WASHINGTON – U.S. Senators Chris Van Hollen and Ben Cardin (both D-Md.) joined Mazie K. Hirono (D-Hawaii), Tammy Duckworth (D-Ill.), and 35 of their Senate colleagues in introducing a resolution to condemn all forms of anti-Asian sentiment, racism, and discrimination, and call on federal officials, in collaboration with state and local agencies and Asian American and Pacific Islander (AAPI) community organizations, to address the rise in COVID-19-related hate crimes. The resolution was introduced in the wake of the Atlanta shooting—where eight people were killed, including six women of Asian descent, and following a new report that AAPIs were targeted in nearly 3,800 hate incidents across the country since last March.
“We cannot be silent in the face of the violence and hate targeting our Asian American and Pacific Islander communities. Each of us not only has a moral obligation to forcefully speak out against this bigotry and racism, but to also take action to stop it. That’s why this resolution wholly condemns these despicable words and actions and calls on all levels of government to do more to combat this hate,” said Senator Van Hollen.
“We need to stop the hate. Referring to this global pandemic by anything other than its appropriate, medical names has inflamed the worst stereotypes, fear, and xenophobia in the face of a health crisis. Irrationally blaming Asian or Asian-American neighbors and random strangers is simply wrong,” said Senator Cardin. “The Senate, and every person in this country, needs to call out the hate, bullying and scapegoating whenever we see it and work together as one community to overcome COVID-19.”
“Our country’s AAPI community has experienced escalating verbal attacks and physical violence since the coronavirus pandemic began, including the devastating killings last week in Atlanta. We must reject all forms of xenophobia and address the harm to our AAPI communities. Passing this resolution would send a clear message, that hate, bigotry, and anti-Asian sentiment have no place in our country,” Senator Hirono said.
“After a year of hateful, offensive rhetoric being used in an attempt to racialize the COVID-19 pandemic against Asian Americans, we’ve seen a spike in hate crimes, violent assaults and discrimination targeting the AAPI community,” said Senator Duckworth. “As the AAPI community continues to be attacked, I’m proud to introduce this important resolution with Senator Hirono to condemn all forms of anti-Asian sentiment, including those made worse by the COVID-19 outbreak.”
A similar resolution was introduced in the House of Representatives by Representative Grace Meng (D-N.Y.) last month and now has 145 cosponsors.
“The answer to racism is never more racism; it is solidarity with others. It is up to each of us to call out those who would commit anti-Asian hate crimes, be it verbal or physical acts of xenophobia and bigotry. I thank Senators Hirono and Duckworth for introducing the Senate version of my House resolution condemning those hateful incidents,” said Representative Meng. “Their resolution comes at a particularly tragic moment as we continue to mourn the eight people—including the six Asian women—who were murdered last week in the Atlanta-area. Last year, my resolution passed the House, but 164 Republicans voted against it. Let’s correct these errors. Passing both resolutions should not be a partisan issue. Stopping the attacks against Asian Americans is not a partisan issue. Standing against hate, fear, and injustice is not a partisan issue. I urge both the House and Senate to bring these measures up for a vote.”
In addition to Senators Van Hollen, Cardin, Hirono and Duckworth, the resolution is cosponsored by Senators Tammy Baldwin (D-Wis.), Michael Bennet (D-Colo.), Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.), Cory Booker (D-N.J.), Sherrod Brown (D-Ohio), Maria Cantwell (D-Wash.), Tom Carper (D-Del.), Bob Casey (D-Pa.), Chris Coons (D-Del.), Catherine Cortez Masto (D-Nev.), Dick Durbin (D-Ill.), Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.), Kirsten Gillibrand (D-N.Y.), Tim Kaine (D-Va.), Amy Klobuchar (D-Minn.), Ed Markey (D-Mass.), Bob Menendez (D-N.J.), Jeff Merkley (D-Ore.), Chris Murphy (D-Conn.), Patty Murray (D-Wash.), Alex Padilla (D-Calif.), Jack Reed (D-R.I.), Jacky Rosen (D-Nev.), Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.), Brian Schatz (D-Hawaii), Jeanne Shaheen (D-N.H.), Tina Smith (D-Minn.), Debbie Stabenow (D-Mich.), Mark Warner (D-Va.), Raphael Warnock (D-Ga.), Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.), Sheldon Whitehouse (D-R.I.), and Ron Wyden (D-Ore.).
· Condemns all forms of anti-Asian sentiment, including racism, xenophobia, discrimination, and scapegoating, related to COVID–19;
· Recognizes that the health and safety of all people of the United States, regardless of background, must be the utmost priority;
· Calls on federal law enforcement officials, working with state and local agencies to
- expeditiously investigate and document all credible reports of hate crimes, harassment, bullying, and threats against AAPI communities;
- expand data collection and reporting to document the rise in incidences of hate crimes relating to COVID–19;
- hold the perpetrators of those crimes, incidents, or threats accountable and bring such perpetrators to justice;
· Calls on the Attorney General to work with state and local agencies and AAPI community-based organizations to prevent discrimination, and expand culturally appropriate education campaigns on public reporting of hate crimes;
· Calls on the Secretary of Health and Human Services, in coordination with the COVID–19 Health Equity Task Force and AAPI community-based organizations, to issue guidance to mitigate racially discriminatory language in describing the COVID–19 pandemic; and
· Recommits the United States to serve as a model in building a more inclusive, diverse, and tolerant society.
The full resolution text is available here.