(NEW YORK) — Dozens of New Yorkers, leaders and activists came out to Times Square Tuesday night to honor Michelle Go, who was killed when she was pushed in front of a subway train by a stranger in what her family called a “senseless act of violence.”
On Saturday morning, Simon Martial allegedly pushed Go in front of an oncoming train on the N/Q/R/W line inside the Times Square-42nd Street subway station, police said.
News of Go’s death disturbed the city’s Asian American community, which has seen a rise in hate crimes over the last two years, according to Ben Wei, the founder and executive director of the nonprofit Asians Fighting Injustice. Wei’s group helped to organize the vigil in Times Square as a way to remember Go and send a message that the city did not tolerate hate.
“Today we are here to honor the memory of Michelle Alyssa Go and pay respect to the way she lived her life,” he said.
A portrait of Go, 40, was displayed on a big screen billboard behind the steps and many of the vigil members had her picture in her hands.
Go’s family said in a statement that they remembered her as a “beautiful, brilliant, kind, and intelligent woman who loved her family and friends, loved to travel the world and help others.”
Go worked as a consultant for Deloitte and spent her free time volunteering as an advocate for the homeless, according to New York ABC station WABC.
Wei said he talked with a lot of Go’s friends and co-workers over the last few days and they told him she was a caring, humble woman.
“Michelle was giving, she was the best friend that anyone could have,” Wei said.
Martial has been charged with murder and is awaiting arraignment. New York Police Department Commissioner Keechant Sewell said during a Saturday press conference that the attack was “unprovoked” and that Go didn’t appear to interact with Martial.
The investigation was ongoing. Part of that investigation will look into whether the attack was a hate crime.
ABC News wasn’t able to reach an attorney for Martial for additional comments.
Go’s family demanded justice.
“We are in a state of shock and grieving the loss of our daughter, sister and friend. We hope Michelle will be remembered for how she lived and not just how she died,” the family said in a statement. “Her life was taken too soon in a senseless act of violence and we pray that she gets the justice she deserves.”
Elected officials echoed that call during the vigil.
U.S. Rep. Grace Meng said New Yorkers are terrified by the recent jump in Asian American hate crimes. In the fall, the FBI released data that showed hate crimes against Asians was up by 76% in 2020.
Meng vowed to bring changes that would ensure that the community could walk the streets safe.
“We come together today and in the weeks and months ahead to honor the work and legacy of people like Michelle,” she said.
Mayor Eric Adams said he would increase police patrols and pair them with mental health professionals to prevent more subway attacks.
“We must ensure we have a plan of intervention and prevention,” he said at the vigil.
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