By Lillian Bit & Nancy Hung, AsAmNews Contributors
On Friday, China Mac and William Lex Ham woke up happy and energized to meet anyone who would like to meet them at an action rally to help save businesses in Manhattan Chinatown.
They gathered at Washington Square Park and marched as they have been to highlight the call to #“Fight the Virus, Not the People “ and to help promote Chinatown businesses.
The idea that links this march to their prior marches is that the Asian racism that has heightened during Covid19 has also decimated Chinatown businesses all across the nation. This was their 3rd march in two months in NYC. (More on their other two marches later).
We were treated to a few places that China Mac knew about in Chinatown and one of the places that China Mac favored growing up. There was Big Wong, a Chinese seafood restaurant, where he encouraged everyone to spend money and buy any dishes – his favorite is Som Bow Fan – a dish of rice covered with roast pork, duck and egg. We also stopped at Taipan Bakery and China Mac and a few people bought delicious egg tarts and pastries and water bottles for everyone.
China Mac and Wil Ham asked us to buy lunch takeout of our choice and meet in half hour at Columbus Park nearby to “break bread” together. When we got there with our food , China Mac treated everyone with boxes of Mei Lai Wah”s famous delicious roast pork buns. He generously offered everyone in the park the buns and wherever we stopped he would give out the food he bought to passerby’s and we had a wonderful day bringing some business into Chinatown. China Mac’s intention today is to give back to a community where he grew up and took from.
In addition, China Mac and Wil Ham have started a Go Fund Me for #Savebusinessesinchinatown where all proceeds will go to businesses in Chinatown. A $15k goal is the target.
Rapper China Mac and political activist William Lex Ham have aligned together since July and August 2020 to organize two protest rallies to highlight the heinous attack of an 89 year old Chinese Grandma by two men who slapped her and set her on fire on July 14, 2020. Grandma, now well known to be a feisty survivor, put out the fire by backing repeatedly into a wall. She walked to the police precinct and was told to go home and call 911.
Outraged by this attack and the lack of response by the police, China Mac contacted Wil Ham and with their prepared chanting cries of “When Asians Get Attacked”, “Stand Up and Fight Back” – 500 marchers and then 250 marchers respectively at the two protests followed their lead. Each march went on for 3-5 miles always ending up at the final destination of a police precinct where loud chants of why hasn’t more been done to investigate and find the attackers and furthermore why this crime has not been elevated to the status of a hate crime.
Don Lee who is board chair of the HomeCrest Community Services where Grandma sought services entered the picture first as a liaison when China Mac and Wil Ham visited Grandma. He became more heavily involved with the protest movement too and started a change.org petition to get signatures from the community to Stop The Hate Against Asians. He will be the key person to follow up on the petition which has reached more than 39k signatures.
At that meeting, Grandma finally met China Mac and Wil Ham and thanked them and gave them her blessings and encouraged them to continue their marches. She said she would march if she were able and said don’t allow anyone to harass Chinese people.
Because of the mighty protest movement efforts of China Mac and Wil Ham, and the change.org petition initiated by Don Lee, more pressure was placed upon the police to come up with an answer. An answer
came coincidentally 2 days after the 2nd protest.
The process began in May 2020 -launched by an Asian American Deputy Inspector named Stewart Loo and NYPD Chief of Detectives Rodney Harrison. They formed a 25 -man multilingual Asian Hate Crime Police Task Force. The task force was announced on August 20 set up to investigate crimes that have become increasingly worse on the Asian community in NYC especially during the Covid period. China Mac, Wil Ham and Don Lee believe the efforts from the two protests pushed the formation of this hate crime unit to be announced more quickly. They will be investigating the attack on Grandma.
According to China Mac and Ham, this is just the beginning of their quest to enact change. They encourage Asians to speak up loud for their rights and to report crime and not be afraid to fight back and be heard.
Furthermore they want people to vote. They encouraged everyone from our community and it’s political leaders to stand with them together in unity because together in mass they can make a difference. China Mac and Wil Ham are also grateful for our non- Asian allies which comprised a great percentage of the people who supported their quest to stop the hate crimes against Asians. And to make it loud and clear for us to unify and support all races as one.
On Saturday, the two took part in a march for Black Women and Children in the Bronx and will participate in another on Sunday for Yousef Hawkins in Bensonhurst, Brooklyn.
In addition, because of the high demand for their advocacy from other states – China Mac and Wil Ham are going to hold rallies in Los Angeles on Sept 5 and in SanFrancisco a week after.
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