For Immediate Release
Yesterday, the U.S. Senate passed S. 937, the COVID-19 Hate Crimes Act, that would expedite the U.S. Department of Justice’s (DOJ) review of hate crimes and would designate a top DOJ official to oversee the effort. The bill also requires the DOJ to issue guidance for state and local law enforcement agencies on how to establish online hate crime reporting processes in multiple languages, and how to expand culturally competent education campaigns. Additionally, the bill requires the DOJ and the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services to issue guidance on best practices for mitigating racially discriminatory language in describing the COVID-19 pandemic.
The legislation, which was introduced by Senator Mazie Hirono (D-HI), sends a powerful message to the Asian American and Pacific Islander (AAPI) community that the U.S. government will take action to meaningfully address the drastic increase in violence and discrimination targeting our community during the COVID-19 pandemic.
APABA-DC continues to denounce crimes and acts of discrimination driven by hate and xenophobia and to call on our nation’s leaders to take action to combat AAPI hate. We are heartened that the Senate acted on a bipartisan basis in passing the bill by a 94-1 margin. We now urge the U.S. House of Representatives to act swiftly to pass the bill and President Biden to sign the legislation into law.