Locals were dismayed as they walked Bay Ridge and Dyker Heights streets on Wednesday and saw flyers disparaging Chinese-Americans. One sign read, “Chinese are destroying Bay Ridge.”
Jade Jiang, a local resident, said, “I live in Bay Ridge and my fiance and I grew up in Dyker Heights so we’re not surprised by this kind of xenophobic mentality in the neighborhood. We are outraged by the blatant display, so we decided that we need to call these people out.”
Jiang said locals suggested that she take the high road and ignore bigots.
“But I think it’s more important to have a conversation and learn through our differences,” she said. “More often than not, people learn that we actually have much more in common and find much common ground.”
She urged that local authorities and policymakers take action against what she describes as a hate crime.
“It’s not enough to just remove these postings,” Jiang said. “We can’t just sweep it under the rug and hope people eventually do better. I’ve reached out to the councilman and senator as well. I think it’s a shame that people are more and more brazen with their displays of racist attitudes. With so much going right now, this is the least productive thing someone can do.”
“Yesterday, our office was made aware of some hateful and xenophobic posters taped to lampposts around Bay Ridge and Dyker Heights,” said Councilmember Justin Brannan. “The disgusting messages were aimed at our Chinese-American neighbors. I am disgusted, disappointed and angry this is happening in our community. In this time of great crisis, we must stand together, and we can do that by showing kindness and empathy to each other through our words and actions.”
He also said he was thankful several locals sent him the photos and tore the signs down.
“Hate has no place in our community and it will not be tolerated,” he said. “Period.”
“I’ve been made aware of some horrific posters denigrating Chinese-Americans posted on light poles around parts of Bay Ridge and Dyker Heights,” said State Senator Andrew Gounardes. “I’m disgusted by these vile messages and urge anyone who sees them to tear them down.”
Some neighbors have replaced the messages of hate with posters of support. One read, “Bay Ridge does not welcome racists. Bay Ridge does not stand for hate speech. We honor all of our community members and love each other. There is no place for hate in our community. The poster in question was meant to cause division and hatred through insane, unsound, and racist hate speech.”
Jiang was happy with the new signs.
“People should focus their energy on more positive vibes!” she said. “Seeing the community quickly come around to post the ‘Bay Ridge loves all our neighbors’ was really heartwarming. The community has also been involved in organizing BLM protests that comes to show there are lots of good people in Bay Ridge.”