Alarms distributed to NY Chinatown Seniors to keep them safe from hate

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Members of safe from hate give away alarms to Chinatown seniors in New York City
Chinatown seniors to get free alarms from Safe from Hate

By Lillian Bit, AsAmNews Contributor

“Safe from Hate “ is a campaign initiative started by two lifelong friends Barbara Yau and Gilbert Chan  who grew up in Chinatown and attended elementary school together 40 years ago.

One day in March while reports of attacks on Asians were growing during COVID-19, they thought of an idea to arm Asian senior citizens with loud alarm devices which they can use to call for help in case of an attack.  The device would give a person time to run away or get help from others nearby.

Safe from Hate volunteers gather in Confucius Plaza in Manhattan Chinatown
Safe from Hate volunteers gather in Confucius Plaza in Manhattan Chinatown

Yau and Chan generously funded the project themselves.  They approached the board members  of Confucius Plaza  -an apartment complex mainly for low income Asian senior citizens in Manhattan’s Chinatown to collaborate on their idea. Together they  provided free alarms and operating instructions to residents 60 years of age and over.

a Safe from Hate volunteer instructs seniors how to use their new alarms
a Safe from Hate volunteer instructs seniors how to use their new alarms

This weekend, Yau and Chan and many volunteers distributed the alarms to over 500 people who are residents of Confucius Plaza and had already pre-registered for the alarms in mid-July.

A line that stretched a b block forms for a free alarm giveaway from Safe from Hate

A long line about a block long started forming at  Confucius Plaza starting at 10 am for the alarms. The process of registration, operation and distribution  once started was fairly smooth  as volunteers who spoke both Chinese and English taught small groups to learn how to operate the alarm and light.

In addition to this safety Initiative, Barbara Yau is also involved with CAACNYC (Concerned Asian American Citizens of NYC). Its mission is to stop the hate and stop the violence of Asians. The organization has held two protest marches – one in May and the other in June this year to help educate the Asian community to report crimes to the police Department. There was also a “Send a message to Trump “ Day to make him stop using the terms “kung flu” and “Chinese virus”. Its usage by Trump have been blamed for inciting racist slurs, violence and hate of Asians. This year thousands of hate crimes and racist incidents of Asians have been reported across the United States.

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