by Sarah Li ’25
Published Dec. 22nd, 2021
On Wednesday, November 17, around 3:30 pm, three students returning home from Central High School were repeatedly punched and yelled at by a band of four teens on the Philadelphia SEPTA subway. A fourth student, Christina Lu, also from Central High, stepped in and told them to stop. Upon this intervention, the four teens turned on her, banging her head against the subway doors and hitting her as she lay on the floor, injuring her to the point of hospitalization.
The four female suspects have been identified as African American, while the victims are of Asian descent. Police say the attack was racially motivated, and the suspects now face multiple charges, including ethnic intimidation, simple assault, and reckless endangerment of another person. “This was an attack based on ethnicity and ethnic slurs were used by the attackers. Hence, why we’re charging ethnic intimidation,” SEPTA Police Chief Thomas Nestel explains.
Following this incident, city leaders and officials took immediate action to prevent the repetition of such cases. Students at Central High are now offered a police escort to ensure them a safe ride home.
The video of the assault has recently gone viral on social media. In fact, it was on social media that one of the suspect’s mothers found the video and reported her daughter as one of the attackers. “We’re all apologetic,” the girl’s mother said. “We are embarrassed, ashamed. It’s not who we represent.”
A huge outpouring of support came for Christina, who courageously stepped in to stop the bullying when no one else did. In less than 24 hours, over half a million dollars was donated through a GoFundMe set up by her mother and brother.
The money from this fundraiser will be used not only for Christina’s recovery, but also for improving the safety of students when taking public transportation and fighting against Asian hate crimes in Philadelphia school districts. “Christina’s wish is that students, regardless of race, can be safe outside of their homes,” writes her mother and brother. “We would like to invite you to help Christina with her physical and mental recovery, but more importantly, to help us advocate for the city’s public safety.”
Racially motivated violence is never tolerated and when someone is in trouble, people must take action, standing up for them when it’s safe, and calling for help when in danger.