A group of runners in New York City came together Monday night, eight days after Christina Yuna Lee was murdered, to honor her life and bring greater awareness to crime against Asian Americans through their run, ABC 7 New York reports.
Lee, a 35-year-old senior creative producer for the digital music platform Splice, was stabbed to death by a homeless man who followed her into her apartment in Manhattan’s Chinatown.
‘Run for Chinatown’ runs around the perimeter of Chinatown every Monday night. It first formed to help struggling businesses when COVID led to economic hardship within the community. Last night, the group decided to run 35 miles, one for each year of Lee’s life, NBC New York reports.
The runners circled around the block where Lee lived 175 times, a pursuit that took them 7 or 8 hours. Others ran 35 minutes or took 35 laps around the park across the street.
Although its organizers did not personally know Lee, they decided to organize a run in her memory.
“She fought so hard even in her last moments, and we’re doing this for her, we’re doing this for all of us,” Joanne Wong, one leader of the run, told NBC New York.
Wong and her fellow organizer, Elizabeth Yan, believe Lee’s death is connected to a surge in anti-Asian violence in New York. The police have not said her death is a hate crime, but the memorial outside her building, including posters about stopping anti-Asian hate, seems to reflect the beliefs of the neighborhood and greater city.
Yan echoes these sentiments and seems to see the run as a way to both honor Lee and heal Chinatown.
“We’re going to be here finishing the entire 35 miles,” Yan told ABC 7 New York. “But the point is that it takes the entire community to heal all of us and it takes the community for all of us to figure this out together.”
The run appears to be a step in the right direction towards healing.
“Of course the root of it is really sad, but it’s really joyful to have these people come together,” another runner, Pam Yang, told ABC 7 New York. “To make noise to be loud and take space in the streets and to feel like we’re reclaiming that space a little bit [is] really beautiful.”
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