CAPAC Members Commemorate Second Anniversary of COVID-19 Hate Crimes Act Being Signed into Law

WASHINGTON, D.C.— Today, Members of the Congressional Asian Pacific American Caucus (CAPAC) commemorate the upcoming second anniversary of the COVID-19 Hate Crimes Act being signed into law by President Biden. The President did so on May 20, 2021.

Since March 2020, over 11,500 anti-Asian hate crimes and incidents have been reported. Further, new data shows that nearly half of Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders across the country have experienced discrimination or unfair treatment that may be illegal.

CAPAC Members released the following statements:

CAPAC Chair Rep. Judy Chu (CA-28):

“The wave of anti-Asian hate our communities have faced since March 2020 is why the COVID-19 Hate Crimes Act is so critically needed. This law addresses the alarming surge in violence against our elders, children, and families by improving hate crime tracking and reporting and providing resources to hate crimes victims. It also includes the bipartisan Jabara-Heyer NO HATE Act, a bill I co-led with Rep. Don Beyer of Virginia that improves data collection of hate crimes by state, local, and Tribal law enforcement agencies by creating a national reporting system. I am incredibly grateful to CAPAC First Vice-Chair Grace Meng and Senator Mazie Hirono for successfully leading this bill and its passage, to President Biden for standing with our communities and signing it into law, and to our partners at the Department of Justice for working with CAPAC to ensure its full implementation. As we all celebrate this anniversary during Asian American, Native Hawaiian, and Pacific Islander Heritage Month, let us recommit ourselves to fighting bigotry, violence, and hate in all its forms.”

CAPAC First Vice-Chair Rep. Grace Meng (NY-06):

“I introduced the COVID-19 Hate Crimes Act with Senator Hirono—which President Biden signed into law two years ago—to improve the tracking and reporting of hate crimes. My bill assigned a point person at the Justice Department to quickly review hate crimes related to COVID-19, and required the Justice Department to work with state and local law enforcement to make reporting hate crimes easier with online portals and multiple languages and incentivize tracking of hate crimes data. Building on this effort, I created a new grant program at the Justice Department offering millions of dollars to community-based organizations working to combat hate and service hate crimes victims. I have been inspired by our community’s resilience and solidarity in the face of discrimination. We must continue to call out hate in every instance and stand with all those facing bigotry.”

CAPAC Second Vice-Chair Rep. Mark Takano (CA-39):

“Two years ago, President Biden stood with Asian Americans across this nation against bigotry by signing the COVID-19 Hate Crimes Act into law. However, our work is not finished — members of the AAPI community continue to be the victims of violence, harassment, and discrimination. As we continue to work with the Department of Justice and state and local law enforcement to implement the COVID-19 Hate Crimes Act to its fullest extent, let us recommit ourselves to protecting and caring for all victims of racism and prejudice. I am proud of the work that my colleagues in CAPAC and President Biden have done to stand against the rise of hate in our nation, and I look forward to working with them to make our communities safer and our country more accepting. No one should have to live in fear of being hurt because of who they are.”

CAPAC Whip Rep. Ted W. Lieu (CA-36):

“Two years ago, Congress came together to pass the COVID-19 Hate Crimes Act and address the horrifying rise in hate crimes against members of the Asian American, Native Hawaiian, and Pacific Islander (AANHPI) community that spiked in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic. It is unacceptable that families across the country and the entire AANHPI community have had to mourn those lost to acts of hatred and bigotry. This legislation makes clear that racism has no home in our country. I am committed to continuing to work with my CAPAC colleagues, House Democrats, and President Biden to end all acts of anti-Asian hate.”

Sen. Mazie K. Hirono (HI):

“Since being signed into law, the COVID-19 Hate Crimes Act has equipped the federal government and our communities with additional resources to combat all forms of hate crimes and incidents, including anti-Asian hate. Passing this law was an important step forward in our fight to end this senseless violence, but our work is far from over.

“The AANHPI community has long been the target of racism and discrimination in this country. One in two Asian Americans report feeling unsafe in the U.S. due to their ethnicity and the majority—particularly young, Asian American women—feel like they do not belong or are not accepted in our country. Reports like these illustrate the importance of our continued work to provide our communities with the tools and support they need to combat hate crimes, because senseless acts of violence still plague marginalized communities across the country. Eternal vigilance is required from all of us to put an end to the discrimination, prejudice, and racism that our communities still face. I will continue doing everything I can to build a diverse future where hate-based violence is eradicated and every person is safe, accepted, and respected.”

Sen. Tammy Duckworth (IL):

“Two years ago, when the COVID-19 Hate Crimes Act was signed into law, we sent a strong and resolute message that our entire nation is committed to ending AANHPI hate. “I’m proud I helped Senator Hirono introduce this important legislation in the Senate and got this important law done to strengthen our enforcement of existing hate crime laws and support victims of this senseless, misguided violence—but our work is far from over. Until every American can live free of fear, we must keep calling out hate in all its forms and break the seemingly endless cycle of discrimination against our fellow Americans once and for all.”

Rep. Andy Kim (NJ-03):

“In passing the COVID-19 Hate Crimes Act two years ago, we took an important step toward stopping AAPI hate. But we are still at a critical moment in history. Just last week we learned from The Asian American Foundation’s 2023 STAATUS Index that 1 in 2 AAPIs feel unsafe in America. I am proud to have helped pass the COVID-19 Hate Crimes Act to deliver more resources for public hotlines and for training state and local law enforcement in identifying and reporting these crimes. On the two-year anniversary of being signed into law, we need action more than words. All Americans – including Asian Americans – deserve to feel included, safe, and valued across New Jersey and our country.”

Rep. Marilyn Strickland (WA-10):

“The historic COVID-19 Hate Crimes Act was an important step toward protecting our communities. Racial hate has no place in our national discourse, and I will continue to fight for AAPI rights.”

Sen. Cory Booker (NJ):

“The COVID-19 Hate Crimes Act has played a vital role in raising awareness, empowering communities, and providing resources to combat anti-AAPI incidents. I am proud to have worked with Senator Hirono and Representative Meng on this legislation and am grateful to President Biden for signing it into law two years ago today. We must continue to support and uplift our AAPI community and ensure their safety and well-being. Let us recommit to fostering inclusivity, condemning hate, and building a future where every individual is treated with dignity and respect. The fight against hate is ongoing, and we must remain vigilant in our pursuit of justice, equality, and unity.”

Rep. Pete Aguilar (CA-33):

“Two years ago today, President Biden signed the COVID-19 Hate Crimes Act into law. I was proud to stand with the Asian American Native Hawaiian and Pacific Islander community and help pass this critical civil rights legislation. While we recognize this legislation’s impact, we must continue building on this work to combat hate, racism and discrimination.”

Rep. Linda Sánchez (CA-38):

“During the COVID-19 pandemic, we witnessed a disturbing rise in anti-Asian hate crimes that impacted AAPI communities in Southern California and across the country. That is why I was proud to help pass the COVID-19 Hate Crimes Act two years ago—legislation that substantially increased resources to prevent and address hate crimes. But there is more work to be done. No one should fear for their safety when they leave the house, go to the mall, or walk down the street. I will keep fighting alongside my CAPAC colleagues to stop hate and discrimination.”


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