Heart of LA Democratic Club Statement Denouncing Violence and Hate Crimes Against the Asian American and Pacific Islander Community
The Heart of LA Democratic Club condemns the rising racist violence, hate crimes, and incidents of bigotry towards the Asian American and Pacific Islander community in the United States. Violence, hate crimes, and acts of discrimination against AAPI people cannot be tolerated in America. These acts are deplorable and must stop. People of good conscience and our elected officials must stand up against it everywhere.
As we approach one year since the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, incidents of anti-Asian discrimination continue to increase across the country, and particularly in our home state of California. The nonprofit organization Stop AAPI Hate documented 2,583 self-reported incidents of anti-Asian discrimination between March and August of 2020, of which more than 40% took place in California. The total number of racist incidents and hate crimes for the one-year period of time tops more than 3,000, including the recent murder of an 84-year-old Thai man in San Francisco and a 61-year-old Filipino man in New York City whose face was slashed with a knife. Children and young adults have been subjected to racist attacks, including a recent unprovoked attack on 27-year-old Denny Kim in Los Angeles’s Koreatown. Age and stature do not matter. National Basketball Association veteran Jeremy Lin, the first American of Chinese or Taiwanese descent to play in the NBA, alleged that another player recently called him “coronavirus.” The increase in hate crimes against the AAPI community matches a terrifying increase in hate crimes in the United States over the past several years, fueled by the former president whose presidency was characterized by bigoted, ignorant, and bullying tweets and statements masquerading as domestic and foreign policy. In 2019, the FBI documented 7,314 criminal incidents and 8,559 related offenses as being motivated by bias towards race, ethnicity, ancestry, religion, sexual orientation, disability, gender, and gender identity. These incidents include those reported to the 15,558 participating law enforcement agencies and included increased acts of hatred against Latino Americans, African Americans, Muslims, Arab Americans, the Jewish community, the Armenian people, people with disabilities, and transgender people. Statistics are not yet available for 2020.
Since the discovery of the COVID-19 virus, the former president and his allies refer to it by names such as “the Kung flu,” “China virus,” and “Wuhan virus,” intended to target and scapegoat AAPI people and deflect responsibility for the Trump administration’s criminal malpractice and failure to address this health crisis and instead direct public anger to an ethnic group that matched the racist labels. In the United States, we have seen this tactic and its tragic results before—for example in the Chinese Exclusion Act of 1882 and the Immigration Act of 1924 (the Asian Exclusion Act and National Origins Act) and President Franklin D. Roosevelt’s devastating 1942 mistake of signing Executive Order 9066, which codified the scapegoating of Japanese Americans and resulted in their imprisonment, forced migration, and the stealing of their property. On January 26, 2021, the White House released the Memorandum Condemning Racism, Xenophobia, and Intolerance Against Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders in the United States. On February 19, members of the Congressional Asian Pacific American Caucus (CAPAC), Congressional Black Caucus (CBC), and Congressional Hispanic Caucus (CHC) – collectively known as the Tri-Caucus - and Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi held a press conference to denounce the recent spike in anti-Asian hate crimes and violence. Heart of LA joins in the chorus of voices that calls for every level of law enforcement, from the Department of Justice to the local police and sheriff departments, to coordinate their reporting of hate crimes, train officers to respond, and take other proactive measures to prevent additional hateful acts. We join with Democratic leaders in the Tri-Caucus in calling on Congress to reintroduce and pass the Khalid Jabara and Heather Heyer NO HATE Act, which would bolster federal aid for hate crime training and reporting. We must stand up to all acts of racism and hatred.
About the Heart of LA Democratic Club Founded in March 2017, the Heart of L.A. Democratic Club was created in recognition of the growing awareness within the Democratic Party that women should be fully and equally represented in local, state, and national politics. The Heart of L.A. Democratic Club is open to all Democrats who subscribe to the club’s goals and purposes regardless of their gender identity. The mission of The Heart of L.A. Democratic Club is to help make the Democratic Party and its elected officials responsive to, and responsible for, the needs of all people, particularly, though not exclusively, women in our community. In addition to endorsing and organizing for candidates, The Heart of LA Democratic Club actively participates in voter registration, community outreach and issues/legislative advocacy on areas including social equity, reproductive justice, homelessness, voting rights, immigration, hate and discrimination, gun violence, criminal justice reform and more.