Queens lawmakers and community leaders honor staff members at Bagels & Co., denounce anti-Semitic threat – QNS.com

Queens lawmakers and community leaders gathered outdoors of Bagels & Co. in Contemporary Meadows on Monday, Nov. 22, to denounce the current anti-Semitic threats made towards the institution and to honor two staff members who bravely confronted the perpetrator. 

State Meeting members David Weprin and Clyde Vanel, Councilman Barry Grodenchik, Councilwoman-elect Linda Lee and Queens Borough President Donovan Richards voiced their assist for the Jewish community whereas stamping out hate within the “World’s Borough” throughout a press convention at 188-02 Union Tpke. on Monday.

“No acts of anti-Semitism or hate of any kind is acceptable in this community. Queens is the most diverse county in the United States and we must try to embody and defend the spirit of welcome and acceptance in the greatest place in the world,” mentioned Weprin, who represents the district.

On Nov. 10, simply after 3:30 p.m., a suspect entered the institution whereas recording along with his cellphone as he approached an worker. 

“The individual made threats to the staff, patrons and business owner saying he will break the windows and burn the building down unless they took down the Israeli flags that are flying with the American flags on display,” Weprin mentioned.

The NYPD 111th Precinct and NYPD Hate Crimes Process Power is presently investigating the incident as a hate crime.

After talking with Deputy Inspector Kevin Chan of the NYPD 111th Precinct, Weprin famous that police have some leads on the person, however can’t disclose the confidential data. Weprin says they hope to establish the person who was caught on video surveillance sporting a grey hoodie with grey sweatpants, a black beret and white headphones. 

After commending the 2 staff members, Kevin Vasquez and Juan Yax, for stepping as much as the perpetrator, Weprin offered them with a proclamation.

(From l. to r.) Kevin Vasquez, state Assemblyman David Weprin and Juan Yax (Photograph by Carlotta Mohamed/QNS)

Though they’re being hailed as heroes, Yax and Vasquez, who’re each from Guatemala and have been employed at Bagels & Co. for seven years, say they had been simply doing their job. 

“We don’t feel like heroes — we did what anyone else would do. When you live in this community, you don’t want something bad to happen,” Vasquez mentioned. “We appreciate the award.” 

In response to Yax, he tried to cease the person from coming into the restaurant.

“I didn’t know what he had in the book bag. I asked him twice and saw a gentleman and another customer outside, and I chased after him,” Yax mentioned. 

The lawmakers inspired bystanders to step up and converse out towards acts of hate and violence. 

“To combat hate, it takes each and every one of us to stand up against these acts. It takes everyday citizens to stand up and speak out against these incidents,” Richards mentioned. “We are also proud of our Israeli flag in Queens county and stand with the Jewish community, each and every day.”

Whereas there was a spike in hate crimes towards the Asian American community throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, Lee famous the significance of communities throughout the borough supporting one another. 

“We represent so many cultures, dialects, communities and faiths. Whether it’s the Israeli flag, the turban on your head, what you wear, your skin color, no one should face any hate discrimination based on what you wear or look like,” Lee mentioned. “We have to make sure that we are fighting it.” 

Rabbi Manes Kogan, of the Hillcrest Jewish Heart at 183-02 Union Tpke., mentioned individuals shouldn’t worry representing who they’re.

“We need to make sure that we are equal before the law. We should keep the flags up, and be proud of who we are and not be afraid of showing what makes us unique in our communities,” Kogan mentioned. 

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