March 24, 2021

Hirono, Duckworth, Colleagues Introduce Resolution Condemning Anti-Asian Hatred, Discrimination Related to COVID-19 Pandemic

WASHINGTON, D.C. –Today, Senators Mazie K. Hirono (D-Hawaii) and Tammy Duckworth (D-Ill.) along with 35 of their Senate colleagues introduced a resolution to condemn all forms of anti-Asian sentiment, racism, and discrimination, and call on federal officials, in collaboration with state and local agencies and Asian American and Pacific Islander (AAPI) community organizations to address the rise in COVID-19-related hate crimes. The resolution was introduced in the wake of the Atlanta shooting—where eight people were killed, including six women of Asian descent, and following a new report that AAPIs were targeted in nearly 3,800 hate incidents across the country since last March.

“Our country’s AAPI community has experienced escalating verbal attacks and physical violence since the coronavirus pandemic began, including the devastating killings last week in Atlanta. We must reject all forms of xenophobia and address the harm to our AAPI communities. Passing this resolution would send a clear message, that hate, bigotry, and anti-Asian sentiment have no place in our country,” Senator Hirono said.

“After a year of hateful, offensive rhetoric being used in an attempt to racialize the COVID-19 pandemic against Asian Americans, we’ve seen a spike in hate crimes, violent assaults and discrimination targeting the AAPI community,” said Senator Duckworth. “As the AAPI community continues to be attacked, I’m proud to introduce this important resolution with Senator Hirono to condemn all forms of anti-Asian sentiment, including those made worse by the COVID-19 outbreak.”

A similar resolution was introduced in the House of Representatives by Representative Grace Meng (D-N.Y.) last month and now has 145 cosponsors.

“The answer to racism is never more racism; it is solidarity with others. It is up to each of us to call out those who would commit anti-Asian hate crimes, be it verbal or physical acts of xenophobia and bigotry. I thank Senators Hirono and Duckworth for introducing the Senate version of my House resolution condemning those hateful incidents,” said Representative Meng. “Their resolution comes at a particularly tragic moment as we continue to mourn the eight people—including the six Asian women—who were murdered last week in the Atlanta-area. Last year, my resolution passed the House, but 164 Republicans voted against it. Let’s correct these errors. Passing both resolutions should not be a partisan issue. Stopping the attacks against Asian Americans is not a partisan issue. Standing against hate, fear, and injustice is not a partisan issue. I urge both the House and Senate to bring these measures up for a vote.”

In addition to Senators Hirono and Duckworth, the resolution is cosponsored by Senators Tammy Baldwin (D-Wis.), Michael Bennet (D-Colo.), Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.), Cory Booker (D-N.J.), Sherrod Brown (D-Ohio), Maria Cantwell (D-Wash.), Ben Cardin (D-Md.), Tom Carper (D-Del.), Bob Casey (D-Pa.), Chris Coons (D-Del.), Catherine Cortez Masto (D-Nev.), Dick Durbin (D-Ill.), Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.), Kirsten Gillibrand (D-N.Y.), Tim Kaine (D-Va.), Amy Klobuchar (D-Minn.), Ed Markey (D-Mass.), Bob Menendez (D-N.J.), Jeff Merkley (D-Ore.), Chris Murphy (D-Conn.), Patty Murray (D-Wash.), Alex Padilla (D-Calif.), Jack Reed (D-R.I.), Jacky Rosen (D-Nev.), Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.), Brian Schatz (D-Hawaii), Jeanne Shaheen (D-N.H.), Tina Smith (D-Minn.), Debbie Stabenow (D-Mich.), Chris Van Hollen (D-Md.), Mark Warner (D-Va.), Raphael Warnock (D-Ga.), Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.), Sheldon Whitehouse (D-R.I.), and Ron Wyden (D-Ore.). 

The resolution:

  • Condemns all forms of anti-Asian sentiment, including racism, xenophobia, discrimination, and scapegoating, related to COVID–19;
  • Recognizes that the health and safety of all people of the United States, regardless of background, must be the utmost priority;
  • Calls on federal law enforcement officials, working with state and local agencies to
    • expeditiously investigate and document all credible reports of hate crimes, harassment, bullying, and threats against AAPI communities;
    • expand data collection and reporting to document the rise in incidences of hate crimes relating to COVID–19; and
    • hold the perpetrators of those crimes, incidents, or threats accountable and bring such perpetrators to justice;
  • Calls on the Attorney General to work with state and local agencies and AAPI community-based organizations to prevent discrimination, and expand culturally appropriate education campaigns on public reporting of hate crimes;
  • Calls on the Secretary of Health and Human Services, in coordination with the COVID–19 Health Equity Task Force and AAPI community-based organizations, to issue guidance to mitigate racially discriminatory language in describing the COVID–19 pandemic; and
  • Recommits the United States to serve as a model in building a more inclusive, diverse, and tolerant society.

The full resolution text is available here.

“We must confront the episodes of hate and violence Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders have long endured in this country, and call out the lies fueling anti-Asian scapegoating today,” said Senator Whitehouse. “I am proud to stand shoulder-to-shoulder with Senators Hirono and Duckworth in this fight and thank them for their leadership.”

