Two Democratic lawmakers in the two chambers of Congress are pushing a bill that would speed up investigations of alleged hate crimes related to the pandemic.
Rep. Grace Meng (D-New York) and Sen. Mazie Hirono (D-Hawaii) reintroduced the COVID-19 Hate Crimes Act to the House and Senate on Thursday, reports CNN.
First proposed by Meng in 2020, the legislation seeks to address the recent spate of violent attacks against Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders across the country.
“We’ve seen the horrifying consequences of racist language as AAPI communities across our country experience hate crimes and violence related to the pandemic,” Hirono said in a statement.
The bill supports assigning a designated officer who will help expedite the review of hate crimes at the Justice Department particularly those reported during the pandemic.
It seeks to create an online platform available in multiple languages where victims can report hate crimes or incidents, expand “culturally competent and linguistically appropriate public education campaigns” and provide guidance on how to curb the use of discriminatory language when describing COVID-19.
In a statement, Meng said the legislation is intended to tackle the “disgusting pattern of hate” that the AAPI community has recently been facing.
“This must end and it is why we are working to ensure our justice system has the people and resources to effectively account for and mitigate anti-Asian hate crimes. I look forward to this bill becoming law,” Meng said
Justice Department officials reportedly conducted a listening session with over a dozen AAPI community groups earlier this month and sought feedback from district attorneys in areas with significant AAPI populations on case trends, data collection and community outreach.
Do you have a hate incident to report? Help us document the recent rise in hate crimes against Asian Americans by going to STOP AAPI HATE to report an incident. Please stay safe out there.