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Boyuan Gao, Marketing Manager

I enrolled in what I thought was a self-defense class for women, but it ended up being mixed martial arts. We did knife-fighting and gun disarmament.

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How long have you lived in New York?
Since 2006and in the same Bed-Stuy apartment, too.

That’s commitment.
Yeah, I’ve had like ten different roommates.

Has the neighborhood changed a lot?
When I first moved in, I would get crazy catcalls or people yelling obscene stuff at me. One time, I yelled something back and next thing I know, this kid runs up behind me and hits me in the face.

That’s awful.
After that, I enrolled in what I thought was a self-defense class for women, but it ended up being mixed martial arts. We did knife-fighting and gun disarmament, so I’m pretty equipped.

Do you feel safer today?
I do. And now I know most of the old guys who hang out on my block. They protect me.

Interview by Tory Hoen.


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