Hate Crimes Act now the law of the land

May 26, 2021

The COVID-19 Hate Crimes Act is now the law of the land

President Biden recently signed the COVID-19 Hate Crimes Act into law – a momentous step towards confronting the uptick in anti-Asian racism seen since the pandemic began. Hate crimes have historically been underreported by Asian Americans due to a lack of culturally competent and language accessible resources, among other issues. In response, this bill expedites the review of COVID-19-related hate crimes, makes online hate crimes and hate incident reporting language accessible, and expands the public awareness of campaigns designed to increase awareness and outreach to victims. This bill will also disaggregate victims’ protected characteristics and expand restorative justice practices and alternative sentencing, a step away from the carceral system. In summary, this bill improves the overall infrastructure needed for hate crime reporting, data collection, and justice.

While we welcome this legislation and believe it to be the most important civil rights bills for Asian Americans in American history, we also understand this is merely a step. We have to continue working towards eliminating the root causes of systemic racism, white supremacy, and violence in the United States. In addition to passing this bill, we must continue working to incorporate AAPI history into our K-12 curriculums, securing the freedom to vote by passing the For the People Act and John Lewis Voting Rights Act, and increasing appropriations to programs that support local AAPI communities.