WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today, U.S. Senators Cory Booker and Bob Menendez (both D-N.J.) joined Sens. Mazie K. Hirono (D-Hawaii) and Tammy Duckworth (D-Ill.), along with 33 of their Senate colleagues, to introduce a resolution condemning all forms of anti-Asian sentiment, racism, and discrimination. The resolution also calls 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. A similar resolution was introduced in the House of Representatives by Representative Grace Meng (D-N.Y.) last month and now has 145 cosponsors.
“In the last year alone, there were nearly 3,800 hate incidents reported against the AAPI community, with the majority perpetrated against Asian American women,” said Senator Booker. “These hate incidents are both a part of the rising threat of white supremacist violence and a unique manifestation of the hatred, discrimination, and bias that Asian Americans have faced throughout our country’s history. It only worsened as we saw members of the previous administration, including the former president, use words that degraded and demeaned members of the Asian community. This kind of hatred and violence is not an inevitability. The hateful words and actions against our AAPI family must stop and we must all confront and end this discrimination and violence.”
“The rise in anti-Asian hate crimes is shameful, dangerous, deadly and has no place in our country,” said Senator Menendez. “AAPI community members are our neighbors, teachers, small business owners and community leaders. They are an integral part of the fabric of our nation and part of the incredible diversity that makes New Jersey unique and a great place to live, work and raise a family. We may not be able to legislate hatred out of one’s heart but we can certainly stand unified against racism, xenophobia and discrimination.”
“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.”
The resolution is also 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.), Ben Cardin (D-Md.), 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.), 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.), Chris Van Hollen (D-Md.), 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
o expeditiously investigate and document all credible reports of hate crimes, harassment, bullying, and threats against AAPI communities;
o expand data collection and reporting to document the rise in incidences of hate crimes relating to COVID–19; and
o 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.