Queens lawmaker invites daughter of anti-Asian hate crime victim from Flushing to President Biden’s State of the Union address

Congresswoman Grace Meng (r.) and Maggie Cheng speak virtually for President Biden’s first State of the Union address on Tuesday, March 1. (Photo courtesy of Congresswoman Meng’s office)

Maggie Cheng, whose mother suffered a violent hate crime attack last year in Flushing, was paid the honor of being Congresswoman Grace Meng’s virtual guest for President Biden’s first State of the Union address on Tuesday night. 

“As violent attacks against Asian Americans continue, we must stand united against hate crimes. They have no place in our country,” Cheng said. “My mother was attacked because she is Asian, and thanks to the COVID-19 Hate Crimes Act that Rep. Meng wrote, the perpetrator will be held accountable for his crime. I am grateful to both President Biden and Congresswoman Meng for their continued support in protecting Asian Americans across the country and combating anti-Asian hate.” 

Last year, Cheng was outspoken on social media and in the Queens community following an assault on her mother that occurred outside of a Flushing bakery in February.

The suspect, Patrick Mateo, 47, violently shoved Cheng’s mother to the ground and sent her to the hospital. Following the incident, Mateo fled the scene.

Cheng’s advocacy aided police in tracking down Mateo by posting pictures and videos of the attack on social media. Her brother’s friend, actress Olivia Munn, also posted in support of Chen’s mother, helping to bring the issue of the attacks and violence against Asian Americans to the national spotlight.

Mateo was indicted by a Queens County grand jury on a hate crime, aggravated harassment in the second degree, assault in the third degree and harassment in the second degree. 

While Asian Americans continue to be victims of senseless violence and are being scapegoated for the spread of COVID-19, Meng noted the immense solidarity and support from communities across the nation. 

“For Maggie Cheng and her family, this sense of community — which came through social media — was essential in bringing her mother’s attacker to justice. I am grateful to the Queens District Attorney Melinda Katz and the officers at the 109th Precinct for their dedication in ensuring justice is served,” said Meng, who is the vice chair of the Congressional Asian Pacific American Caucus (CAPAC). “There is no doubt that there is still more work to be done to combat anti-Asian hate and bigotry. I applaud President Biden for helping move these issues forward by signing my COVID-19 Hate Crimes Act into law, and I look forward to partnering with the president to further combat anti-Asian hate.”