Local organization sounding alarm on hate with Asian American attacks on the rise

FLUSHING, Queens (WABC) -- With a wave of attacks on Asian Americans on the rise, one local organization is sounding the alarm against hate.

In a dark hour of need, a handheld device is meant to serve as a beacon of hope. A light and siren are meant to draw attention to the scene until the victim can get away and call 911.

"If you find that there is a person or an attacker, turn it on, drop it and leave," said Gilbert Chan.

Chan and Barbara Yau are two childhood friends who co-founded 'Safe from Hate,' and developed the personal alarms last year.

"We saw during the early stages of the pandemic, the seniors and elderly were afraid to be out on the streets," said Chan.

Now, with a wave of anti-Asian attacks across the region, the organization, through community financial donations is arming even more residents with the free tool.

Safe from Hate has donated 3,000 alarms to date. One of the recipients is the Korean American Family Service Center. Volunteers at the center help victims of domestic abuse and sexual assault.

"We received 300 alarms - within a week they were gone," said Executive Director Jeehae Fischer.

Fischer says since the pandemic started, calls into the center's 24-hour hotline have tripled.

"There is a sharp rise in anti-Asian hate," she added.

Fischer says the alarm has already made the difference in a potentially deadly situation.

"She actually pushed the button when the abuser came to her with a knife, and the neighbor heard the alarm and called the cops," she said.

Chan says this is not the answer to end hate against women and Asian Americans.

"This is only a Band-Aid to what's going on," he said.

The hope is to empower the community.

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A good Samaritan tried to intervene and several other strangers helped protect the victim as the attacker raged on.

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