(NEW YORK) — Dozens of New Yorkers, leaders and activists took to Times Square Tuesday night to pay their respects to Michelle Go, who was killed when she was pushed past a subway train by a stranger in what his family called a “senseless act of violence”.
On Saturday morning, Simon Martial allegedly pushed Go in front of an oncoming train on the N/Q/R/W line inside the Times Square-42nd Street subway station, police said.
News of Go’s death has unsettled the city’s Asian American community, which has seen an increase in hate crimes over the past two years, according to Ben Wei, founder and executive director of the nonprofit Asians. Fighting Injustice. Wei’s group helped organize the vigil in Times Square as a way to remember Go and send a message that the city did not tolerate hate.
“Today we are here to honor the memory of Michelle Alyssa Go and pay tribute to the way she lived her life,” he said.
A portrait of Go, 40, was displayed on a large-screen notice board behind the steps and many members of the vigil had his picture in their hands.
Go’s family said in a statement that they remembered her as a “beautiful, bright, kind and intelligent woman who loved her family and friends, loved traveling the world and helping others”.
Go worked as a consultant for Deloitte and spent her free time volunteering as an advocate for the homeless, according to New York’s ABC station WABC.
Wei said he spoke with many of Go’s friends and colleagues over the past few days and they told him that she was a caring and humble woman.
“Michelle was giving, she was the best friend anyone could have,” Wei said.
Martial has been charged with murder and is waiting to be charged. New York Police Department Commissioner Keechant Sewell told a news conference on Saturday that the attack was unprovoked and Go did not appear to be interacting with Martial.
The investigation was ongoing. Part of this investigation will seek to determine if the attack was a hate crime.
ABC News was unable to reach an attorney for Martial for additional comment.
Go’s family demanded justice.
“We are in shock and mourn the loss of our daughter, sister and friend. We hope Michelle will be remembered for how she lived and not just how she died,” said the family in a statement. “Her life was taken too soon in a senseless act of violence and we pray that she gets the justice she deserves.”
The elected officials echoed this call during the vigil.
US Representative Grace Meng said New Yorkers are terrified of the recent increase in Asian American hate crimes. In the fall, the FBI released data showing that hate crimes against Asians increased by 76% in 2020.
Meng pledged to make changes that would ensure the community could walk the streets safely.
“We come together today and in the weeks and months to come to honor the work and the legacy of people like Michelle,” she said.
Mayor Eric Adams said he would increase police patrols and partner them with mental health professionals to prevent further attacks on the subway.
“We need to make sure we have a response and prevention plan,” he said at the vigil.
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