The Intercultural Throughline Title

Death of Flushing Massage Worker Yang Song & Red Canary Song Organizing

A sign in Flushing shows a black-and-white photo of Yang Song, who has a slight smile in the photo. The sign has the name "Yang Song" and the text "Rest In Power" underneath. Below Yang Song's face, the sign says, "Yang Song was a 38-year-old Chinese immigrant and sex worker killed by the NYPD during a raid in Flushing last November. No NYPD officers have been disciplined or charged with any crime." The sign also says #DecrimNow #RightsNotRaids and #JusticeForYangSong

38-year old Yang Song, a Flushing massage worker, fell four stories to her death during a New York Police Department raid on November 25, 2017. Song’s family revealed that she described being sexually assaulted by a man who flashed a badge and gun and claimed to be an undercover cop and that the police urged her to become a confidential informant and turn in clients and friends. She had been arrested months before on prostitution charges — her case referred to the Queens Human Trafficking Intervention Courts (HTICs) and a court date set.

After her death, community organizers rallied outside of the 109th precinct and held vigils for Song. At the inaugural vigil, Red Canary Song was born, with the immediate goal of providing legal support for Song’s family and to help her mother pay for healthcare expenses.

From Red Canary Song’s website:

“We are a grassroots massage worker coalition in the U.S. There are over 9000 workplaces like these across the country with no political representation, or access to labor rights or collective organizing. Anti-trafficking NGO’s that claim to speak for migrants in sex trades promote increased policing and immigration control, which harms rather than helps migrant sex workers.

We also organize transnationally with Asian sex workers across the diaspora in Toronto, Paris, and Hong Kong.”

Image Description & Credit: “Marchers honor Yang Song at a vigil in 2018 and call for decriminalization to prevent more harm.” Photo: Emma Whitford, Hyphen magazine, 2019

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