Hallelujah for the COVID-19 Hate Crimes Act? Of course. Now if it would only reduce hate crimes.
But let’s stay positive for a moment. Yes, a legislative response for once is a good one. Offered up previously and then shelved, Atlanta was the catalyst to finally make it all work. Rep. Grace Meng and Sen. Mazie Hirono deserve the credit to leverage the moment. They dusted off what should be a no-brainer, and did what legislation should do. With the winds of urgency at their backs, the bill was functional and symbolic. It creates a DOJ specialist position on hate crimes toward us so we don’t get overlooked. It creates in-language outreach to give people the courage to speak out and report instances of hate. And it shows the nation, again, that we count and won’t be taken advantage of.
“Those of Asian descent have been blamed and scapegoated for the outbreak of COVID-19, and as a result Asian Americans have been beaten, slashed, spat on and even killed,” said Meng in a statement. “The Asian American community is exhausted from being forced to endure this ongoing racism and prejudice. Asian Americans are tired of living in fear, and being frightened about their kids or elderly parents going outside. There have been over 6,600 reported acts of violence, with over two-thirds being reported by women. And those are just the reported numbers. As I have said, everybody in our country deserves to feel safe, and that includes the Asian American community.”
So Meng has clearly emerged, not just as the go-to Asian American leader in the New York region, but in the House for all Asian Americans.
But will it stop any hate crimes going forward?
The mechanics will be in place so we can report easily. But does it kill the hate in the hate crime perp?
So who left open the door to hate?
How about the 63 Republicans who voted AGAINST Meng’s hate crimes bill.
How can anyone in good conscience vote against a hate crimes bill?
How can you be against Asian Americans standing up and speaking up for themselves when viciously attacked on the basis of race?
That’s why as a public service, it’s important to list all the people who are against this notion that Asian Americans should speak out and report on crimes against Asian Americans.
If you’re an Asian American Republican, how can you stand by these people who support hate? Or just the suppression of any alleged crimes? Or just the suppression of Asian American voices?
Let it be known that even the villainous Sen. Ted Cruz of Texas reversed his position and voted for the Hate Crimes Act. Maybe the large AAPI vote in Texas matters to him. But it was not big enough in Missouri to convince Sen. Josh Hawley, he of the smiling Jan. 6 insurrection photo, to join the AAPI cause. Hawley was the lone Senator to vote against Asian Americans.
But he was joined by 62 others in the House. Here is the Dis-Honor Roll:
Robert Aderholt (Alabama), Rick Allen (Georgia), Jodey Arrington (Texas), Brian Babin (Texas), Jim Banks (Indiana), Andy Biggs (Arizona), Dan Bishop (North Carolina), Lauren Boebert (Colorado), Mo Brooks (Alabama), Ted Budd (North Carolina).
Tim Burchett (Tennessee), Kat Cammack (Florida), Jerry Carl (Alabama), Madison Cawthorn (North Carolina), Michael Cloud (Texas), Andrew Clyde (Georgia), Tom Cole (Oklahoma), Warren Davidson (Ohio), Byron Donalds (Florida), Jeff Duncan (South Carolina).
Virginia Foxx (North Carolina), Matt Gaetz (Florida), Louie Gohmert (Texas), Bob Good (Virginia), Lance Gooden (Texas), Paul Gosar (Arizona), Mark Green (Tennessee), Marjorie Taylor Greene (Georgia).
Michael Guest (Mississippi), Andy Harris (Maryland), Diana Harshbarger (Tennessee), Kevin Hern (Oklahoma), Yvette Herrell (New Mexico), Jody Hice (Georgia), Clay Higgins (Louisiana), Ronny Jackson (Texas), Mike Johnson (Louisiana), Jim Jordan (Ohio).
Trent Kelly (Mississippi), Doug LaMalfa (California), Barry Loudermilk (Georgia), Nancy Mace (South Carolina), Tracey Mann (Kansas), Thomas Massie (Kentucky), Tom McClintock (California), Mary Miller (Illinois), Alex Mooney (West Virginia).
Barry Moore (Alabama), Ralph Norman (South Carolina), Steven Palazzo (Mississippi), Gary Palmer (Alabama), Scott Perry (Pennsylvania), August Pfluger (Texas), Tom Rice (South Carolina), John Rose (Tennessee), Matt Rosendale (Montana).
David Rouzer (North Carolina), Chip Roy (Texas), John Rutherford (Florida), Greg Steube (Florida), Tom Tiffany (Wisconsin), Randy Weber (Texas).
Some real winners here. I’ve refrained from commenting on them individually. But their names should just say it all.
With their vote against the Hate Crimes bill, these 63 have just publicly expressed that Asian Americans don’t matter.
Plain as day. We should not forget. Not now. And not at election time.
As I mentioned, the Hate Crimes Act is important functionally and symbolically. Too bad it won’t kill the hate in others who commit future hate crimes.
In that sense, it’s just a good step toward an overall solution.
And as we approach the anniversary date of George Floyd’s death, it’s also unfortunate the new law does nothing to address another sad aspect of hate crimes.
What happens when the perp is a cop?
I’ll have more on that this week as we remember how far we’ve come in a year.
In the meantime, I’m doing some segments of my “Amok Monologues” on Zoom via the Marsh in San Francisco. On the 7th year after, I talk about the murder of my cousin Stephen. See the Zoom free on Monday, May 24, 7pm PT, with this link: https://themarsh.org/runs/mnmarshstream/
AND THERE’S ANOTHER EVENT: I am also telling a George Floyd story with an Asian American flavor on a program “Belonging—Asian American Stories,” presented by the Storytelling Association’s project “Stories In Living Color” on Zoom on Tuesday, May 25 at 6pm PT. I’ll be with five other storytellers.Tickets are available on a sliding scale.at this link: https://www.eventcombo.com/e/stories-in-living-color–belonging—asian-american-stories-42686
It will be my way of commemorating the one-year mark of George Floyd’s death.