The Asian American Foundation (TAAF) Statement Following Attack of Sikh Teen on MTA Bus


(San Francisco, CA, October 16, 2023)– Following the attack of a Sikh teen wearing a turban and a COVID mask in an MTA bus, TAAF Chief Executive Officer Norman Chen issued the following statement in response:

“We don’t wear that in this country and take that mask off!” 

These are the hateful words an attacker shouted at a 19-year-old Sikh teen on a public bus in Queens, New York before punching the victim several times while trying to take his turban. The victim who was wearing a turban and a COVID-19 mask at the time of the attack was treated for his injuries. The NYPD Hate Crimes Unit is investigating the assault.

TAAF is disgusted and appalled by the vicious and public attack on this teen. Unfortunately, this is becoming an all too common occurrence on public transportation. We refuse to allow this behavior to become normalized. We call upon the NYPD Hate Crimes Unit to hold the perpetrator accountable and urge the MTA to prioritize increasing safety on all public transportation. 

We stand with the Sikh and South Asian communities and all communities facing discrimination and hate. We encourage New York City officials to work with local leaders to condemn hateful violence in order to rebuild trust in public safety.” 

About TAAF

TAAF serves the Asian American and Pacific Islander community in their pursuit of belonging and prosperity that is free from discrimination, slander, and violence. Founded in 2021 in response to the rise in anti-Asian hate and address the long standing underinvestment in AAPI communities, TAAF funds best in class organizations working to mobilize against hate and violence, educate communities, and reclaim our narratives through our core pillars of Anti-Hate, Education, Narrative Change, and Resources & Representation. Through our grants, high-impact initiatives and events, we're creating a permanent and irrevocable sense of belonging for millions of Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders in the United States. For additional information about TAAF, please visit