Despite a record number of racist and violent attacks against people of Asian descent in the U.S., many victims don't come forward and Alex Wong was one of them.
The Canada-born ballet dancer, whose career span Broadway shows, "So You Think You Can Dance" and blockbusters like "The Greatest Showman" and "In the Heights," says he has been shaken by recent attacks against the Asian community and now wants to speak out about his experience with violence that occurred in New York City earlier this month.
Wong says he was riding his bike through Midtown on March 3 when a group of strangers started throwing rocks at him, pelting him in the head.
"I thought – 'oh is their goal to hit as many Asians in the head today as possible?'" Wong recalled. "Physically I wasn’t hurt, but it made me question – why was I targeted? And I stopped, that’s when I did a video diary."
The 34-year-old recorded the aftermath but he held off on sharing the video until this week, following the mass shooting spree in Atlanta that killed six Asian women and two others. Wong said he could no longer stay silent.
"I didn’t want to draw attention to myself – but in light of recent events happening, I felt it was part of the issue," he said. "I talked to a lot of my friends… do you think I was targeted because I'm Asian? I can't say for sure that I am."
While it's unclear whether Wong was attacked simply because he is Asian, the nationwide rise in violence against Asians has led to many community gatherings in New York City. Activist organizers and elected officials rallied in Queens on Thursday to call for an end to hateful attacks.
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"We have been suffering through a pandemic, and suffering from a virus called racism," said Charles Yoon, president of the Korean American Association of Greater New York.
Mayor Bill de Blasio also attended the event. He said there's no place for hatred in the city.
"We need to fight white supremacy in our nation and end the bloodshed once and for all," de Blasio said in a tweet.
The calls for change come as Congress held a hearing on Capitol Hill on anti-Asian discrimination for the first time in more than three decades.
Wong says he hopes that he can use his platform to start a conversation that will help bring an end to the violence. "I don’t have a quick solution, I think its about awareness, education," he said.
Meanwhile, the NYPD's hate crime task force says officers are investigation another attack, this time against a 13-year-old boy at a basketball court in Queens. Other teens allegedly threw a basketball at the boy while telling him to go back to his country.
Separately, a 33-year-old Asian woman reported to police that a man spat at her on Wednesday night and called her a racial slur while she was walking her dog in Lower Manhattan, the Daily News reported.