WASHINGTON, DC – Representative Ami Bera, M.D. (D-CA) today voted for the COVID-19 Hate Crimes Act to address the rising number of hate crimes directed towards the Asian American and Pacific Islander (AAPI) community. The legislation, which passed the House of Representatives with strong bipartisan support, now heads to President Biden’s desk for his signature into law.
“Since the beginning of the pandemic, many Asian Americans have lived in fear of their safety because of the skyrocketing number of hate crimes that have been fueled by racist, xenophobic, and COVID related anti-Asian rhetoric,” said Representative Bera. “As businesses across the country are struggling to survive due to the COVID-19 pandemic, many Asian American businesses and business owners are dually combating the pandemic and racism, threatening their livelihoods, security, and sense of belonging. Asian Americans are also serving on the frontlines of this pandemic as health care professionals and service industry workers to help save lives every day, yet many are experiencing verbal harassment and even physical violence. The passage of the COVID-19 Hate Crimes Act will bring our nation one step closer to achieving justice and equality for the AAPI community, who has endured much over the past year. Today’s vote also reaffirms a simple truth: hate has no place in our country.”
The COVID-19 Hate Crimes Act would, among other things, create a position at the Department of Justice to facilitate expedited review of COVID-19 hate crimes, authorize grants to states to establish and run hate crime hotlines, and train officers on how to identify hate crimes and engage in community relations to address hate crimes. The bill also includes the text of the Jabara-Heyer NO HATE Act which would provide grants to state and local governments to improve hate crime reporting resources.
Rep. Bera is an Executive Board Member of the Congressional Asian Pacific American Caucus (CAPAC) and is the longest-serving Indian American Member of Congress.
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