Lisle condemns anti-Asian bigotry after attack on former resident
Lisle officials are condemning anti-Asian bigotry and other forms of discrimination after learning a former village resident was the victim of an attack in New York City that made headlines across the nation.
Vilma Kari, 65, was walking to church in midtown Manhattan on March 29 when she was knocked down and repeatedly stomped by an attacker.
?WANTED for ASSAULT: Do you know this guy? On 3/29/21 at approx 11:40 AM, in front of 360 W 43 St in Manhattan, the suspect punched and kicked a 65-year-old woman while making anti-Asian statements. Any info? DM @NYPDTips or anonymously call them at 800-577-TIPS. pic.twitter.com/WRE4kSHtRG— NYPD NEWS (@NYPDnews) March 30, 2021
Widely circulated security camera footage captured the daytime assault and images of the suspect, 38-year-old parolee Brandon Elliot. He was apprehended March 31 and charged with felony assault and attempted assault as hate crimes.
Kari suffered serious injuries, including a fractured pelvis, and spent a day in the hospital.
Her daughter, Elizabeth, set up a GoFundMe page to assist with medical bills and her recovery.
When Kari was identified as the victim in news reports, her Chicago-area friends reached out to Lisle village officials. Kari emigrated from the Philippines decades ago and was a past parishioner at St. Joan of Arc Catholic Church in Lisle.
"Oftentimes there's a connection that comes closer than we realize," Lisle Mayor Chris Pecak said Tuesday.
A village proclamation condemning anti-Asian bigotry and other forms of discrimination was read at the village board meeting Monday.
Kari sent a statement that her friend and fellow St. Joan of Arc parishioner Lynne Passarella read at the meeting on Kari's behalf.
"I would like to thank Mayor Chris Pecak and the village board for this recognition of the incident that happened to me in New York City, which has brought worldwide attention. It has shed light and awareness to the racism and hate crimes being committed against the Asian American/Pacific Islander community," Kari's statement said.
Pastor Barry Gin and the Rev. Mark Zhang of Living Water Evangelical Church in Naperville were also in attendance.
"Many Asian Americans feel that we've kind of been left out of the discussion when it comes to issue of race and racism," Gin said. "This proclamation today dispels that notion, and we are all thankful and appreciative of your encouragement and support."
The attack on Kari is part of a national spike in anti-Asian hate crimes. Last week, the U.S. Senate voted to advance legislation to strengthen federal efforts to address hate crimes directed at Asian Americans.
Kari's statement at the Lisle meeting concluded: "No one should be targeted because of the color of their skin, or how they look. We are all Americans and have contributed much to the success of this country. I belong, you belong, we all belong."