Aug. 17, 2021 By Ryan Songalia
A rally will be held Tuesday evening in Jackson Heights for a Filipina nurse who was assaulted in an apparent bias attack while handing out masks on the subway.
The event, which is being organized by the National Alliance for Filipino Concerns, will take place at Diversity Plaza at 6 p.m. The rally is being held to denounce hate crimes against Asian Americans, and to encourage Asians to come forward when they are victims of such attacks.
“This Asian hate is chronic, especially for us Filipinos. Filipinos got used to 500 years of oppression and they’ll just conceal the pain and keep it to themselves. No, not anymore,” said Potri Ranka Manis, a nurse from Jackson Heights.
Manis said she was attacked on Aug. 10 while handing out free face masks on the E train near 42nd Street and 8th Avenue at around 6 p.m. She said she offered masks to an unmasked couple with a young child, and they quickly became hostile. They began to insult her, she said, telling her that it was their choice to wear masks or not.
The insults then turned racial, she said, with the two calling her a “chink” and telling her to “go home to your dirty country.” Manis said that the man threw the mask she was holding to the floor and tried to take her bag but was restrained by another rider.
The woman he was with started punching her in the face, which has left her with bruises. She was treated at an emergency room at NYC Health + Hospitals / Bellevue and released.
Manis said she considered fighting back but decided against fighting back because the perpetrators had a child.
“This attack is more than an attack towards me. This attack is against healthcare workers, Filipino immigrants and Asian Americans,” said Manis, an immigrant from Lanao del Sur, Philippines, who founded the Kinding Sindaw folk dance group.
“My speaking hopefully will make the rest of the Filipinos and Asians not be silent.”
Manis says her experience as a frontline worker during the pandemic and the continuing spike of COVID-19 cases is why she hands out free masks on the train. She says her giveaways are usually well received by people on the train.
She filed a police report. The suspects have not been apprehended at the time of publication.