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Volunteers Band Together To Keep Community Safe With Racist Attacks Against Asian Americans On The Rise

NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) - There's been a rise in hate crimes against Asian Americans since the start of the coronavirus pandemic, CBS2's Cindy Hsu reported.

In one example, a California tech CEO was caught on camera harassing an Asian American family at a restaurant.

In Texas, a hate crime attack left one man and his 2-year-old son slashed across the face.

In Brooklyn, a man poured acid on an Asian American woman.

There have been more than 2,000 reported hate crime incidents against Asian Americans since the pandemic started.

Shirley Ng, a community activist, said many Asians, especially older immigrants, will not report bias attacks.

"Back in the homeland, they felt they couldn't make an impact in their government so, again, they carry it over here," she said.

Ng and the group Concerned Asian American Citizens of New York launched a "Stop the Hate" campaign.

They designed a poster explaining how to report a suspected bias attack in several languages.

"We are making this movement to get Asian Americans to be courageous and fearless to report the crime to local authorities if you aren't able to or are afraid to grab a friend or relative to go with you," said Ng.

The group also invited people to write messages against racism on the posters, then sent them to the White House.

"Asian is not a virus. Stop the hate," said Ng. "We are not the cause and don't judge us by our skin. Just because we don't look like you, we are Americans, just all the same."

Volunteers also formed a group called Chinatown Block Watch. Members patrol the streets, looking to protect residents.

The Block Watch came together, dressed in bright orange, months ago to protect businesses from looting and neighbors from racial attacks.

"Pretty much everybody on the Block Watch knows somebody who has experienced some kind of racial abuse," said Greyson Chin, one of the volunteers. "Some people have been spit on, just kind of racial bullying passing by on the streets."

The Chinatown Block Watch patrols three time a week, checking in on local businesses and making sure the neighborhood's most vulnerable - seniors and children - are safe.

Chin said it hits the group hard whenever there is a bias attack.

"You feel very powerless, you want somebody to say something. You want it to change," said Chin. "At least people will see something that we're doing to protect ourselves and I think that's very powerful."

The Stop the Hate campaign plans to hold a march from Columbus Park on Mulberry Street to Washington Square Park on July 25.

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