Update: Councilwoman Gym's communications director Eric Schulz reached out to The Post Millennial after publication to try to clarify her comments.
Schulz claims that Ms. Gym was referring to students who "had attacked" and later, students who "had been attacked." No such clarification has been made in The Philadelphia Inquirer as of yet.
Original story follows:
Following an unprovoked, brutal attack on a teenage Asian American student earlier this month by black assailants, a Philadelphia city councilmember has issued a statement defending the group's actions, claiming that the girls were "trying to articulate" what needs to be done to "address racial bias."
"We as a city and a nation are not doing nearly enough to support young people," at-large Philadelphia city councilmember Helen Gym told The Philadelphia Inquirer. Gym said, according to the Philadelphia news outlet, that to address the root causes of the issue, the city and school district should pour more resources into mentorship programs as well as job and recreational opportunities.
"There's no question that they are emulating what they're seeing, especially in terms of the violence and the scapegoating, in particular," Gym said, noting that "They are trying to articulate out what they need to see done better by institutions, including the school district, to address racial bias, intimidation."
Four teenagers, with ages ranging from 13 to 16, were charged with aggravated assault, ethnic intimidation, criminal conspiracy, simple assault, recklessly endangering another person and disorderly conduct in connection with the attack, according to The Philadelphia Inquirer. One of the four was also charged with robbery for attempting to steal the victim's AirPods.
SEPTA Police Chief Thomas Nestel III said following the attack that the group of girls were originally yelling at three Asian teenagers from Central High School.
The 18-year-old Asian victim stepped in to defend the boys, which was when the group of girls turned their attention to her. They banged her head against the subway door, and continued to beat her while she was on the ground.
The victim's aunt, Mei Lu, said that "Her heroic act, her altruistic act, came with a big price." The victim is reportedly suffering from extensive bruising and swollen eyes, and is still undergoing tests to determine the extent of her head injury.
The attack has left many parents, especially those of East and Southeast Asian descent, worried about safety within the city, and across the country. According to The Philadelphia Inquirer, Asian-American hate incidents have tripled between 2019 and 2020. The #StopAsianHate movement was sparked in response.
A friend of the victim and Central High senior Carlie Zhang told The Philadelphia Inquirer that the school's large Asian community has been shaken by the recent incident as well as others.
"A lot of us are really struggling, traumatized," said Zhang. "We see our own friends, people who look like us, getting hurt, getting beat up."
She noted though that Central High's Asian students don't want the attack to "cause a divide between the black and Asian communities." She instead hopes it will bring about positive change in the community, including stronger mental health services and additional counselors at schools in Philadelphia.
"We can't just solve this one issue and call it a day," Zhang said. "We need to make sure these instances don't happen again."
In response to the attack, Central principal Timothy J. McKenna sent a letter parents stating that the school will be providing extra counseling and support services for students that are feeling anxious or concerned for their safety.
McKenna said that he has met with parents and community advocated to create a plan that will ensure students can travel safely to and from school.
In addition to efforts from the school, SEPTA has assigned a police officer to monitor the Broad Street Line train leaving from the Olney station as Central High students leave school.
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