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Main Street Patrol
Main Street Patrol
Main Street Patrol
Main Street Patrol is a female-led, diverse, and multifaceted group, dedicated to protecting its beloved Flushing community by standing up against xenophobia, speaking out against racism, and safeguarding the neighborhood from anti-Asian hate crimes. Since the pandemic, anti-Asian hate crimes have increased an estimated 150%, according to the CSUSB. However, anti-Asian sentiments and behavior have existed long before the pandemic. While anti-Asian sentiments are not new in our nation's history, this recent physical violence is a new wave being felt by our community of this generation. It is a dangerous trend and needs to be stopped in its tracks. Our organization was born as a direct response to an anti-asian incident that took place in our neighborhood of Flushing. Teresa Ting, president and founder, noticed another form of the pandemic on the rise: the lack of response from bystanders and onlookers. Whether this discrepancy was a result of society’s lack of empathy, absence of bystander education, or perhaps a mixture of both, she knew that taking action was the best way to alter this dynamic and bring about change. Her purpose was to equip individuals with the proper knowledge to better protect themselves, and each other to navigate their daily lives safely with confidence. Our initiatives lend a helping hand in fostering a community of proactive upstanders who continue to show up, speak up, and stand up for one another.
About the Organization:
$0 - $50,000
Main Street Patrol (MSP) was founded at the height of the Covid-19 pandemic when anti-Asian hate was at an all time high. According to the Center for the Study of Hate and Extremism, there was a 223% increase in Anti-AAPI hate crimes in New York City between the first quarter of 2020 and the first quarter of 2021. In February 2021, anti-Asian hate crimes were reported in our native downtown Flushing, which is predominantly Asian. According to Stop AAPI Hate, 7.6% of all hate crimes reported in the United States in 2021 were against AAPI residents over 60. In 2021, one in four Asian Americans over 60 said they had experienced a physical assault.
As a result of speaking to locals in the community, MSP found that many elderly residents prefer keeping incidents to themselves because they either were not wanting to draw further attention or did not know how to file a police report due to a language barrier. Our first course of action at Main Street Patrol was to defend the residents of Flushing, particularly elderly residents who may not be able to defend themselves. When MSP first began safeguarding the residents of Flushing, there was a lack of resources about self-defense, specifically those made for the AAPI community. MSP believes that if more AAPI individuals and communities had access to self-defense educational materials, people would be better equipped to intervene, de-escalate, and possibly help prevent hate crimes from becoming physically violent incidents.
Initially, MSP organized patrol groups that circulated downtown Flushing and provided free self-defense workshops to residents that focused on situational awareness, physical self-defense, and the 5-D’s of Bystander Intervention from RightToBe. Because these workshops were only limited to our community in Queens, we decided to share these recorded sessions on our social media platforms to reach a wider audience. The level of engagement of these longer videos was low compared to quick posts and stories that contained less information. Main Street Patrol is shifting our media strategy to suit social media platforms so we can engage and educate more people on self-defense and situational awareness.
Main Street Patrol began by offering protection to the Flushing community, especially for the elderly residents who are the most physically vulnerable and often have a language barrier. We formed a volunteer community patrol group that consisted mostly of millennials and Gen-Z’s, most of whom were from the AAPI community and were bilingual in English and another language (Cantonese, Korean, Tagalog etc.) Patrol groups circulated downtown Flushing on a weekly basis with efforts to de-escalate incidents using the 5 D’s of Bystander Intervention (RightToBe.org, fka “Hollaback!”).
Our goal was not only to protect the residents of the Flushing community, but to spread awareness about Bystander Intervention beyond Queens. We decided to focus on reaching a wider audience via social media. We noticed that the content on TikTok and Instagram had the highest levels of engagement. We created videos with interesting visuals that delivered simple content, and found that they performed better than our previous posts, which were far lengthier.
MSP is planning to release more videos on TikTok, Instagram, YouTube, and our website mainstreetpatrol.org. These videos will highlight ways that millennials and Gen-Zs can protect not only themselves but the AAPI elderly in their community. MSP plans to work with a videographer and film editor to produce high quality videos that engage and educate viewers, translators to transcribe the videos into multiple languages, and a social media manager to put out the videos across all social media platforms, including on Asian language dominant platforms such as WeChat, KakaoTalk, etc. Videos will focus on Bystander Intervention techniques and other street safety tips that viewers can incorporate into their daily routines.
Our organization aims to create about 15 videos this year, with most edited to suit TikTok and Instagram. Our videos will focus on telling entertaining stories and feature AAPI talent including actors, comedians, and musicians. Downtown Flushing will serve as the location for most of the videos. MSP has long supported and partnered with local small businesses in Flushing. MSP hopes that these videos will also serve as a promotion for AAPI owned businesses in our community.