“Last week I took the train [in New York City]. It was a 30-minute commute and I realized every minute of that commute I was terrified. I was scared that any moment in time someone might say a racial slur or attack me. Worst of all I thought that if something were to happen to me, nobody would stand up,” Park said.
This prompted her to reach out to some friends and decide to create an Instagram account, @CafeMaddyCab, with the sole purpose of paying for cab rides of Asian American senior citizens and women who could not afford to pay for them themselves.
“I just said look, I have $2,000, if you need a ride, just charge me on Venmo,” Park said. She noted while she could afford to take a taxi instead of walking for her own safety many community members in the city may not have the disposable income to do so.
While the project began with Park’s own investment of $2,000, within two days she was able to raise more than $100,000 with the help of community donations.
“People who are donating are people from all across the nation, across all races, ethnicities and they just sent me messages saying, listen, we really want you guys to be safe too and we’re donating so that more people can take rides in the city,” Park told WABC. “It really opened my eyes to how many people are actually supporting the Asian community in New York City.”
A post on the @CafeMaddyCab Instagram page noted the 48-hour success of the project, adding that donations would temporality be closed because of the “weekly limit of payouts due to Venmo regulations.” On Tuesday, an update provided a PayPal link for individuals to donate to and confirmed that donations can continue.
Now only three days old, the initiative is working to expand its payment options to be accessible for all. Not only does it plan to cover rides up to $40 for Asian women and the elderly in all five boroughs of New York but it also plans to use funds to start similar initiatives in other cities.
“Thank you for your solidarity, your generosity, your kind words and support for the AAPI community … the point of this is to allow you to make the decision to be safe when you are about to be in a risky place or situation because a ride costs too much. So keep this post in mind for your safety,” Park said on Instagram.
Since the start of the pandemic, multiple attacks have been reported against the APPI community; Data released by Stop AAPI Hate found that almost 3,800 incidents of anti-Asian hate were reported over the last year during the pandemic, a majority of which targeted both the elderly and women.
Of the 3,800 anti-hate incidents reported, 68% targeted women. Additionally, the report noted that more than 500 of the incidents occurred in 2021 alone. The newly released data follows an analysis released by the Center for the Study of Hate and Extremism. According to the analysis, while hate crimes in the U.S.’s 16 largest cities decreased overall by 7% in 2020, those targeting AAPI people rose by nearly 150%.
While hate against the Asian American community is not new to America’s history, anti-Asian crimes have rapidly increased amid the coronavirus pandemic. The AAPI community needs our support now more than ever. Here is a list of resources and actions you can take to help stop AAPI hate.