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Schumer & NY’ers Rally In Koreatown To Pass Bill That Bolsters DOJ Efforts To Combat Rise In Violence Against Asian Americans; Senator Mazie Hirono Leads Bill In U.S. Senate, While NY’s Own Rep. Grace Meng Leads In The House

Anti-Asian Attacks Have Been On The Rise With NYPD Hate Crimes Task Force Investigating Threats & Violence; Schumer Says Locals Want To End This Madness & Feds Need More Tools To STOP The Rise 

Schumer: It’s Time To Pass The COVID-19 Hate Crimes Act Right NOW!    

Standing in Koreatown and rallying alongside the Asian community, U.S. Senator Charles Schumer pushed for passage of the COVID-19 Hate Crimes Act in the Senate—this week. He was joined by Rep. Grace Meng, the lead sponsor of the bill in the House. Schumer said, amid a continued rise in anti-Asian hate crimes and fear across the city and beyond, that the feds via the Department of Justice (DOJ) need more tools and locals need more help to stem this tide of intolerance, investigate hate crimes and bring some relief to communities across New York who remain on edge. As he made the case for passage, Schumer detailed this week’s plans for the legislation in the Senate.  

“We are here today to send a resounding message across this city—and beyond—to confront and eliminate anti-Asian hate wherever it might be,” said U.S. Senator Charles Schumer. “Amid a truly troubling rise in anti-Asian hate crimes across the city, and real worry in neighborhoods like this one in Koreatown, I stand with our neighbors and friends from the Asian American community to announce we will push passage of the COVID-19 Hate Crimes Act this week in the Senate. The bill gives the DOJ more tools, and locals more help, to stem this tide of intolerance, investigate hate crimes – in every corner or place they might occur—and ease the worry across this great and diverse city."

The bill, called the COVID-19 Hate Crimes Act, would address the rise of hate crimes and violence targeted at Asian Americans by designating a specific point person at DOJ to expedite the review of COVID-19-related hate crimes, providing more support for state and local law enforcement to respond to such crimes, and improving overall communication related to this unacceptable uptick in violence and worry. Schumer detailed aspects of the bill, while calling-out this scourge of hate as community leaders from across the city spoke.

“The ongoing anti-Asian hate has been horrific, especially incidents committed against our elderly Asian Americans. I am honored to have introduced the COVID-19 Hate Crimes Act with Senator Hirono to address this disgusting pattern of bigotry and violence,” said Congresswoman Meng of NY-6, who introduced the measure in the House. “Since the beginning of the coronavirus pandemic, there have been some 3,800 reported attacks against Asian Americans and the number is likely higher since many incidents go unreported. Even in my own district in Queens, New York, Asian Americans have been assaulted. To help combat the problem, we need DOJ to prioritize addressing these heinous acts by designating a point person for these COVID-19 related hate crimes; making it easier for victims to report crimes committed against them; and expanding public education campaigns to address COVID-19 hate crimes and incidents. This discrimination and violence must end and it is why we are working to pass my critical bill. I look forward to the measure becoming law.”

“The onslaught of hate and bias against Asian Americans has been particularly reprehensible during the pandemic, which Asian Americans have been repeatedly and irrationally blamed and scapegoated for. Government must respond in a range of ways to combat the bigotry and minimize its reoccurrence in the future. Congressmember Meng’s legislation will go a long way towards it and we are grateful to Leader Schumer for giving it high priority in the Senate,” said NYS Senator John Liu.

“As the first South Asian woman elected to a government office in the State of New York, I condemn the recent spike in hate crimes again our community nationwide. I join with Senator Schumer in calling for the immediate passage of the COVID-19 Hate Crimes Act, which will gives us the tools we need locally to combat intolerance,” said State Assemblywoman Jenifer Rajkumar.

"The COVID-19 Hate Crimes Act is the best way for the federal government to offer guidance to local police departments on how to handle the ongoing hate crimes against Asians throughout the country. Thank you to Congresswoman Grace Meng and Senator Mazie Hirono for championing this legislation, and to Senator Schumer for pushing for its passage," said City Council Member Peter Koo.

“In order to fight hate at its roots and create real change amongst our communities, it is vital that our efforts are fully funded and accessible for all. The COVID-19 Hate Crimes Act will provide greatly needed resources to the Department of Justice, which will allow the federal government to more efficiently investigate and prosecute hate crimes. I commend Representative Meng and Majority Leader Schumer for helping this important bill become law,” said Council Member Margaret Chin.

The COVID-19 Hate Crimes Act directs DOJ to:

  • Designate a DOJ employee to assist with expedited review of COVID-19 hate crimes reported to federal, state, and/or local law enforcement;
  • Provide guidance for state and local law enforcement agencies to:
    • establish online reporting of hate crimes or incidents, and to have online reporting available in multiple languages;
    • expand culturally competent and linguistically appropriate public education campaigns, and collection of data and public reporting of hate crimes; and
  • Issue guidance detailing best practices to mitigate racially discriminatory language in describing the COVID–19 pandemic, in coordination with the Secretary of Health and Human Services, the COVID–19 Health Equity Task Force and community-based organizations.

Schumer explained that having someone at DOJ who can lead on this issue will help expedite local cases that demand immediate review. He said legislation like this would also give locals more help, should they need federal support in weighing a hate crime charge. He also said online reporting of crimes like this should not all fall solely on locals, and that the federal government should be a partner in that process.

“A plan like this would also allow us to look at communities where these attacks are reoccurring, and possibly deliver even more federal resources in the form of coordination, federal funds, or even outreach campaigns. These are costs that might otherwise be incurred solely by the city, but in actuality should be supported by the federal government,” Schumer added. “To overcome this scourge, we all have to work together.”