On behalf of the Racial Equity Anchor Collaborative—the foremost diverse coalition of national racial justice and civil rights organizations representing and serving more than 53 million people in the United States—we condemn in the strongest terms the recent uptick in documented hate incidents including bullying and harassment, hate crimes and violence being perpetrated against Asian Americans in recent weeks.
Since the start of the pandemic, there have been over 3,000 recorded hate incidents against the Asian American community, along with concern that law enforcement has been slow to investigate the incidents. In February, the attacks have been particularly egregious, including:
- In San Francisco, Vicha Ratanapakdee, an 84-year-old Thai American, was taking his morning walk, was shoved to the ground and died two days later.
- In Oakland, a 91-year-old Chinese American man was shoved to the ground, along with several shops vandalized in Chinatown.
- In San Jose, a 64-year-old Vietnamese-American grandmother was robbed following a Lunar New Year’s celebration.
- In New York, a 61-year-old Filipino American man’s face was slashed with a box cutter on the subway.
- In Queens, New York, a 52-year-old Chinese American woman was physically attacked. The suspect was apprehended after actress Olivia Munn tweeted calling for the public’s help.
The attacks targeting Asian Americans and the overall elevated levels of anti-Asian hate incidents since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic are part and parcel of a larger trend of racism sanctioned by the Trump Administration that this Collaborative previously denounced in 2017 and 2020. Four years of federal policy, rhetoric and messaging has also ushered in a rise in white supremacy and bigotry marked by increased anti-immigrant, and anti-Black sentiment and perpetuated acts of violence against communities of color.
While we welcome the Biden Administration’s recent rebuke of such violence in the recent Memorandum Condemning and Combating Racism, Xenophobia, and Intolerance Against Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders in the United States, it is a first step toward truly addressing the rise in violence and hate crimes—more comprehensive action is needed nationwide.
Communities of color, including Asian American communities, have heard words condemning this country’s past wrongs before. President Biden’s words, and that of other Congressional leaders, condemning the recent acts of hate makes it even more apparent that we need a comprehensive set of actions that actualizes a commitment to dismantling the decades of systematic and structural racism that has upheld white supremacy and allowed for the reoccurrence of violence and hate toward Asian Americans and other marginalized communities. This comprehensive set of actions include:
- Immediate and deep investment in the Asian American community including access to victims’ compensation funds, language accessibility and culturally competent community resources and services;
- Uniform Crime Reporting (UCR) agencies need to standardize and to include more details in their documentation of hate crimes;
- Local law enforcement and state agencies should fully comply with the Hate Crimes Statistics Act, and efforts should be made to include disaggregated data on the Asian American and Native Hawaiian, Pacific Islander community; and
- A strategy to address hate speech by government officials and those running for office.
Our collaborative stands ready to usher in these new recommendations, indeed anything less will foster such hate even further, which is simply unacceptable.
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The Racial Equity Anchor Collaborative includes the following leading national racial equity anchor organizations (the Anchors): Advancement Project National Office, Asian & Pacific Islander American Health Forum, Demos, Faith in Action, National Association for the Advancement of Colored People, National Congress of American Indians, National Urban League, Race Forward, and UnidosUS. Supported by the W.K. Kellogg Foundation, we work together to promote racial equity, advance racial healing, and ensure that all children, families, and communities have opportunities to reach their full potential.