Over the past several weeks, violence against Asian Americans has escalated across the country and there's been multiple accounts of unprovoked attacks here in Brooklyn.
The safety alarm comes with a flashlight and emits a loud sound—almost 140 decibels—to scare off attackers and alert others in your surroundings.
With attacks occurring frequently, Kang hopes the safety alarms will provide some comfort for other members of the AAPI community who fear leaving their homes.
She told BK Reader she knew nurses on the frontlines of the pandemic that were worried for their safety when returning home from long shifts. And she said she was no stranger to racism herself, having heard a number of racial epithets while walking down the street.
But it wasn't until the height of the pandemic that she experienced the fear and anger taking over the city.
"A few months into the pandemic last year, I was taking the G train and it was an empty subway car except for this man. He got really furious and started lunging at me, saying that 'Chinese people are f***ing ruining this country'," Kang said.
"He just kept shouting these profane and racist things and blaming the pandemic on me. It was terrifying. I didn't know if he was going to physically hit me."
Nearly 4,000 cases of anti-Asian violence have been reported this year, but the number could be much higher considering many cases go unreported. It's not uncommon for Asian Americans to experience hate crimes and not report them, either from fear of retaliation or just general distrust of the police, Kang said.
"Growing up in New York, I've heard people scream racial epithets at me since I was a teenage girl. I didn't realize it was a hate crime at first, because it has happened to me so many times," Kang said.
"I'm not going to generalize, but I think most cases go unreported because no one wants to cause trouble, and there is a general consensus that the police don't do anything. I know in my own experience the police have never really helped."
Kang has launched a GoFundMe page to fund the alarms, which has reached its $2,000 goal. But the amount of requests has outweighed her initial expectations so she is leaving the page running and encouraging more donations to fulfill the requests she's received. A portion of the alarms are being donated to senior community centers and pharmacies in Chinatown and Flushing.
"It's amazing to see the generosity of all the allies who have donated so far," Kang said. "It just shows that there are good people in the world because it's hard to remember that when you see all this stuff happening."
If you would like to request an alarm, email firstname.lastname@example.org.