[Note: The following statement was released by JACL National on April 2.]
We applaud the introduction by Sens. Harris, Duckworth and Hirono of the Senate Resolution, “Condemning all forms of anti-Asian sentiment as related to COVID-19.” This companion to Rep. Grace Meng’s House resolution 908 is much needed with the increasing discrimination and violence toward Asian Americans and minorities as the threat from COVID-19 similarly increases.
In its first week of operation from March 19-25, the website Stop AAPI Hate (www.asianpacificpolicyandplanningcouncil.org) collected 673 reports of anti-Asian discrimination.
The video of an Asian woman being pursued and then attacked in the New York subway and the brutal knife wounds on a young boy’s face whose family was attacked while shopping in Midland, Texas, are two examples of the extreme brutality that has been inflicted upon members of our community.
We have additionally seen even more examples of discrimination and harassment in the workplace or places of business, including death threats. These acts of intimidation are considered hate crimes and must be stopped.
Last week, ABC News reported that the Houston office of the FBI issued a report to local law enforcement agencies that “hate crime incidents against Asian Americans likely will surge across the United States, due to the spread of coronavirus disease … endangering Asian American communities.”. The assessment is based on the theory that some people will associate COVID-19 with China and AAPIs.
We join the Senate and House resolution in calling for full enforcement of the law in all matters of discrimination. We joined nearly 200 organizations in calling upon the White House to form a Task Force to protect the civil rights of AAPIs.
The FBI must act on its own internal memo recognizing the threat to AAPIs and prioritize this area for enforcement. Other federal agencies must be included to ensure there is no discrimination in the areas of education, housing, employment or public commerce.
We thank our elected leaders who have taken concrete action through the introduction of these resolutions calling for action. Congress must act to pass the resolutions condemning all forms of anti-Asian sentiment as related to COVID-19 so that the president may take action through the full force of the federal government to protect the civil rights of AAPI people.