On Friday, Feb. 19, Ying Ngov, the owner and operator of Mama Venezia’s Pizzeria in Norristown, was brutally beaten and her shop robbed. Ngov, a fifty-six year old immigrant from China, chased the group of men after they had stolen beers and ran from the store. Ngov grabbed a neighbor’s shovel to protect herself, but was beaten until she fell to the ground and lost consciousness.
Ngov is known by her community for being a kind and generous soul, and neighbors have come forward to testify that she has always accommodated those who cannot afford food. This incident, however, was not a robbing motivated by need. Ngov’s son-in-law and marine veteran, Brian Skipper, hopes this attack was not racially motivated, but worries for the safety of his family and community.
Since the violence, three teens have been identified as the assailants: twins Justin Cassidy and Kevin Cassidy of Aston, PA, along with Justin Croson of Seven Valleys, PA. All three have been detained by the police.
This attack is even more alarming in light of the recent murder of Christian Hall, a nineteen-year-old multiethnic Asian, by a Pennsylvania State Trooper on Dec. 30, 2020. The police were called to respond to reports of a suicidal teen on the edge of Route 33 southbound overpass in Monroe County, Pennsylvania. The State Troopers claim that Hall had a gun, presumably to commit suicide, and pointed the gun at the police officers before they shot and killed him.
However, video footage captured by bystanders shows Hall standing on the edge of the overpass with his hands empty and raised. Hall is then shot seven times by the officer and falls to the ground. The Pennsylvania State Trooper remains unnamed, but it has been confirmed that he was permitted to return to work.
The family of Christian Hall are understandably devastated by this loss and are working diligently to raise awareness and seek justice for their son. They have found support from the Asian Pacific Islander Political Alliance, which will be hosting a town hall to make space for the community and address the surge in anti-Asian violence in Pennsylvania and the nation. The family is represented by civil rights attorney Benjamin Crump, who has previously been representing George Floyd’s family.
Both of these events, in light of the national conversation on the rise in anti-Asian hate crimes, have put Pennsylvania in the national spotlight. The national discourse has resulted in a greater analysis of Pennsylvania law enforcement and local community cultures.
For Eastern University students these tragedies hit especially close to home, as with any violence in our community. The Waltonian urges students in need of mental health care and support to reach out to the Cushings Center for Counseling and Academic Support.
Sources: 6abc, Justice for Christian Hall, Asian Pacific Islander Political Alliance