Story at a glance
- Rep. Grace Meng (D-N.Y.) introduced a measure asking the federal government to condemn incidents of racism against Asian Americans.
- The measure also asks for improved data collection and investigation of anti-Asian hate crimes.
The U.S. House of Representatives is expected to pass a measure Thursday condemning all acts of anti-Asian American discrimination as related to COVID-19.
The resolution, sponsored by Rep. Grace Meng (D-N.Y.), was introduced in March and asks all public officials to denounce anti-Asian racism related to the coronavirus. It also requests federal law enforcement to take specific action regarding Asian American hate crimes, including to “expeditiously investigate and document” discriminatory incidents, collect data to track episodes of anti-Asian incidents, and to hold perpetrators accountable.
Speaking with USAToday, Meng said that passing of the measure would be a paramount step in supporting the Asian American community during the pandemic, which has experienced a spike in discrimination since the virus first emerged in Wuhan, China, late last year.
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“We’re glad that the House is taking a very strong and public stance against the discrimination and the violence that is happening during this public health crisis,” Meng said.
The resolution was prompted by a spike in anti-Asian discrimination first observed at the start of this year, with authors of the resolution noting “a dramatic increase in reports of hate crimes and incidents against those of Asian descent” in January. Rep. Judy Chu (D-Calif.) also cited a statistic that hate crimes against Asian Americans rose to 100 incidents per day in March.
The measure also notes that the usage of informal terminology to refer to COVID-19, such as the “China Virus,” “Wuhan Virus,” and “Kung flu,” have further fueled sentiment against Asian communities. Several of these terms have been used by President Trump.
Following criticism surrounding his use of the term, Trump has tweeted his support of the Asian community.
It is very important that we totally protect our Asian American community in the United States, and all around the world. They are amazing people, and the spreading of the Virus….
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) March 23, 2020
Meng’s measure would not require the president to sign it, but would ideally send a strong message of federal support of Asian American communities.
“It is something that is important, symbolic, and should be easy to stand up in defense of the Asian American community and to denounce violence,” she told reporters.