NYPD Hate Crimes Task Force is investigating the attack.

Meanwhile, numerous anti-Semitic incidents have been reported across the city, including a May 23 assault in Brooklyn of two Jewish teenagers who were eventually escorted to safety by a Muslim for-hire driver who witnessed the violence, while a Brooklyn man was arrested and charged with a hate crime last week for vandalizing both a Roman Catholic church and a synagogue.

“From our Asian American community to our Jewish and Muslim communities and beyond, far too many of our neighbors have been unjustly subjected to these sickening waves of hate, bigotry and violence in recent weeks and months,” Richards said. “Together as One Queens, we will stand in solidarity with all those who have experienced such trauma and reaffirm our status as the ‘World’s Borough,’ where all deserve peace of mind and a seat at the table.”

As of May 16, there have been 191 reported hate crimes across the five boroughs in 2021, according to NYPD statistics, compared to 112 at the same point in 2020, an increase of 70.5 percent.

In NYPD Patrol Borough Queens North alone — which consists of the 104th, 108th, 109th, 110th, 111th, 112th, 114th and 115th police precincts — 29 hate crimes have been reported so far this year, compared to just eight at this point in 2020.

Wednesday’s Unity Rally will be held in the Helen Marshall Cultural Center at Borough Hall, located at 120-55 Queens Blvd. in Kew Gardens. The program begins at 5 p.m.

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