Asian woman brutally attacked in NYC hopes to be a voice against hate

MIDTOWN, Manhattan (WABC) -- A 65-year-old Asian woman who was viciously attacked in Midtown in a horrific incident that made national headlines is continuing to speak about her ordeal, raising awareness as hate crimes continue against people of Asian descent.

It's been almost two months since Vilma Kari was assaulted on her way to church during Easter week, and she is still recovering.

"Physically, I'm doing well," she said. "But mentally, emotionally, I'm not there yet."

The 65-year-old Filipina American was kicked to the ground on West 43rd in Hell's Kitchen in broad daylight, and no one came to her assistance.

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A 65-year-old Asian woman is speaking exclusively to Eyewitness News after she was viciously attacked in Midtown in a horrific incident that made national headlines.


Surveillance video of the beating outraged the city and led to two doormen getting fired as they watched the assault play out in front of their building.

Police arrested a suspect who was on parole after serving 17 years in prison for fatally stabbing his own mother.

Kari is still using a walker after she suffered a broken pelvis and a head wound in the attack. She is one of many Asian Americans who've been the victim of hate crimes over the past year.

"'F you, Asian, you don't belong here' was the gist of what he said before the attack," said daughter Elizabeth Kari, who learned of the attack while watching TV. "I remember just screaming, 'That's my mom, that's my mom.' I had to get up from the sofa because I couldn't breathe.

Vilma said she is continuing to speak out for a powerful reason.

"There's so many victims that have not been heard, from their stories, you know?" she said. "And maybe I could be a voice."

She is a woman of faith, living it even when it comes to the man accused in the ruthless assault.

"I prayed for him, because I felt he needed prayers," she said. "That's the only thing I could do for him, in the hopes in someday he reforms or he finds the right medicine."

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The doormen watched from the lobby as 65-year-old Vilma Kari was repeatedly kicked and stomped, the video showed.


She is also thanking the many people around the world who've sent words and prayers of support.

"I would tell all of them thank you from my heart," she said. "Because it has helped me, and it is still helping me in my recovery."

Brandon Elliot is charged with two counts of second-degree assault as a hate crime and one count of first-degree attempted assault as a hate crime.

If convicted, he faces up to 25 years in prison, as well as other consequences related to his lifetime parole.

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