Today Reps. Michelle Steel (CA-48) and Katie Porter (CA-45) introduced a resolution condemning hate crimes committed against Asian-American and Pacific Islanders, which have been on the rise since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic last year. Between March and December of last year, nearly 3,000 firsthand accounts of anti-Asian American and Pacific Islander hate crimes were recorded in the United States. Race has been cited as the primary reason for this discrimination, making up more than 90 percent of incidents.
On January 28, 2021, 84-year-old Vichar Ratanapakdee, an immigrant from Thailand, was horrifically attacked in front of his San Francisco home. He never regained consciousness and later died from the injuries sustained during the attack. Mr. Ratanapakdee’s murder brought this ongoing discrimination and violence against the AAPI community back into the national spotlight, and many groups have condemned this ongoing hate.
Reps. Ken Calvert (CA-42), Lou Correa (CA-46), Alan Lowenthal (CA-47), and Ashley Hinson (IA-01) have signed on as original cosponsors of the bipartisan resolution.
“Discrimination is against the fundamental values of American culture. The rise in discrimination and hateful targeting of the AAPI community has to stop. We must do everything we can to put an end to hate and help our neighbors, especially as we continue facing the COVID-19 pandemic together. Combating hate is a nonpartisan issue and I thank my California colleague, Rep. Porter, for joining me to condemn these actions,” said Rep. Steel.
“Every Orange County family should be able to live free from discrimination and hate,” Rep. Porter said. “The COVID-19 pandemic has caused a spike in racist violence against Asian American and Pacific Islanders, and it’s been made worse by disinformation by some elected leaders. I am proud to help lead this resolution that makes clear that Congress strongly condemns anti-Asian American and Pacific Islander hate.”
As Chairwoman of the Orange County Board of Supervisors, Rep. Steel introduced a resolution calling for “tolerance and compassion” towards all residents of Orange County. The resolution also condemned the discrimination that had been on the rise against the AAPI community.
The Korean American Grassroots Conference (KAGC), the Federation of Korean Associations USA, Faith and Community Empowerment (FACE), National Asian American PAC (NAAPAC), Korean American Presidency Coalition, and the Asian Pacific Islander American Public Affairs (APAPA) have endorsed this resolution.
“On behalf of KAPA, we join those who condemn all crimes against Americans of Asian descent and support this bipartisan resolution and all efforts to create greater awareness, increase prevention, and encourage reporting to authorities all acts of hate and violence,” said John Lim, chair of the Korean Americans for Political Action board.
Support from all levels of government, such as this resolution, is so critical to eradicate the prevalent anti-Asian racism that is spreading across this country when Asian Americans have contributed so much to this country historically and currently, as frontline workers and running essential businesses. Covid-19 has had disproportionate impact on Asians on infection and death rates, unemployment rated, and business closures. If our country is to be anti-racist, its policies need to include anti-racism against Asians whether it is in policies, funding, outreach and programming,”said Hypein Im, President and CEO, Faith and Community Empowerment.
This article was released by the Office of Rep. Michelle Steel.