A recent train ride for a New York woman, and the fear she felt during a recent commute, prompted her to start an effort to help Asian Americans feel safer about their travels as attacks on Asian Americans in this country continue to rise and become increasingly brazen.
“It was a 30-minute commute and I realized every minute of that commute I was terrified. I was scared that any moment in time someone might say a racial slur or attack me. Worst of all I thought that if something were to happen to me, nobody would stand up," Maddy Park told WABC.
Park could afford to take a taxi herself, but was aware that many others, particularly Asian American senior citizens and Asian American women, could not afford it.
She used $2,000 of her own money to get the @CafeMaddyCab project started on Instagram. The goal of the program is to pay for cab rides of Asian Americans who cannot otherwise afford them.
“If you are an Asian woman feeling remotely scared or uneasy about taking the train, @CafeMaddyCab will cover up to $40 of your Uber/Lyft,” Park posted on Instagram on the newly created account for the project.
According to Stop AAPI Hate, a nonprofit organization that tracks attacks on Asian American and Pacific Islanders, there were more than 3,795 hate incidents against Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders in the United States from March 19, 2020 to Feb. 28, 2021. Incidents include verbal harassment and physical assault.
Within 48 hours, Park’s idea and initial investment turned into more than $100,000 in donations.
In fact, it was so successful, donations had to be closed down for about a day because of Venmo policies, Park posted on Instagram.
“We ran into a weekly limit of payouts due to venmo regulations, and are currently troubleshooting and paying charges the best we can,” the post stated.
By Tuesday, donations were back up and running on PayPal.
At this time, the project is based in New York City. However, a recent Instagram post says they are hoping to start “similar initiatives in different cities across the nation.”