Dec 1, 2021 - News

Hundreds rally against Asian hate after teens attacked on SEPTA

Supporters' signs at a rally against Asian hate in Philadelphia
Protesters leave their signs at The School District of Philadelphia's headquarters. Photo: Taylor Allen/Axios

Hundreds of people rallied against Asian hate in Philadelphia Tuesday after a group of teens attacked students of Asian descent on a SEPTA train last month.

Driving the news: Protesters gathered outside the Municipal Services Building in Center City and the School District of Philadelphia headquarters, holding signs that read, "Stop Asian Hate" and "Public Safety for All."

  • Many expressed support for Central High student Christina Lu, one of the victims who was attacked after trying to intervene.

The big picture: Anti-Asian hate crimes jumped over 76% nationwide from 2019 to 2020, according to FBI data updated in October.

The incident: Several teen girls were caught on camera attacking a group of students of Asian descent near SEPTA's Erie station on Nov. 17.

  • In one SEPTA surveillance video, the attackers can be heard using racial slurs.
  • A video of 18-year-old Lu being assaulted was shared on social media.

The response: The Philadelphia District Attorney's Office filed charges against four teenagers, including multiple counts of aggravated assault, ethnic intimidation, recklessly endangering another person and disorderly conduct.

  • SEPTA is working with the School District of Philadelphia and the Philadelphia Police Department.
  • The transit agency has also assigned an officer to ride the Broad Street Line that departs from Olney Transportation Center after school dismissal.

What they're saying: "Everyone has been calling me a hero, but I really am not," Lu told the crowd on Tuesday, CBS Philly reported. "I'm just an ordinary girl from an ordinary family who saw people in need of help and so I tried to help."

  • Lu said she'll continue to stand up against bullying and violence.

Protester Matt Zhang told Axios that he attended the rally to support Lu and the Asian community.

  • "I want everybody to be safe no matter if they are at school, on a bus or a train," Zhang said.
Matt Zhang from Northeast Philadelphia came out to support Christina Lu. Photo: Taylor Allen/Axios
Matt Zhang from Northeast Philadelphia outside Tuesday's rally. Photo: Taylor Allen/Axios

Of note: Philadelphia School District spokesperson Monica Lewis told Axios the district has "zero tolerance for bullying and harassment of any student."

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