Queens residents gathered Thursday for a candlelight vigil at Bliss Plaza in Sunnyside to honor the women killed by an Atlanta-area mass murderer, and to shed light on anti-Asian attacks in New York City and across the United States.
The event was organized by City Council candidates Julie Won and Steven Raga who had organized a similar rally two weeks earlier. Won denounced Georgia authorities for failing to bring hate crime charges against the shooter, who targeted women of Asian descent, but who later said he was motivated by his own sex addiction.
“It is heartbreaking to see the authorities refusing to call it a hate crime when we know it is racially motivated, and the authorities instead of humanizing the victims they are trying to humanize the perpetrators,” Won told the Eagle.
At the vigil, Won recited the names of six of the eight people killed on March 16 — Delaina Ashley Yuan, Xiaojie Tan, Daoyou Feng, Paul Andre Michels, Soon Chung Park, Yong Ae Yue. The name of the other two victims, Hyun Jung Grant nd Suncha Kim, had not been released until Friday morning.
Community members placed flower bouquets and lit six large candles in the middle of the plaza. Volunteers handed out smaller candles to the attendees beneath the No. 7 train tracks.
"This is how [action] begins, by creating space for each other, by building community, and mutual trust,” Won told attendees. “To remember the faces of your neighbors, the name of your neighbors. That we will not be silent bystanders.”
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