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Open Letter: The COVID-19 Hate Crimes Act

Dear Friends,

I applaud President Biden for signing the COVID-19 Hate Crimes Act into law. This action came after both the U.S. Senate and the U.S. House of Representatives passed this legislation with overwhelming and historic bipartisan support.

The law aims to make reporting hate crimes more accessible by raising public awareness and ensuring reporting resources are available online in multiple languages, addressing a prevalent barrier to reporting crimes. It will create a new position at the Justice Department to expedite the review of hate crimes and incidents reported at the federal, state, and local levels. It will also enable grants to state and local governments to direct crime-reduction programs to prevent and respond to hate crimes in our neighborhoods.

We, the AAPI community, are genuinely pleased with this positive step forward during what has been a tremendously challenging time for our community. This legislation demonstrates that our leaders in Washington from both parties heard and recognized our voices and took an essential step toward ensuring a more equitable nation for Asian American Pacific Islanders, the fastest growing minority group in our nation.

This law focuses on criminal enforcement and does not aim at the root causes of hate crimes nor provides solutions to prevent the upsurge in anti-Asian hate and violence. I want to stress that there is more work to be completed. We know that for every $100 supported by private foundations, only 20 cents of those $100 go toward AAPI organizations. This results in our community lacking the proper resources and data to solve our most pressing and challenging problems, including hate and violence towards AAPI communities.

Our team at CASL is looking forward to productive conversations on race and equity with our neighbors from all communities, especially our allies who share so many of the same challenges and values. We know that only by working together will we be able to tackle the biggest challenges that minority communities face. Together, we can begin to heal. Together, we will continue to affirm the need for safety, well-being, and dignity in the AAPI community and beyond.

Yours in service,

Paul Luu signature 031821

Paul Luu, CASL CEO