July 20, 2022 By Michael Dorgan
Queens lawmakers and local leaders held a rally in Woodhaven Tuesday condemning an alleged racist attack on a white woman that took place earlier this month—and hate crimes in general.
The rally was held on Woodhaven Boulevard near Jamaica Avenue, close to where a white woman was allegedly attacked by three Black female suspects while riding an MTA bus.
The event was organized by Assemblywoman Jenifer Rajkumar who slammed the attack where Jill LeCroix, 57, a white woman, was struck in the head with an unknown object while riding a Rockaway-bound Q53 bus.
Police say the trio hurled anti-white epithets at the woman during the July 9 confrontation and the NY Daily News reported that one of the suspects shouted: “I hate white people…the way they talk,” at the victim.
The rally was attended by several lawmakers including State Senator Joseph Addabbo, Assemblyman David Weprin, as well as Councilmembers Robert Holden and Joann Ariola. Members of the NYPD, the director of the Mayor’s Office of Criminal Justice Deanna Logan, Community Board 9 Chair Shery Algredo, as well as representatives from local residents associations, were also present.
LeCroix also attended Tuesday’s rally having been treated for a cut in the hospital after the attack and then released.
Rajkumar denounced the attack on LeCroix and condemned all forms of hate crimes.
“We stand together today to put our full force against this epidemic of hate,” Rajkumar said.
“Hate based on someone’s race, religion, ethnic background is un-American…. No matter your background, you should be safe on the streets and in public transport.”
Rajkumar said it was unacceptable that hate crimes across the city had doubled last year, citing NYPD year-on-year data released in early December. She said anti-Asian crime was up 361 percent while anti-LGBTQ hate crimes were up 193 percent and anti-Semitic hate crimes had jumped by 51 percent.
She outlined a three-point solution plan to tackle the problem.
The first point involved backing the NYPD and strengthening laws against repeat offenders. The next point was to prevent crimes by boosting social services for at-risk youth, improving education, keeping children away from drugs and inspiring young people to seek out alternatives to a life of crime.
Her final point was to foster better relationships between the police, residents, and business owners.
“Without public safety, the people of our city cannot thrive, without public safety there can be no prosperity,” Rajkumar said.
Addabbo echoed Rajkumar’s sentiments and said the rise in hate crimes must be addressed. He said he also supported Rajkumar’s plan to combat the issue.
“We live in Queens, the most diverse borough in the world and… nobody should live in fear of hatred and discrimination,” Addabbo.
“And we in Queens have to make that a symbol for us going forward.”
Addabbo noted that in the last state budget, all hate crimes that previously carried only a desk ticket were upgraded to being arrest eligible.
Furthermore, he said Governor Hochul signed a bill in June requiring social media companies to act on reports of hateful conduct online.
Meanwhile, Holden was pessimistic about the situation saying judges and District Attorneys are not doing enough to clamp down on hate crimes.
“It’s going to keep happening folks, I’m sorry to say,” Holden said.
“If you commit a hate crime you should be in jail.”
I proudly joined my colleagues and stood with Jill LeCroix, a Queens grandmother who was brutally assaulted in a bloody hate crime while riding a bus. Hate has no place in this city. #justiceforjill pic.twitter.com/fQSAdLptpN
— Robert Holden (@BobHoldenNYC) July 19, 2022