A Filipina-American mom who was kicked and curb stomped multiple times in Midtown Manhattan by a random man at the end of March reveals she has barely left her home since the attack but is speaking out to take a stand against Asian hate.
Vilma Kari, 65, was on her way to church when she violently attacked by a man who yelled: ‘F**k you, you don’t belong here, you Asian’.
The brutal hate crime quickly went viral, especially after security guards in a nearby building were seen watching and doing nothing to intervene.
Brandon Elliot has since been arrested and charged with two counts of second-degree assault as a hate crime and one count of first-degree attempted assault as a hate crime for the attack.
Vilma told NBC Asian America she is still healing from her injuries, both physically and mentally.
She revealed she has barely left her home after the assault as she and her family attempt to process the incident.
But finally, more than a month after the attack, the Kari family are ready to share ther experience to send a powerful message: Stop hate against the Asian American-Pacific Islander community.
‘I feel that there is now more awareness and consciousness that has developed after my attack,’ Vilma told NBC Asian America. ‘But there needs to be more support and education about what the AAPI community is facing at this moment, especially since there are cases that have not been reported and classified as hate crimes.’
Elizabeth Kari (left) and her mom Vilma, are using their unwanted national media attention to fight for the Asian American-Pacific Islander community, which has been the target of random violence across the country
The video – from a previously unseen angle – shows Vilma Kari, 65, pushed to the ground and kicked in the head
Surveillance footage from the building where doormen watched a brutal attack on Vilma Kari showed them closing the door during the beating
Elizabeth (right) helping her mom, Vilma, get into a car to go to NYU Langone outpatient facility
The suspect, identified as Brandon Elliot, stands over Vilma Kari
Police released images of the suspect, who was later identified as Brandon Elliot, led to a tip that help police arrest him
Her daughter Elizabeth told the news outlet that the AAPI community ‘Is very fixated on staying in line, working really hard, gaining respect.’
‘That idea of respect is so ingrained in culture and family, in our community. It doesn’t lend itself to managing our pain and suffering in an open way, so I do believe a lot of our own pain and suffering does get minimized,’ Elizabeth told NBC Asian America. ‘If it’s shameful or embarrassing, we don’t want to be connected to it. We just want to deal with it, move past it, downplay it.’
The mom-daughter duo, who immigrated to the U.S. from the Philippines in the 1980s, has ‘largely shied away from media attention in part because of shame, a pervasive concept in the Asian American community,’ NBC Asian American reported.
A March study provided statistical backing for what Vilma and Elizabeth are saying, concluding that Asian Americans were among the least likely to say they are ‘very comfortable’ reporting hate crimes to authorities.
But the Kira family continues to be a voice in the fight to stop these types of attacks.
Elizabeth started a project called AAP(I belong) that encourages Asian Americans to share their stories of racism and belonging and hopes survivors will open up about their struggles and a GoFundMe to raise money for causes
‘Even if someone doesn’t have that family unit, there are people around that can talk, that can support,’ she told NBC Asian America. ‘The issue is if we keep hiding it and brushing it under the rug, it’s never going to get the light that it needs to be fixed.’
A father and son stand up for the AAPI community outside of the apartment where Kari was attacked
NYPD posted images of the suspect in the random hate crime attack of Vilma Kari, 65
People protest the attacks on the AAPI community in the background of the wanted poster of Kari’s attacker
The GoFundMe raised nearly $270,000 as of Friday morning
Meanwhile, the suspect, who denied the allegations, was out on parole at the time of the attack after he was sentenced to 25 years to life for murdering his mother in the Bronx in 2002 in front of his five-year-old sister.
Sources told DailyMail.com that Elliot denied carrying out the attack, but ‘he puts himself in the area at the time of the incident.’
He told officers he was going to a store in that area at the time.
Brandon Elliot was on parole when he allegedly attacked Kari for a 2002 murder of his mother
Police executed a search warrant in his room and recovered some of the clothing seen on the suspect during the attack, including his pants and a red scarf he had tucked inside a sweater he was wearing.
Elliot told officers he takes medication for an unspecified condition, and said he was taking his medication at the time of the attack.
‘He was totally lucid under questioning,’ the source said.
Elliot told officers that his family cut him off after he killed his mother.
‘He said he has no family ties. He has been ostracized by the rest of the family,’ the source said.
There is no indication Elliot knew the victim, the source told DailyMail.com.
‘She was going to church. The victim says she heard him saying, ‘What are you doing here?’ Then he set upon her. He totally ‘unprovoked attacked’ her.’
In addition to Elliot’s arrest, two Manhattan doorman, who cowardly watched Vilma’s attack and were seen on the viral video shutting the door, were fired.
NYPD Commissioner Dermot Shea talked about the rise in attacks on the AAPI community during a press conference announcing Elliot’s arrest
¿¿¿¿¿¿¿¿¿¿¿¿¿¿ ¿¿¿¿¿¿¿¿¿¿¿¿¿¿: after much discussion and debate, I am choosing to show you video I obtained from sources of the two Asian senior women were stabbed along Market Street this week.
This was not an easy decision.
Here is why:
— Dion Lim (@DionLimTV) May 6, 2021
The surge in attacks on the AAPI community is nationwide, with another gut-wrenching public attack in San Francisco yesterday where two elderly Asian women were beaten and stabbed in broad daylight while waiting for the bus.
The attack was caught on video and obtained by KGO-TV.
A large piece of the military-style blade had to be surgically removed from one of the women after it broke off.
Dj Ida, executive director of the nonprofit National Asian American Pacific Islander Mental Health Association, told NBC that the real danger of hate crimes is not being in the wrong place at the wrong time.
‘It’s you’re being perceived as being the wrong person, all the time, everywhere,’ Ida told NBC in December. ‘That’s the shame that the children of people who’ve been incarcerated for being Japanese Americans, for being seen as immigrants, that’s the shame that we bear that we should not have to bear.’