Neighborhood United

Anti Police Brutality protesters assembling to march through Chinatown.

In April of 1975, Peter Yew, a 27-year-old engineer, attempted to intervene in a traffic altercation between two motorists (one white and one Chinese) and was subsequently beaten and arrested by police officers from the Fifth Precinct. This case of police brutality galvanized the neighborhood. On May 19, 1975, the community shut down to protest the incident, marching from Chinatown to City Hall with banners and signs.

Peter Yew/Police Brutality Protest

May 20, 1975

Peter Yew / Police Brutality Protest

May 20, 1975

A multiracial group of protestor holding signs against racial discrimination, oppression, and police brutality in both english and chinese.
A long stream, hundreds deep, of protesters marching through the streets of Chinatown.

Peter Yew/Police Brutality Protest

 May 20, 1975

On July 15, 1979, approximately 4,000 New Yorkers, most of Chinese descent, gathered at the United Nations to protest the plight of Vietnamese refugees, known as boat people. Making an analogy to the treatment of the Jews in Nazi Germany, they carried signs with slogans such as “Stop the Second Holocaust!”

March at U.N. for Vietnamese boat people

July 15, 1979

A group of children protesting at the U.N. for Vietnamese boat people. Signs are in both english and chinese denouncing the "2nd Hitler".

March at U.N. for Vietnamese boat people

July 15, 1979

The Chinatown community, including the children of P.S. 2, gathered to protest the building of a jail in their neighborhood on November 18, 1982. While the initial protests delayed the jail, it was ultimately built. In October 2019, the community faced a similar predicament and rallied to protest the replacement of the current jail with a larger facility. The rallying cries of “No new jails! Save our seniors!’’ and “Schools! Not jails!” sounded strikingly familiar, nearly 40 years later.

Protest against the building of a jail in Chinatown

November 18, 1982

Students from PS 2 holding signs protesting the building of a new jail in Chinatown.
A large group of women wearing Local 23 hats protest the building of a Chinatown jail.

Protest against the building of a jail in Chinatown

November 18, 1982

Protest against the building of a jail in Chinatown

November 18, 1982

A group of seniors protesting the Chinatown jail being built
A long line of students with their teacher protesting. Hold a sign, "We called the police for help!! No one came"

In October of 1984, the entire student body of the Transfiguration School at 29 Mott Street marched with their teachers to the NYPD Fifth Precinct, protesting a lack of response by the police after an incident in which students were harassed in Columbus Park.

Schoolchildren march on 5th Precinct with Suzanne Reilly, school principal (right) and Susan Pankow, first-grade teacher (left)

October 18, 1984

Schoolchildren from the Transfiguration School march on 5th Precinct

October 18, 1984

Long line of young students protesting the police. Holding a sign "Where was the 5th precinct when we needed you?"