TAAF Statement on the two-year anniversary of the COVID-19 Hate Crimes Act
May 20, 2023– Two years ago, the COVID-19 Hate Crimes Act was passed with bipartisan support. It was an important step in recognizing the surging hate and violence against the Asian American and Pacific Islander community and ensured victims receive much-needed support.
This legislation was introduced by Rep. Grace Meng (D-NY) and Sen. Mazie Hirono (D-HI) to make the reporting of hate crimes more accessible through state and federal institutions, and expand reporting resources in a wider range of languages. These meaningful changes have allowed those who are victims of hate to make their voices heard, and underscored the need to combat hate-related incidents.
Today, we are heartened by signs of progress, yet reminded of the work we still have to do. According to the 2023 STAATUS Index, 1 in 2 Asian Americans have felt uncomfortable or unsafe due to their race and ethnicity, especially on public transit and in their own neighborhoods. Nearly 80% of AAPIs lack a true feeling of belonging and acceptance in the US due in large part to having directly experienced racial or ethnic discrimination.
Although COVID-19 is declining in the US, recent attacks, such as in Allen, TX where four AAPIs were killed, remind us of the continued lack of safety for our community. We must work together to continue the momentum and ensure that local, state, and national leaders continue to prioritize providing resources and support to the community. TAAF recently announced a new 5-year strategy and $65 million commitment to support AAPIs across the country to build a safer, more inclusive future. This includes the expansion of our Anti-Hate National Network to nine cities this year to cover 40% of the AAPI population and focusing on building belonging through our education and narrative change work.