As employers call workers back to the office, some AAPI women worry –

An attendee, identified as Emily (left), holds a candle during the Candlelight Watch for Michelle Go at Portsmouth Square in San Francisco. California, Tuesday, Jan. 18, 2022.

Stephen Lam | Getty Images

Shortly after Deloitte’s mentor Michelle Go was pushed to death under a moving R train in January. Another New Yorker vows to take the subway.

Instead of taking the No. 6 train to her desk at Dime Bank in midtown Manhattan. A young Asian-American manager in her late 30s goes to work. She said the fear she was unable to shake was that she would be alone on the platform with an unfamiliar person. And she will suffer the same fate as 40-year-old Go.

“You don’t feel that the city cares or is willing to do anything about it,” said the woman, who asked to remain anonymous. “You feel insecure. I don’t want the next headline. So I walked out.”

One thing that has been lost since the coronavirus outbreak began more than two years ago is a sense of safety in public places. Asian Americans feel the loss has been exacerbated by increasing events of bias. There have been 10,905 sample cases by Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders since the beginning of the pandemic through the end of 2021, according to the Stop AAPI Hate advocacy group.

Women accounted for 62% of reported incidents, according to Stop AAPI Hate, which was created in early 2020 to document the sharp rise in harassment and violence related to Covid.

Jo-Ann Yoo, executive director of the Asian American Federation, said that as an employer especially those in financial services. Consulting and legal efforts to bring workers back to office this year. Feelings of panic are common among AAPI women.

“When the city starts to open I had a lot of conversations: ‘I expected to go to work and I was scared. I’m afraid to take the subway,’” Yu said.

brutal random

The start of the coronavirus in 2020 causes random attacks on Asian Americans. Some were caught in the grainy surveillance video, causing the incident to go viral and gain local coverage.

Then, after eight people were killed in a mass shooting in the Atlanta area in March 2021, most of them were female AAPI spa workers. The worrisome trend has gained national attention. While the event encourages a new generation of activists. More attacks will follow. Weeks after Go’s death in January, 35-year-old creative producer Christina Yuna Lee was stabbed to death in her Chinatown apartment.

Then in March, seven AAPI women were assaulted during a two-hour spree in Manhattan, sixty-one-year-old GuiYing Ma. who was smashed in the head by a stone as she swept her sidewalk in Queens. She succumbed to her injuries and died and the 67-year-old Yonkers City woman was beaten 125 times in front of her apartment building.

The attacks have drawn national attention to AAPI’s concern for the first time in decades: the murder and assault of seemingly senseless and unconscious women, for example, in these incidents are evidence of racial bias. and gender that is hard to argue

“This is a bitter time. Because our problem has finally caught our attention,” said San Francisco activist Cynthia Choi. Stop AAPI Hate co-founder said, “There’s a part of me that’s like, ‘Why do Asian women have to die for us to take these issues seriously?’”

Cynthia Choi, Co-Executive Director, Chinese for Affirmative Action, speaks during a press conference with Gov. Gavin Newsom and Bay Area Asian-American and Pacific Islander community leaders amid growing racist attacks across the country on March 19, 2017. 2021 in San Francisco, California

Dai Sugano | Media News Group | Getty Images

The largest type of incident followed by Stop AAPI Hate involved verbal abuse (67%), while the second largest incident involved physical abuse (16%). About half occurred in public. including on roads, public transport and parks. according to the information of the organization

“We have to recognize that we have a problem with harassment and violence against women in the streets,” Choi said. What might be different is an unprecedented level of hatred. It depends on our race or gender. or both increasing the severity of COVID-19.”

More than 70 percent of Asian Americans surveyed by the Pew Research Center last month said they were worried they might be harassed or attacked because of their ethnicity. And the vast majority of respondents said the violence against AAPI was increasing.

‘Even in broad daylight’

The experiences of half a dozen AAPI women living in New York, Chicago and San Francisco are vastly different. Some people feel a little nervous each day. Due to car trips or remote offices, others felt the pandemic only underscored the concerns they had as a minority of women.

Most adjust their lives in some way to deal with anxiety. My An Le, a New York-based broker, says she rarely leaves her apartment. When she does, she’s armed with pepper spray.

“It really sucks because I used to walk everywhere with my AirPods on and listen to serial killer podcasts,” Le said. I always have the baton in my pocket. even in broad daylight.”

“I never felt fear in Manhattan before the attack,” she added.

Another woman, an Aetna employee who traveled from Park Slope, Brooklyn, to her company’s office in central Manhattan said she began taking Krav Maga self-defense classes after the AAPI attack. Last year, training “helped you feel more confident,” she said.

The others were not deterred from attacking. The 45-year-old investment banker said she took extra caution while taking the subway from SoHo to her company’s Times Square headquarters. She said she was “very careful” on the train and had a phone call. Carry it with you in case you need to make an emergency call.

Although that didn’t stop her from going to the city 3-4 times a week. But, she said, that reminds me of Michelle Go’s death almost every day.

“Michelle works in finance and consulting. And she died in my subway, ”said the managing director. “But I have the same nasty reaction as everyone else. [the incidents].”

The AAPI attacks are also part of the story of American violence. Last year, 12 cities set new homicide records. In the past two weeks, just two weeks. A Goldman Sachs employee was killed in broad daylight on a subway train, 10 people shot to death in a racially motivated attack at a Buffalo supermarket, 19 children and two teachers. A man was killed in a shooting at Uvald, Texas, an elementary school.

‘Hard to go back’

The decline in public safety is one factor forcing employers to recruit more workers back into their offices. The continued spread of the latest coronavirus strain is another, and finally, when privileges like hybrid work become standard. Employees with the option will not assume full-time office positions. According to Dime executives

“Once you taste flexibility It’s hard for people to go back,” she said. And when you tell people to do it full time face to face You’ve lost a lot of applicants.”

As a result, only 8% of Manhattan office workers return full-time, according to the Partnership for New York City. Employers reluctantly accept the hybrid work style. As a result, 38% of employees are at the office on average weekdays.

But that means the city’s subways are still below pre-epidemic levels. That raises safety concerns, she said.

“The city is not as safe as it used to be,” said a Dime executive. “If it’s at night, I’ll only ride an Uber.”

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