A man who was attacked inside his own D.C. establishment last year is talking about his experience and sharing his views about why it’s vital for businesses like his to exist in American society.
Yunhan Zhang, who runs Valley Brook Tea near Dupont Circle, joined the Mayor’s Office on Asian and Pacific Islander Affairs (MOAPIA) to mark Asian American and Pacific Islander Heritage Month.
“I hope everyone can just come here and enjoy what we offer, be friends and be nice to each other,” Zhang said during the event outside his shop on P Street Northwest.
Back in November 2020, a man walked into Zhang’s shop cursing and yelling about COVID-19.
When Zhang tried to remove him from the store, the man pepper-sprayed him before leaving. At the time, police said they were investigating the incident as a suspected hate crime.
WTOP has reached out to D.C. police for an update on the case, asking whether any arrests have been made and whether possible hate crimes charges have been filed.
The incident was caught on a surveillance camera.
“When I was watching the video, I realized how lucky I was to not get injured or anything like that,” Zhang said.
While saying it was something that shouldn’t happen, Zhang said the outpouring of support afterward was incredible, and he still loves the neighborhood.
“This type of business and this community are what make our society actually an interesting and better place,” Zhang said.
MOAPIA has encouraged Zhang to apply for a grant from the federal Restaurant Revitalization Fund.
The program was established through the American Rescue Plan and administered by the Small Business Administration to help bars and restaurants that have struggled financially during the coronavirus pandemic.