April 22, 2021 By Ryan Songalia
More than 400 Asian Americans have signed a petition in opposition to the mayoral candidacy of Andrew Yang.
The petition, titled Asian and Pacific Islander New Yorkers Against Andrew Yang, went live on Wednesday, with 403 signatories criticizing the Taiwanese-American businessman turned politician.
Yang, who leads in the latest Spectrum News NY1/Ipsos Democratic primary poll by 9 points at 22 percent, would be the city’s first Asian American mayor if elected.
“Your track record, actions, and proposed policies concern us, as they do not uplift marginalized APIA, BIPOC, immigrant, and working class members of this city,” reads the petition letter.
Yang’s critics have argued that he’s made a number of controversial statements.
Yang has been criticized for a Washington Post op-ed that he penned last April, which called on Asian Americans to “show our American-ness.” Former Yang employees also allege in a New York Times article that Yang remarked that black applicants “might simply not be the best fit” for Venture for America, a business fellowship program he founded.
The group is also critical of Yang’s position of increasing the police presence in subways—which they say is detrimental to homeless people who often use the subways for shelter. They also disagree with his calls to increase funding for the NYPD hate crimes task force instead of pursuing community based alternatives.
“There are candidates more aligned with social and racial justice values, with deeper commitments to APIA and BIPOC communities, whose mayoralty would actually benefit our communities, and they are not getting the attention they deserve,” the petition letter reads.
Among those who have signed the petition are two Asian Americans running for city council seats in Queens: Carolyn Tran in District 25 and Hailie Kim in District 26
Kim, a Korean American from Sunnyside, cited issues where she differed from Yang, like Yang’s support of charter schools. She also disagrees with Yang’s call to rein in unlicensed street vendors.
She argues that Yang’s plans on healthcare are vague, and said she would like to see him expand the public option at the city level.
“Unfortunately, Andrew Yang and I don’t see eye to eye on the solutions my community needs,” Kim said.
Tran, a Vietnamese American from Jackson Heights, tweeted Wednesday: “[Yang’s] stance of what it means to be American’, calling for increase policing as a solution to violence and supporting policies that further segregate our public schools are not progressive. This is why I signed onto this letter along with 400+ AAPIs.”
Yang has garnered endorsements from some prominent Asian American politicians in New York, including Queens-based Assembly member Ron Kim.
Ron Kim told CityandState that he would try to push Yang towards addressing inequities that Asian Americans face, while urging him to pay attention to the criticism from progressive groups.