Experts address violence and hatred against Asian Americans

Rep. Raja Krishnamoorthi (D-IL).

Indian American lawmaker Raja Krishnamoorthi discusses legislation to tackle issue.

US House members Raja Krishnamoorthi and Judy Chu joined an expert panel hosted by the US-India Political Action Committee (USINPAC) to address violence and hatred against Asian Americans and what’s being done to keep them safe.

Since the start of the Covid-19 pandemic last year, there has been a serious increase in the amount of anti-Asian rhetoric and violence throughout the country, noted a USINPAC press release.

The May 1 panel discussion was part of its bi-weekly series of panels addressing issues of importance to the Indian American community.

“It is deeply disturbing, this rise of hate,” said Krishnamoorthi, Indian American House member from Illinois noting, “The rise in hate crimes has been 169 percent in just the last year.”

READ: ‘Ethnicity, religion, immigration status add more layers to gender violence issue among South Asian Americans’ (July 16, 2017)

“That number has also been going up steadily in the past five years,” he said. “Combined with domestic, violent extremism, driven largely by white nationalism, this is an issue that we have to be worried about.”

“We have to fight discrimination, bigotry, intolerance, prejudice and hate wherever it rears its ugly head,” said Krishnamoorthi.

“This has been an incredibly difficult year for all of us as our country has struggled with a dangerous pandemic, an economic recession and historic grappling with issues of systemic racism, prejudice and violence,” said Chu.

“Since the start of the Coronavirus pandemic, there have been over 3,800 reported anti-Asian hate crimes and incidents, fueled by Donald Trump’s usage of the terms ‘China Virus’ and ‘Kung Flu,’ fanning the flames of xenophobia.”

Both Krishnamoorthi and Chu addressed specific instances of violence toward Asian Americans that have been widely publicized, including the shootings in Indianapolis and Atlanta.

They both also spoke about legislation Congress is taking up to tackle this pressing issue. Krishnamoorthi discussed his bipartisan Hate Crimes Commission Act which is co-sponsored by 150 US representatives.

Chu mentioned her meeting with President Joe Biden in the Oval Office to discuss his plan and the US Senate’s 94-1 passing of the Covid-19 Hate Crimes Act, which includes the text from her bill, the No Hate Act.

“The world is facing a lot of challenges, especially in the United States as the pandemic has spiraled out of control and, as a consequence of that, we have seen actions that have impacted the Asian American community,” said USINPAC Chairman Sanjay Puri.

“We brought together this distinguished panel to discuss this issue and inform Indian Americans, and all Asian Americans, about what is being done to keep them safe.”

Experts joining the panel included Dr. Pawan Dhingra, Professor of American Studies at Amherst College; Shawn Singh Ghuman, Co-Founder of the National Sikh Campaign; Dr. Maria Hwang, Professor of East Asian and Gender Studies at McGill University in Montreal; Aarti Kohli, Executive Director for Advancing Justice – Asian Law Caucus.

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