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Help Cici & her Son Recover from a Racial Attack

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Join the Asian American Federation in helping Cecille (Cici) Lai and her son, a former Marine, recover from the latest anti-Asian attack in New York City, which has left both with physical injuries and unable to work for the time being. Here's her story in her own words:

My name is Cecille Lai, a mother, immigrant, and New Yorker for nearly 25 years. My son and I were verbally and physically assaulted because of our race on March 3, 2023.

After a joyful day spent having lunch with family, my sister was dropping us off at Junction Boulevard in Queens when the people in the car behind us started honking and yelling, “Ugly Asians, ugly [expletive] Asians” over and over again. Then, they got out of the car and started attacking us, to the point of knocking me unconscious. Based on video footage taken by a witness, a woman was on top of me, hitting me, and two men were beating my son. My son, Kyle, is 23 and a former Marine, and what broke my heart was seeing him try to help me instead of defending himself. They hit him so hard that they cracked his skull.

Because of my injuries, I haven’t been able to go back to work. I also need dental work because the attack knocked some of my teeth loose. My son needs an MRI; he's also unable to return to work because he feels dizzy and light-headed. I am constantly afraid because one of the people who attacked us hasn’t been caught, so I am changing my locks and getting a security system.

I've been hearing about all the anti-Asian attacks that have been happening for the past three years, but I never thought that this would happen to me in this city, in my country. I immigrated from the Philippines 24 years ago, and in those first years, I worked three jobs to support my mom, dad, and baby sister. Now, I work at a small hotel in Manhattan as a chef and server. I wake up at 5 am every day to get to my job – it’s hard, but I'm grateful to this city that I call home. However, in the daily hustle and bustle, it’s difficult to find time to relax. That family lunch was one of the few moments I had to enjoy time with my son - and it was shattered by this senseless act of violence.

I asked the Asian American Federation to help me set up this fundraiser so I can focus on my son and his recovery, as well as my own recovery. I'm determined to speak out about the attacks – not just for the sake of my son but for all the victims who have suffered and continue to face this violence.

Thank you to so many of you who have reached out and for the support you’ve given to me and my son. I sincerely ask for your understanding in respecting our privacy as we recover both physically and mentally during this difficult time.




  • Anonymous
    • $5 
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  • The Asian American Foundation (TAAF)
    • $10,000 
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  • Anonymous
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  • Joseph Inoncillo
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  • Fiame De Asis
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Organizer and beneficiary

Asian American Federation
New York, NY
Cecille Lai

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