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2021 AAPI hate crime victim, family await attacker's sentencing in NYC

Sentencing is scheduled Wednesday for a man convicted of a 2021 hate crime in New York City, an attack that was caught on surveillance video and caught international attention, as the victim and her daughter continue to fight for change.

The victim, Vilma Kari, 65, an immigrant from the Phillipines, was attacked three years ago as she was on her way to church, and the assault became one of the visually impactful cases in the rise of Asian American Pacific Islander hate crimes during the pandemic.

The assailant was found guilty of one count of assault in the first degree as a hate crime and another count of criminal possession of a weapon in the third degree.

Kari’s daughter Elizabeth told NBC Bay Area the past three years have been a roller coaster. Her mom has healed physically, but the trauma still lingers and might linger for a long time.

“For the last three years, we’ve had to really remember every single detail that took place in preparation for that, so now it will truly be a moment where we can close one chapter and open the next and focus on our healing — and also trying to help heal a community that’s so much larger than all of us,” Elizabeth Kari said.

Healing that community is happening through Elizabeth’s nonprofit AAP(I Belong), born from the outpouring of support and love of strangers after her mom’s attack.

It was enough to motivate Elizabeth to begin a platform where people can anonymously share their stories of racism, discrimination or even just relating to Vilma and her family.

“Just to really understand what we saw from our side, that a lot of these stories were unfortunately very repetitious,” Elizabeth said. “And all of us are going through similar challenges in a way, but we never talk about it.”

The sentencing is scheduled for 2 p.m. Eastern time.

For more about AAP(I Belong), visit the nonprofit’s official website.

Source: NBC Bay Area

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