U.S. Rep. Grace Meng (D-N.Y.) has secured $30 million to help implement the COVID-19 Hate Crimes Act, the law she co-introduced to fight attacks against Asian Americans in the ongoing pandemic.
How the funds will be used: The money will be provided directly to community-based organizations, fulfilling a key provision in the Act.
- The fund can be used to implement and facilitate educational classes and community services for defendants convicted of hate crimes.
- It can also be used to create “culturally competent and linguistically appropriate” public education campaigns on data collection and public reporting of hate crimes.
- It can also be spent to: (1) support safety ambassadors escorting vulnerable community members; (2) offer in-language support — including mental health support — for victims and/or surviving families of hate crimes; and (3) provide bystander, de-escalation trainings in multiple languages.
- The money may also be used for other community-based strategies “deemed appropriate for communities of color and other vulnerable and historically disadvantaged communities.”
Meng’s commitment: Meng co-introduced the COVID-19 Hate Crimes Act with Sen. Mazie Hirono (D-Hawaii) in March to combat the rise in anti-Asian violence. The bill was signed into law by President Joe Biden in May.
- “Community-based organizations are the heartbeat of our communities,” Meng said in a statement. “Since the beginning of the pandemic, they have been on the front lines standing against the rise in bigotry and attacks. They’ve worked tirelessly to help victims and stop this spike in discrimination and intolerance, and they have done all this under-resourced. As my COVID-19 Hate Crimes Act addresses the problem, we must be certain that community groups have the resources they need to carry out parts of the new law.”
- Meng attached the latest funding to the Commerce, Justice, Science Appropriations bill, which is expected to pass the House later this month. She is a senior member of the House Appropriations Subcommittee on Commerce, Justice, Science and Related Agencies, which determines funding levels for the measure.
- The $30 million fund is allocated under a new grant program called “Community-Based Approaches to Advancing Justice.” Meng says it would help community-based organizations “scale up and expand out.”
Featured Image Screenshot via Rep. Grace Meng