Meng Hails Senate Passage of Her COVID-19 Hate Crimes Act to Combat Anti-Asian Hate
Apr 22, 2021
WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today, U.S. Rep. Grace Meng (D-Queens) hailed the Senate’s passage of her COVID-19 Hate Crimes Act, which seeks to help combat the rise in anti-Asian hate related to the coronavirus. The legislation, which Meng reintroduced last month with Senator Mazie Hirono (D-HI), was approved this afternoon with bipartisan support. The vote was 94 to 1.
The bill, would among other things, create a position at the Department of Justice to facilitate expedited review of COVID-19 hate crimes, encourage more reporting of incidents in multiple languages, and help make different communities feel more empowered to come forward and report these incidents. It would also direct federal agencies to work with community-based organizations to raise awareness of hate crimes during the pandemic.
“For more than a year, Asian Americans all across our nation have been screaming out for help, and in passing the legislation sponsored by Senator Hirono and I, the Senate showed that they heard our pleas,” said Meng. “I thank and applaud each and every senator who voted to pass our bill which was a bold step in taking action to combat the ongoing hate and violence against Asian Americans. I also want to especially thank my hometown Senator, Majority Leader Chuck Schumer for shepherding the measure through the Senate and securing its overwhelming bipartisan support. We’ve all heard the sickening stories and seen the horrifying videos of Asian Americans being beaten, slashed and spat on. Today, the Senate said enough is enough, and underscored loud and clear that there is no place for hate anywhere in our society. More reporting of hate crimes will provide us with increased data and a more accurate picture of the attacks that have been occurring against those of Asian descent, and a more centralized and unified way of reviewing these crimes would help to address the problem in a more effective manner.”
“I have heard from so many Asian Americans who tell me that they are scared to walk outside,” added Meng. “Families won’t let their kids go to the park or play outdoors. People are urging their parents and grandparents to stay inside, telling them that they’ll run their errands and deliver groceries to them. Being forced to endure this terror and fear is unconscionable and unacceptable. Everybody in our country deserves to feel safe, and that includes the Asian American community. Again, I commend the Senate for moving our COVID-19 Hate Crimes Act closer to the finish line, and I now look forward to the House swiftly following suit.”
The House is expected to take-up Meng’s legislation in May, during Asian Pacific American Heritage Month.
President Biden issued a statement last month saying he supports Meng’s bill, and called on Congress to pass it.
In addition to the COVID-19 Hate Crimes Act, Meng has spoken out and worked tirelessly for more than a year to fight the spike in hate and racist attacks against Asian Americans. These include, among other things, passing a resolution to denounce this increased xenophobia and violence and introducing an updated version of the measure; President Biden’s presidential memorandum that included several pieces of legislation she sponsored; and her recent emotional testimony before an historic House Judiciary Subcommittee hearing on the rise of intolerance and discrimination towards Asian Americans. The Congresswoman also traveled to Georgia following the recent mass shooting at Atlanta-area spas and joined Mayor de Blasio in February to discuss her efforts to combat anti-Asian hate.
In addition, Meng was a victim of anti-Asian bigotry when she received several racist and hate-filled messages on her office voicemail after her resolution passed the House in September.