Fri. Oct 22nd, 2021

Two Democratic lawmakers have reintroduced legislation to combat hate crime targeting Asians in the United States amid the coronavirus disease 2019 (Covid-19) pandemic.

(PHOTO: A rally against anti-Asian hate crimes at Los Angeles State Historic Park on Feb. 20.
(Genaro Molina / Los Angeles Times))

Rep. Grace Meng of New York and Sen. Mazie K. Hirono of Hawaii announced in a joint statement on on Thursday that they introduced the Covid-19 Hate Crimes Act amid a surge in incidents of physical, verbal and online attacks targeting Asian-Americans and Pacific Islanders (AAPI).

“We’ve seen the horrifying consequences of racist language as AAPI communities across our country experience hate crimes and violence related to the pandemic,” Hirono said. “The Covid-19 Hate Crimes Act addresses the surge in violence against AAPI communities by dedicating an official at the Department of Justice to expeditiously review hate crimes reported to law enforcement.”

The bill also directs state and local law enforcement to establish a method for hate crimes and incidents to be reported online in multiple languages, expand public education campaigns and have the secretary of Health and Human Services issue best-practice guidance to mitigate racially discriminatory language in describing the Covid-19 pandemic.

“The bill also provides resources for communities to come together and fight intolerance and hate,” Hirono said. “This is no less than victims deserve.”

The Democratic pair introduced the bill as incidents of hate crime against Asians in the United States surge.Early last month, Stop AAPI Hate published a report stating it has received more than 2,800 firsthand accounts of anti-Asian hate including physical assault, verbal harassment and discrimination between March 19, 2020, and Dec. 31, 2020. SOVEREIGNPH

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