May 14, 2021

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U.S. Senate Passes Covid-19 Hate Crimes Act

Covid-19 Hate Crimes Act

On March 21, Schumer, the majority leader of the U.S. Senate, delivered a speech at an anti-Asian discrimination rally in New York City. (Reuters)

The US Senate passed an overwhelming majority of legislation aimed at combating hate crimes more effectively in response to the surge in hate crimes targeting Asians since the outbreak of the coronavirus pandemic.

The Voice of America reported that the Coronavirus Hate Crimes Act received rare cross-party support in the Senate on Thursday (22nd), and was passed by a huge vote of 94 to 1. Only the Republican Senator from Missouri, Josh Hawley, voted against it.

According to the Senate version, this bill will authorize the Department of Justice to appoint an official to speed up the investigation of hate crime reports and help local and state law enforcement agencies respond to hate crimes: such as issuing guidelines and establishing a multilingual online hate crime reporting system, To establish a hate crime database, to help local agencies develop public education campaigns for the prevention and reporting of hate crimes, and to provide funding for various states to set up hate crime reporting hotlines, etc.

One of the initiators of the “Covid-19 Hate Crimes Act”, Democratic Senator Yoshiko Hirono of Hawaii, said before voting in the Senate: “By passing this bill, we will send a strong message of unity to the Asian-Pacific community and act as an anti-Asian community. When violence surges in our country, the Senate will not stand idly by.”

According to data from Stop AAPI Hate, an advocacy organization that tracks hate incidents, since March 2020, they have received nearly 3,800 reports of hate incidents targeting Asians across the country, and before that, There are only about 100 cases every year. In 2021, there were 987 reports of hate crimes against Asians in the first two months alone.

In March this year, shootings occurred in three massage parlors in Atlanta, killing eight people, six of whom were Asian women. This incident prompted the two parties in Congress to take faster action and adopt a more united attitude to enact legislation against Asian hate crimes.

Senate Majority Leader Schumer said: “Today’s vote on the Anti-Asian Hate Crimes Act proves that when the Senate has the opportunity to work, it can work hard to solve important issues.”

The Coronary Hate Crimes Act has been submitted to the House of Representatives controlled by the Democratic Party. If the bill is passed in the House of Representatives, it will then be signed into law by President Biden.

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