By Jessica Moore

NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) – As the epidemic of hate crimes against Asian Americans continues to plague New York City, community leaders are talking about what they’re seeing on the ground and what City Hall needs to do to help.

As CBS2’s Jessica Moore reports. there’s been another attack on a member of the Asian American community. Wednesday, nonprofit leaders are taking a stand, saying the number of attacks is actually much higher and the emotional toll much greater.

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“For last 25 years, we’ve never seen anything like this. For seniors, this is the first time they’re feeling the fear like this, ever,” said Don Lee of HomeCrest Community Services. “They say ‘How can you help? I’m afraid to go out of my home to buy food and go to work. How can you help?’ We need real action.”

Community leaders say many hate crimes go unreported because victims are afraid to go to the police, or doubt their attackers will face real consequences.

“The community is living in fear. Hearing others speak out is very important. Currently NYPD work isn’t making our community feel any safe,” said Myoungmi Kim of Korean Community Services.

Friar Julian Jagudilla explained this firsthand when he was verbally attacked.

“The first thing that NYPD asked me was, ‘Were you hurt?’ And I said to him, ‘So you’re going to ask if I’m hurt, or you’re not going to do anything if I’m not bleeding?'” he said.

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“What can be done to encourage more people to report crimes?” Moore asked.

“First of all, you need to be easy for people to call in. So therefore, I think having the language assets will be very important. But also, I think we have to make a point to really demonstrate that we follow after they report a crime. But unfortunately, it’s not really happening,” Jagudilla said.

The Asian American Federation is asking the city for $10 million to fund its “Hope Against Hate” campaign. The money – 75% of which would go to community-based organizations – would be used to:

  • Hire and train safety ambassadors
  • Set up safe zones, like businesses or churches where victims could seek refuge during or after an attack
  • Fund victim assistance programs, providing mental health resources
  • Pay for self defense training in multiple languages

“Ten million is too expensive for a band aid, but it’s just a down payment for long term change,” said Ravi Reddi of the Asian American Federation.

The Federation is asking Council Speaker Corey Johnson to support the initiative.

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Several council members and the Manhattan borough president have also pledged their support to advocate for the funding.

Jessica Moore