The bi-weekly food distribution at the Queensbridge Houses — which is home to a large Asian population — typically gives out meal essentials for those in need. Now, it's packed with a new item.
A whistle, wrapped in a plastic and with a note written in Chinese, Vietnamese, Korean and English.
Speaking through a translator, Eva Jin said she's heard about the crimes against Asians in the past months, and seen the sometimes scarring images. While she has observed the spike in attacks across the city and the country, she's also seen the rallies to fight the violence.
Now a simple walk in her Long Island City neighborhood isn't taken for granted.
"Whenever she is going out, she has to put herself together, there is a chance she might be attacked," the translator said. "The reason she took the whistle is she finds this is something that will be useful."
Oanh Nguyen, a program volunteer with Quincy Asian resources, said the "AAPI Whistle Against hate" program is based on one that equi[s first-year students at her alma mater of Wellesley College with a self-defense whistle.
"We are targeting elserdly AAPI. We think they are the most vulnerable group in the AAPI community," Nguyen said.
The New England-based group is now serving the entire northeast, and are working to make sure whistles go out during at-home food delivery drops as well.
"We want to do more from the social justice angel," said QARI President and CEO Philip Chong. "We want to do more outreach and education, especially for the Asian community and the police."
Other local stops will include Flushing and Manhattan's Chinatown, before heading out west to Los Angeles and eventually in towns across the country — with organizers realizing that the anti-Asian hate attacks is a national problem, that will require a national solution.