HEART initiative launched to help victims of Asian bias or hate crime


| Photo by Jason Leung on Unsplash

NEW YORK – In response to the continuing anti-Asian violence that has prevailed before and during COVID-19, the Asian American Bar Association of New York (AABANY) has launched the “Hate Eradication Active Response Team” (HEART) initiative to support members of the Asian American Pacific Islanders (AAPI) community that suffered a bias incident or hate crime including harassment, discrimination, or violence, and have experienced physical injury, emotional trauma, or confusion.

According to AABANY, the HEART initiative was brought upon by its Anti-Asian Violence Task Force’s concern that although news reports of attacks against members of the Asian American and Pacific Islander (AAPI) community have faded from headlines, incidents and violence persist.

AABANY President Terrence Shen said the HEART’s impact is twofold. “It aims to provide the support the AAPI community urgently needs. It also shows that although reporting of anti-Asian violence has gone down, AAPIs who have suffered from anti-Asian hate will be heard, supported, and taken seriously by caring volunteers from AABANY’s membership.”

The HEART initiative aims to obtain a resolution such as accompanying the victim to law enforcement to report the incident or providing referrals to victims’ services and mental health resources that may be available. However, AABANY said if a victim desires help that does not involve prosecuting the assailant, HEART volunteers will respect such decision and continue to assist in getting the help and support the community member needs. It added that it is committed to helping seek redress and justice under the law for hate crimes.

AABANY also said the HEART initiative is volunteer-driven, and it plans to draw on attorney volunteers from within its membership to assist. A volunteer will be paired with each community member seeking help and offer assistance consistent with the community member’s expressed interests and desires.

AABANY encourages anyone who has suffered a bias incident or hate crime to call the dedicated HEART telephone numbers indicated below:

(516) 788-8820 English
(516) 788-8821 Mandarin
(516) 788-8822 Cantonese
(516) 788-8823 Japanese
(516) 788-8825 Korean

More information about HEART can be found at https://www.aabany.org/page/1016. Please contact Yang Chen, AABANY Executive Director, at (646) 653-2168, or direct any inquiries to main@aabany.org.

With Jay Domingo/PDM

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