More than 85 Asian and LGBTQ organizations have expressed their opposition to the COVID-19 Hate Crimes Act, claiming that the legislation relies on “anti-Black” law enforcement responses.
The bill, which passed the Senate in April, responds to the surge in reporting of anti-Asian incidents amid the COVID-19 pandemic by mandating the “expedited review of hate crimes and reports of hate crimes.”
Their claims: The organizations believe the bill “contradicts Asian solidarity with Black, Brown, undocumented, trans, low-income, sex worker and other marginalized communities whose liberation is bound together.”
- The groups said bolstering law enforcement and criminalization “does not keep us safe,” but only worsens violence against “Asian communities facing some of the greatest disparities and attacks.”
- The bill also “ignores that police violence is also anti-Asian violence, which has disproportionately targeted Black and Brown Asians,” they added.
- The groups cited the names of Christian Hall and Angelo Quinto, who were “killed by police during mental health crises.”
- They argued that in its current form, the bill “would create no systemic change to address racism” and “only increase crime statistics collection.”
Their demands: The organizations are calling on Congress and fellow movement groups to oppose the bill.
- Instead of law enforcement, the organizations suggest shifting resources to communities through investments in “community-based interventions” and “non-carceral alternatives.”
- They also proposed “removing police from communities and neighborhoods.”
- The groups said bias violence must be designated as a “public health issue” so that public policy interventions can be based on non-criminal legal research and prevention efforts.
- They are also rejecting proposals against anti-Asian bias that are “inherently anti-Black, anti-immigrant and harmful for the most marginalized in our communities.”
National coalition Stop AAPI Hate has recorded 6,603 anti-Asian incidents between March 19, 2020 and March 31, 2021.
The groups’ full statement can be read here.
Featured Image via Jason Leung