WASHINGTON, D.C. — Delegate Robbyn Lewis was making her way back to Baltimore Sunday afternoon when she saw a man yelling racially charged things at an Asian American woman.
She stepped in.
Lewis recounted the incident over the phone to WMAR-2 News.
She says, she remembered a bystander training she took in early 2017, offered by a neighborhood church, and first asked the woman if she was okay.
Del. Lewis could only see the woman's eyes, the rest of her face was covered by a mask.
She couldn't hear if the woman responded, because the man immediately began yelling at the Delegate.
Lewis says the man began to circle the two of them, and Lewis kept herself between the aggressor and the woman.
The man said to Lewis that the woman she was protecting "wouldn't stand up for you, why do that for her?"
Omw home. At union Station. I just interrupted a hate crime. Man harrassing Asian American woman, verbal assault. He verbally assaulted me, hateful language, splitting in my face. No one else step up. It's OK. I called 911 waiting to file report. Shaking. #StopAsianHate pic.twitter.com/vsnY49hGOD— Del. Robbyn Lewis (@RobbynLewis46th) May 22, 2022
He spit in the Delegate's face and pantomimed slapping her, at which point Lewis called 911.
Then, she recalls, the man ran off and the women didn't stick around for the 20 minutes it took for Amtrak police officers to arrive.
Union Stations police responded, took my report of the anti-Asian hate crime I interrupted. Professional, kind officers. I will press charges. I hope woman who was verbally assaulted is ok. Missed my train, it's OK tho. #StopAsianHate pic.twitter.com/o1lk0YeggI— Del. Robbyn Lewis (@RobbynLewis46th) May 22, 2022
This morning, the woman emailed Delegate Lewis, thanking her for intervening.
The woman told Lewis, "I didn't know what to do."
She added that "usually no one helps."
In recounting the incident, she reiterated this point, that no one else came to the aid of the Asian American woman, or the pair of them, once they had both become targets.
"Nobody alerted the mobile police unit [that was nearby]," says Lewis.
But, she says, she would do it again.
"Intolerance and discrimination happen everywhere," Lewis says. "In the moment we are in, complacency is not an option."
Stop AAPI Hate, a coalition group that address anti-Asian hate in the US has tips on what you can do if you experience or witness hate.