(MINEOLA, N.Y.) - In response to an alarming increase in bias incidents and violence against Asian Americans, Nassau County Legislator Joshua Lafazan (Woodbury) joined forces with community leaders to host “Stand Up to Hate,” a rally that drew hundreds to the front steps of the Theodore Roosevelt Executive & Legislative Building on Sunday, March 14 to condemn these acts.
“It's on all of us to speak out in a loud, unified, and categorical voice to demand an end to this violence,” Legislator Lafazan said during the rally. “We know that we cannot drive out hatred with more hate - As Dr. King taught us many years ago, only love can do that. Which is why when you look at this crowd - and you see Muslims, Christians, Buddhists and Jews standing together - when you see people of all different races and backgrounds standing together, when you see people of all different ages standing together - there can be no mistaking that love and unity is the answer.”
“To our Asian American brothers and sisters - we see you, we love you, and we have your backs. And no matter how long it takes, we will stamp out hate on Long Island,” Legislator Lafazan continued.
Organized by Legislator Lafazan’s office in partnership with Gordon Zhang, President of the Long Island Chinese American Association and Farrah Mozawalla, Executive Director of Nassau County’s Office of Asian American Affairs, “Stand Up To Hate” was co-sponsored by more than 50 community organizations.
The diverse slate of speakers included Tracey Edwards, Long Island Regional Director of the NAACP, Dr. Isma Chaudhry, Spokesperson and Past President, Islamic Center of Long Island, Eric Post, Long Island Regional Director of the American Jewish Committee, Andrea Bolender, Chair of the Board, Holocaust Memorial and Tolerance Center of Nassau County, and Dr. Asiah Mason, CEO, Mill Neck Family of Organizations, which provided American Sign Language interpreters.
In addition, the rally was attended by elected leaders including Nassau County Executive Laura Curran, New York State Comptroller Thomas DiNapoli, U.S. Congressman Thomas Suozzi, multiple members of the New York State Senate and Assembly members, North Hempstead Town Clerk Wayne Wink, and Nassau County Legislator Ellen W. Birnbaum (D - Great Neck).
“Nassau County is standing together against the rising tide of Anti-Asian hate,” County Executive Curran said. “Although there have been no reported hate crimes targeting Asian-Americans in Nassau, the attacks we’re seeing in our State are alarming and unacceptable. Now and always there is no home for hate in Nassau.”
“The steady stream of hateful rhetoric linking Asian Americans with COVID-19 and the ensuing number of anti-Asian hate crimes is abhorrent,” Congressman Suozzi said. “It is incumbent upon all of us to do everything in our power to call out and reject xenophobia and racism each and every time it rears its ugly head. We must always ensure that hate will never win.”
"The recent wave of hate crimes across the country, particularly against the Asian-American community, must stop,” Comptroller DiNapoli said. We must speak out against any form of hate and discrimination directed toward our fellow Americans and New Yorkers. Our neighbors must know we have their backs, and we won't tolerate any violence or threats of violence or intimidation against anyone. I want to thank Legislator Josh Lafazan for his leadership in recognizing the need to address this disturbing issue."
“We stand with our brothers and sisters. As Asian Americans, we are all in this together,” OAAA Director Mozawalla said. “No one should be made to feel unsafe, uncomfortable or feel like they do not belong. It is important for us to reiterate that Nassau County is diverse and inclusive.”
“America is a great county built by immigrants. The anti-Asian violence is not just an attack on one group, it is an attack on our nation’s fundamental values of diversity, equity, and inclusion,” Mr. Zhang said. “We must all condemn the rising of anti-Asian hate crimes in both New York and across the country.”