National News Recap: NYC Anti-Asian violence and the ‘Don’t Say Gay’ bill

People hold signs during a rally in response to the killing of Christina Yuna Lee in the Chinatown section of New York, Monday, Feb. 14, 2022. Lee was stabbed to death inside her lower Manhattan apartment by a man who followed her from the street into her building, authorities said. Photo by Seth Wenig/AP Photo.

Christina Yuna Lee was a 35-year-old Korean American who was brutally killed on Feb. 13 in New York City. She was stabbed by Assamad Nash at least 40 times in her home as reported by CNN.  

Lee’s murder happened less than a month after Michelle Alyssa Go, another Asian American woman, was killed after being pushed in front of a subway train in Times Square. Both murders are currently undergong investigation about possible racial motives according to AP News and the New York Post

Lee most recently worked as senior creative producer for an online media platform called Splice, according to a PBS article. She was described as a creative person by those who knew her.  

“Christina was full of life. She radiated positivity, joy and love. She supported her friends in everything that they did. She went above and beyond to make those she loved know she was there for them—never expecting anything in return,” Lee’s family and friends wrote on the page in her honor. 

According to its page, the Christina Yuna Lee Memorial Fund on GoFundMe aims to raise money to donate to various groups. Her family also created a memorial outside her apartment that was later vandalized according to the New York Post. However, Lee’s case was not an anomaly. According to NBC news, there has been an increase in anti-Asian hate crimes since last year. 

“The compilation of hate crime data, published by the Center for the Study of Hate and Extremism, revealed that anti-Asian hate crime increased by 339 percent last year compared to the year before, with New York, San Francisco, Los Angeles and other cities surpassing their record numbers in 2020,” wrote Kimmy Yam in the NBC article. The article says that anti-China rhetoric in the pandemic drives people to commit these crimes.  

In other news, Florida advances legislation that will regulate how students learn about sexuality and gender. People who opposed the legislation labeled it the “Don’t Say Gay” bill. According to the bill, schools will not be able to teach primary grade levels about sexuality or gender. 

Assamad Nash, 25, who was arrested on charges of murder and burglary in the death of Christina Yuna Lee, enters a courtroom in New York, Monday, Feb. 14, 2022. Lee was found stabbed to death inside her lower Manhattan apartment. Photo by Curtis Means/AP Photo.

“A school district may not encourage classroom discussion about sexual orientation or gender identity in primary grade levels or in a manner that is not age-appropriate or developmentally appropriate for students”. 

A CBS News article writes that critics worry that not all LGBTQIA+ students have supportive homes. They argue that learning about sexuality and gender is a way for children to make connections that can help as they navigate their identities.  

Florida Republican Gov. Ron DeSantis voiced his support for the bill. Tennessee and Montana put in place similar regulations last year as reported by a BBC News report. However, those statues were milder in the sense that Florida’s bill allows parents to sue schools for any violations of the “Don’t Say Gay” bill. Florida’s bill would take effect July 1, 2022.

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