In an effort to curb anti-Asian American sentiment that has sprouted since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, the Los Angeles City Council Wednesday voted in favor of a resolution to support a federal bill that would direct local authorities to take action against hate incidents.
The council’s resolution supports H.R. 908, a U.S. House of Representatives resolution that would condemn anti-Asian American sentiments and call on public officials to take action against credible threats of hate crimes.
“Since this pandemic started, Asian Americans have been targeted. Asian Americans have been discriminated against, and even more worrisome Asian Americans have been assaulted and injured,” Councilman David Ryu said. “Perhaps worst of all, this discrimination and fear mongering is repeated at the highest levels of government.”
The hate incidents were spurred likely due to
The origin of the new coronavirus has been traced to a market in Wuhan, the capital of central China’s Hubei province, by public health officials in that country. City officials claim that incidents of hate have been fueled in part by politicians who use terms like “Chinese Virus” to describe the outbreak, as President Donald Trump did on multiple occasions in March.
“What we find in dealing with victims of hate crimes, and particularly where it’s random, the Asian American community is just like every other community,” District Attorney Jackie Lacey said, adding some of the incidents have happened in middle and high school settings. “Sometimes, they don’t want to report crimes, they’re afraid of retaliation, they fear public ridicule.”
City Attorney Mike Feuer joined a conference call with Lacey that also addressed anti-Asian American hate incidents.
According to the Asian Pacific Policy and Planning Council, 1,700 hate incidents — not necessarily hate crimes — have taken place in the United States since the start of the pandemic, and 58% of them took place in New York and California, where Asian American and Pacific Islander communities are prevalent.
“What that tells us is that this phenomenon is widespread,” said Manju Kulkarni, the executive director of the Asian Pacific Policy and Planning Council.
The council’s website, www.a3pcon.org/stopaapihate, has more information on stopping hate incidents and for people to report incidents they have experienced.
Feuer said no incidents that would be considered a hate crime against Asian Americans in Los Angeles have been reported to his office since March, but the purpose of Wednesday’s discussion was to help people understand that they can report hate incidents to local authorities.
“All of us need to inspire people to come forward if they feel victimized,” Feuer said. “We have one crisis, a public health crisis, we cannot allow it to become a human relations crisis that will tear our communities apart.”
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