In Memory of Lives Lost

A community memorial featuring images and text attached to a tree, with a large pile of flowers placed at the base of the tree

This is a picture of an ad-hoc memorial to Christina Yuna Lee, outside of the Chrystie Street apartment building where she died. Her murder has been reported as both part of a rising tide of anti-Asian violence in New York City and part of the uniquely gendered violence that Asian women, in particular, face. While many responded to the violence with calls for increased policing and enforcement against unhoused New Yorkers, Lee’s family noted that they would be directing proceeds from a GoFundMe campaign to a variety of organizations that Christina loved and believed in, from the Elizabeth Street Garden to SafeWalks, a mutual aid organization accompanying Asian American seniors to and from their homes and transit.

An installation featuring painted portraits hung inside a structure of curtains, with massage tables inside the curtains

This is an image from a vigil in Washington Square Park commemorating the 8 lives lost during a shooting at an Asian Massage Parlor in Atlanta on March 16, 2021. The vigil occurred one year after the shooting and was hosted by Red Canary Song and The Asian American Feminist Collective. The image displays three different art installations. The large installation is entitled “韧  Curtain Armor”, and was conceptualized & Art Directed by Chong Gu a Chinese RCS Outreach member. The installation was co-directed by Yin Q, RCS Core member.  The portraits hanging on the curtains are entitled “Eyes” and were completed by an Anonymous massage worker. Behind the curtain are two massage tables, each laid out with food, incense, and offerings in the style of a traditional mourning altar. The food altar was created by Charlotte, a Korean RCS outreach member, and former massage worker, and Lisa, a Chinese massage worker based in Flushing, while the Funeral Altar was created by Wu, another RCS core member and an NYC-based dominatrix. During the rally, organizers for RCS and other groups noted the ways that Asian massage workers and sex workers are often dehumanized within political discourse and media spaces. They also drew attention towards the fact that informal economies like unlicensed massage and transactional sex are often the only ways that some disabled people are able to make a living.  

—Salonee Bhaman

Related Fieldnote: “@SeeMiaRoll On Mental Disability And Anti-Asian Violence”