Asian teenager woman calling phone on smartphone in back seat of car, Passengers use an app to order a ride and Peer-to-peer ride sharing concept

New York state Assemblymember Ron Kim (D-Queens) asked Gov. Kathy Hochul in February to provide groups targeted in hate crimes free taxi rides and “walking buddies” trained in martial arts. Kim’s letter asks the governor to issue a formal state declaration of disaster emergency to fund the program in the wake of a 343% surge in hate crimes against Asian-Americans in 2021.

Kim proposed a series of programs that any protected group would be eligible for if hate crimes against them spiked “more than 200% from the previous year,” the letter stated. The programs include a voucher system to fund 15 round-trip taxis a month and a “security companion service” with trained peace officers to accompany protected groups while they’re walking in public. He also called for the creation of a new agency called the Security Companion Service for Protected Groups. Its officers would be trained in “basic martial arts,” “hand-to-hand combat measures,” de-escalation techniques and other self-defense tools.

Kim also wants Hochul to fund a paratransit service for seniors in protected classes with unlimited free rides anywhere in the city, and a trained officer to help them with errands. The program’s cost is estimated at between $30 and $40 million.

Hochul said she would “review” Kim’s recommendations, adding that she wants to strengthen and expand Kendra’s Law and allocate millions of dollars in new investments to improve psychiatric support. Recently, $10 million was awarded to organizations providing services to Asian American communities.

Source: New York Post

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