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Community rallies behind Fil-Am mom, son racially attacked in New York

Don Tagala | TFC News New York

Posted at Mar 17 2023 09:07 PM

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The community of Queens in New York has expressed support for the Filipino-American mother and son who became victims of hate-driven assault earlier in March.

Queens Borough leader Donovan Richards, together with elected officials in Queens, joined calls for justice for Cecille Lai and her son Kyle.

"We stand together in unison to stand against any hate, bigotry and violence," Richards said. "We will not tolerate that in this country."

Cecille and Kyle —  without provocation —  were subjected to insults and were physically attacked by three strangers in the neighborhood of Corona in Queens.

Two of the three attackers have been arrested since then.

Natalie Plaza and Elijah Fernandez were charged with Class E felony assault as a hate crime for the said assault.

Court records showed that the suspects were also charged with aggravated harassment in the second degree, a Class A misdemeanor.

New York State Assemblyman Steven Raga, a Filipino-American, said reporting such cases is crucial.

"If you don't report it to the local police precinct they think it's not happening," he said. "If it's not happening, they will not address it so we have to do this to support each other, that we speak up and make sure this stops soon."

Shekar Krishnan, a member of the New York City Council, also said the expression of solidarity aimed to show that "an attack on one of us is an attack on all of us."

Plaza and Fernandez are expected to appear once more before the Queens criminal court on May 1.

Authorities have yet to identify the third suspect, who remains at large.