Sacramento, CA – APAPA applauds the bipartisan 94-1 Senate vote that would strengthen federal efforts in addressing hate crimes directed towards Asian Americans. Since the pandemic hit the U.S. in early 2020, verbal and physical abuse, hate crimes, and violence against Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders (AAPI) have increased nearly 400%.
This bipartisan vote was the first legislative action either chamber of Congress has taken to bolster law enforcement’s response to attacks on people of Asian descent. We thank Senators Mazie Hirono, Tammy Duckworth, and Representative Grace Meng for championing this measure in the U.S. Congress. Additionally, many AAPI, and non-Asian legislators, including the newly elected California Senator Alex Padilla, have worked tirelessly to promote this legislation.
If this measure passes the House as expected, it would establish a position at the Justice Department to expedite the agency’s review of hate crimes and expand other channels to report them. It would also encourage the creation of state-run hate crime hotlines, provide grant money to law enforcement agencies and train their officers to identify hate crimes, and introduce a series of public education campaigns around bias against people of Asian descent.
This is a victory and a major step forward for the many AAPI organizations that have united and stood up to meet this challenge. We are gratified that many ethnic minorities and other Americans have also spoken up and supported us, but this is just the beginning.
Next month, when we celebrate the rich culture of our country and our proud Asian American and Pacific Islander heritage, we will be joining people of all colors, races, religions, and gender in cities across the nation to quell hate during the May 15, Unity Against Hate rally. We are all Americans. Working together we WILL build a better America.
APAPA is a non-profit, non-partisan and grassroots organization. Its mission is to empower Asian and Pacific Islander (API) Americans through education, leadership, and active participation in civic and public affairs.