There’s an outpour of support for Vilma Kari, the 65-year-old Filipina immigrant who was violently attacked on her way to church in New York during the start of Holy Week.
A GoFundMe page — started by Kari’s daughter Elizabeth days after the brutal incident in Manhattan’s Hell’s Kitchen neighborhood — has garnered over $85,000, as of this writing.
“First and foremost, I want to start off by saying my mom is humbled by the outpouring of messages and support from not only our friends and family, but from the kind souls all over the world,” her daughter wrote on the fundraising page.
Kari suffered serious injuries including a fractured pelvis from being kicked and stomped on, according to police. She was discharged from the hospital on Tuesday and “is safe and in good spirits,” her daughter said.
“Although the healing process will not be easy, she has always been a resilient role model for me. We are hopeful that in time she will make a full recovery,” Elizabeth continued.
Surveillance footage of the brutal incident on Monday, March 29 shows Kari being violently kicked in the stomach as she fell to the sidewalk. The suspect, Brandon Elliot, proceeded to stomp on her head and body multiple times, according to police.
Elliot, who is a parolee convicted of killing his own mother in 2002, reportedly shouted anti-Asian slurs at Kari and said, “You don’t belong here.”
He was arrested early Wednesday, March 31 and charged with two counts of assault in the second degree as a hate crime, and one count of attempted assault in the first degree as a hate crime. He had been living in a hotel serving as a homeless shelter a few blocks away from the scene of the crime, according to reports.
The viral video also caused outrage online as it appeared to show two lobby staffers at the luxury apartment building witnessing the attack but not intervening. One of the men is seen closing the door as Kari laid on the sidewalk.
The Brodsky Organization, which owns the building along 43rd St., said the employees who witnessed the assault were “suspended pending an investigation in conjunction with their union.”
Extended footage from the company, released by PIX11, reportedly shows staff coming to Kari’s aid after the suspect fled.
Elizabeth said off-camera, a witness across the street saw the attack and “yelled and screamed to get the assailant’s attention.”
“That is where the video cuts off as the attacker crossed the street to him. To this person, I understand your decision in remaining anonymous during this time. I want to THANK YOU for stepping in and doing the right thing. This gesture of action is what we need in our world right now. I hope one day, my mom and I can thank you personally,” she wrote.
For now, the GoFundMe account is how individuals can help Kari as she recovers.
“This does not take back the pain and trauma my mom has experienced nor will it replace the time to heal as she gets back on her two feet,” Elizabeth said.
In addition to medical expenses, funds will be allocated to other victims of hate crimes and organizations supporting Asian American and Pacific Islander communities.