Hateful, anti-Chinese signage posted around Bay Ridge and Dyker Heights sparked outrage in neighborhood residents — who ripped them down and posted their own flyers spreading messages of inclusion.
“I want everyone in our community to feel they are not only allowed to, but they are called to, be actively anti-racist,” said the creator of the counter-flyers, who asked to remain anonymous.
When they began cropping up on lampposts in the southern Brooklyn neighborhoods late last week, the mysterious flyers erroneously faulted Chinese residents for the supposed downfall of Bay Ridge — claiming they were allegedly driving down home prices, operating “dirty” businesses, and facilitating the spread of COVID-19.
— Jorge Escobar (@esfoobar) June 3, 2020
Many of the signs did not stay up for long, however, as locals who came across the xenophobic flyers tore them down, according to local Councilman Justin Brannan.
“I was thankful to have so many people sending photos of them tearing the signs down,” Brannan tweeted. “Hate has no place in our community and will not be tolerated. Period.”
Some hateful posters have been popping up on lampposts around Bay Ridge & Dyker aimed at our Chinese-American neighbors.
I was thankful to have so many people sending photos of them tearing the signs down.
Hate has no place in our community and will not be tolerated. Period.
— JustinBrannan (@JustinBrannan) June 4, 2020
Some do-gooders went further, replacing the flyers with their own messages condemning racism in their diverse neighborhood and expressing support to the area’s Chinese population.
“I have had so many local friends message me saying they are making their own posters over the next few days for the area,” one resident said. “I encourage everyone to express how much this community truly loves all of its residents.”
Asian residents make up a significant 24 percent of the population in Bay Ridge and Dyker Heights, according to city statistics, and were often the subject of racism citywide at the onset of the novel coronavirus.
The 68 Precinct is investigating the circulation of the original flyers in collaboration with the NYPD Hate Crime Task Force, according to Brannan, who is also asking residents who saw the flyers to inform the police of their locations for leads to possible camera footage.
“My office is actively working with the local precinct as well as the NYPD Hate Crimes Task Force to identify those responsible for these repulsive flyers. We have been asking the public to let us know the exact locations where these flyers were seen so the NYPD can continue to canvass for camera footage,” Brannan told Brooklyn Paper. “This is the most anxious time for our city that I can remember. Anyone looking to further divide us at a time like is clearly a sociopath.”