A Chicago woman said her father was attacked while walking in his own neighborhood, and as a result, she's warning others to be vigilant, fearing her dad was targeted because he is Asian.
“We fear, and we’re scared,” Kaylee Cong told NBC 5.
Cong and her Vietnamese family have lived in the city's Uptown neighborhood for 15 years and never have had any problems - until recently.
“I was stunned, because I’m like I can’t believe this could happen to my dad," she said.
Feeling out of the loop? We'll catch you up on the Chicago news you need to know. Sign up for the weekly Chicago Catch-Up newsletter here.
The Chicago woman said her father was walking near Broadway and Ainslie Street at around 11 p.m. last Saturday when someone came up from behind and punched him in the head.
“He started getting scared and all that, he decided to turn back around and that’s when he noticed another white male standing by the parking meter holding a bat hidden underneath his arm,” she said.
The 60-year old victim feared for his life, but managed to snap a picture of the suspect walking away. Cong said the man seen with the bat took off in a different direction.
“Who knows what could happen,” she said. “It could be worse.”
Her father is now recovering from the blow to the head, and given the rise in reported hate crimes against Asian Americans during the pandemic, Cong believes her dad was intentionally targeted.
“They didn’t say a word. He didn’t say a word,” she said. “It was a hate crime. There’s no way you could try to attack somebody when they did nothing to you. He was just walking down the street.”
Cong shared her dad’s frightening encounter on Instagram, and the post caught the attention of 48th Ward Alderman Harry Osterman's office.
“He was checking up on us to see if we’re doing okay or if we need any help,” she said.
Ald. Osterman told NBC 5 on the phone he and his team passed out flyers to Asian business owners and residents in the area to remind them to be on high alert following the deadly Georgia shootings and recent crimes against Asian Americans in other major cities.
“I don’t hope it happen to anybody else, especially like those elders that is older than my dad,” she said. “You know they can’t fight back or they might not have the strength too.”
A vigil and rally were held Friday evening at Horner Park, with people condemning racism and violence against Asian Americans.
“We just came from a country, a small country, and we try to make a better life over here," she said. "That’s all we wanted. We don’t want any violence."
Cong just hopes that by sharing her dad’s story, it will bring more awareness and spark change.
“I think for our generation we can not just keep our voice silent,” she said. “We have to like speak up. We have to stand up, and we have to make it stop. We can not let it go on like this no more.”
As of Friday, the victim’s family was in the process of filing a police report.