People keep telling Christina Lu she’s a hero.

The Central High student says she’s just an “ordinary girl from an ordinary family” who did the right thing: stand up for her friends when they were being attacked on the subway, targeted because they were Asian.

Lu, who addressed a crowd of hundreds at a rally Tuesday against Asian hate outside the Municipal Services Building in Center City, said she hoped the mid-November attacks against her and her friends served to galvanize the community.

“Our message is loud and clear — we must all come together, regardless of race, religion, or socio-economic status, because we all want the same thing for our community: public safety in the City of Brotherly Love,” said Lu, 18.

Lu intervened Nov. 17 when a group of four Black teenage girls began yelling slurs at three Asian boys, Lu’s Central classmates. In a video that has gone viral, Lu can be seen defending the boys.

The attackers — who have been charged as juveniles with ethnic intimidation and aggravated assault — threw Lu to the floor, banged her head against the subway door, and punched and kicked her.

» READ MORE: After SEPTA assault, Central High School students and the victim’s family say they’re traumatized

Lu, who spoke briefly and in a quiet voice, said she wanted to clarify misconceptions about the video. Lu said it did not show other classmates using their bodies to physically shield her from further harm, and she railed against “double standards” she has been hearing that suggest boys must be strong and girls obedient.

The boys who were attacked, she said, “were just scared kids,” and Lu herself “only wanted to de-escalate the problem so that nobody would get hurt.”

Lu called for unity; others at the rally and march to Philadelphia School District headquarters on North Broad Street demanded better from the School District and from SEPTA. Bundled against the late-autumn chill, hundreds waved signs that read “SEPTA Clean Up Or Shut Up” and “Justice for Christina Lu.”

John Chin, executive director of the Philadelphia Chinatown Development Corporation, called the attacks against Lu and her classmates “a watershed moment” for the city.

“There is demand that the Philadelphia School District address their failures. There is a demand that SEPTA address their failures. We hold them accountable to provide our students safety in our schools, in the buses, subways, and trains,” said Chin, who added that “the attackers must be held accountable for their crimes.”

SEPTA spokesperson Andrew Busch said the transit agency has stationed a police officer on the Broad Street Line leaving from the Olney station near Central dismissal time, and said more officers may be added at other locations. SEPTA also is strategizing with the district and with city police, Busch said.

Monica Lewis, the school district spokesperson, noted that the incident happened off school grounds, after dismissal, and that the attackers were not district students — they attended a charter school.

But, she said, Central principal Timothy McKenna has said, in conversations with parents and in messages to the school community, that “he’s willing to do what is necessary to make sure that students feel safe and welcome in their schools. I know that is a sentiment that is shared by principals throughout the district.”

Michael Zhang, a Central parent, told the crowd he and others fear for their children’s safety going to and from school.

“There is a dark cloud that hangs over our city right now, the plague of violence,” said Zhang. “Change must come from the courage of strangers to stand up for their neighbors in the face of any injustice.”

Zhang said there was a “failure of the system — that failed to protect a young girl and her friends.”

Stephanie Sun, executive director of the Pennsylvania Commission on Asian Pacific Affairs, said it was incumbent on members of the community to continue to speak out.

“For too many years, we have been too quiet,” said Sun. “This is the time for us to wake up, step up.”

Some at the rally traveled from other cities to lend support to Philadelphia’s Asian community.

Many of those at the rally, or their family members, came to America because they believed it to be the best country in the world, but the attack against Lu and her friends shows a darker side that has been too evident in recent years, said Haipei Shue, president of the United Chinese Americans, a Washington, D.C.-based nonprofit.

“How do we call ourselves and our country the best in the world?” Shue asked.

The crowd ranged from babies held in their parents’ arms to elderly people and included a large contingent of students. Among them was Megan Chan, 18, a senior at Masterman, who spends an hour on various forms of public transit to get to school from her home in the Northeast.

As she stood listening to the speakers, Chan was thinking of her parents.

“They are worried for me and my well-being,” she said. “This made them worry more.”