“The increase in hate crimes against the Asian American community in the United States shows once again how far our country has to go to defeat racism and white supremacy. Especially since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, anti-Asian attacks have been on the rise, fed in part by ugly rhetoric, pointed insinuations and slurs from politicians trying to win political points. Congress must recognize these atrocities and fight intolerance in our own halls and around the nation,” Senator Wyden said.  

“Over the past year, throughout the pandemic, we have seen a rise in discrimination and violence targeting the Asian-American community, culminating last week when six Asian-American women were murdered during a killing spree in Atlanta,” Senator Durbin said. “I am joining Senators Duckworth and Hirono to condemn anti-Asian sentiment in this country at every level, because hate should have no place in America.”

“The violence and racism Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders have experienced this past year is wrong and it must stop. Nevada’s AAPI community is a vital, vibrant part of our state, and we must all speak out against the hatred that has been spreading during the pandemic. I’m proud to join this resolution to unequivocally condemn intolerance and discrimination, and to call on Congress to protect and uplift AAPI voices across the country,” said Senator Cortez Masto.

“The violent hate crimes we have seen committed against members of the Asian American and Pacific Islander communities in Washington state and across the country are unacceptable and there must be accountability,” Senator Murray said. “These heinous acts have become increasingly common during the pandemic and as we work to address the broader consequences of systemic racism throughout our society, we must take steps right now to keep members of the Asian American and Pacific Islander communities safe and send a message that violence and hate crimes against these communities must stop immediately.”

“Since the start of the pandemic one year ago, the AAPI community in the U.S. has been the target of increased attacks, both verbal and physical. While the previous Administration gave oxygen to racist and xenophobic rhetoric, this resolution sends a clear message that there is no place in our nation for bigotry and discrimination,”Senator Carper said. “I stand firm in condemning these acts of hate, and stand in solidarity with our Asian-American community.”

“According to Stop AAPI Hate, there have been nearly 3,800 reports of anti-AAPI incidents in the U.S. this year. We must all stand in solidarity with the AAPI community to denounce hateful rhetoric and condemn the alarming rise in anti-Asian violence fueled by extremism and false narratives regarding COVID-19,” said Senator Casey. “The Senate must also acknowledge America’s long history of racism towards Asian Americans, and work to eradicate the extremism, bias and ignorance fueling this hateful violence.”

“The rise in anti-Asian hate crimes is shameful, dangerous, deadly and has no place in our country,” said Senator Menendez. “AAPI community members are our neighbors, teachers, small business owners and community leaders. They are an integral part of the fabric of our nation and part of the incredible diversity that makes New Jersey unique and a great place to live, work and raise a family. We may not be able to legislate hatred out of one’s heart but we can certainly stand unified against racism, xenophobia and discrimination.”

“The alarming surge of racist and violent attacks against Asian Americans is unacceptable. More than ever, we must stand together,” said Senator Rosen. “That’s why I’ve joined this resolution calling for our federal agencies to address these indefensible attacks and confront anti-Asian xenophobia in the face of COVID-19. I’m honored to represent Nevada, home to one of the fastest growing AAPI communities in the nation, and I’ll continue to listen to the needs of our AAPI community members to ensure that they are treated with the respect and dignity they deserve.”

“Over the past year, violence against Asian American communities has risen dramatically, culminating in last week’s horrific shooting in Atlanta that took the lives of six Asian women. We cannot stand by while these forces of bigotry and ignorance continue to plague our nation,” said Senator Coons. “I’m proud to join Senator Hirono in introducing this resolution to strongly condemn anti-Asian racism and intolerance, and I’m committed to working with my colleagues to hold the perpetrators of these crimes accountable.”

“The conspiracy theory that Asian Americans are responsible for the COVID pandemic is reprehensible and has turned dangerous. We have a responsibility to refute such vile racism in all of its forms, particularly when it leads to violence. All of us must stand up together and proclaim that hatred and racism directed at Asian Americans has to stop. I call on all our colleagues to join us in condemning these abhorrent actions,” Senator Feinstein said.

“The blatantly racist language we’ve seen over the last year related to COVID-19 has tragically worsened attacks against Asian Americans across the country,” Senator Kaine said. “Congress must take a stand for our Asian American constituents and make clear that the rise of anti-Asian bigotry and violence has no place in our communities.”

"I stand with AAPI communities in Washington state and everywhere around the country. There must be accountability for the heinous violence we’ve seen, and we must stand up and speak out to stop the hate,” Senator Cantwell said.

“Since the start of the COVID-19 epidemic, Trump and political leaders have stoked violence against AAPI communities by repeatedly using racist rhetoric in regard to the virus,” said Senator Padilla. “The ongoing attacks against Asian Americans have been deeply disturbing – we must always condemn hate in all forms. I’m proud to join Senators Hirono and Duckworth on this critical resolution, and stand in solidarity with our AAPI communities to make clear that hate and racism will not be tolerated in this country.”

"I'm heartsick for the victims of the recent murders in Atlanta, their families, and for the Asian American and Pacific Islander community that has already lived in fear of violence during this crisis. Acts of terror and hate have no place in this country - and that is why I am glad to cosponsor this resolution to stand up to bigotry and hate whenever we see it,”said Senator Warren.

“During the COVID-19 pandemic, our nation has witnessed a surge in racism, xenophobia, and discrimination against Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders – even as many of them work on the front lines to defeat this virus,” said Senator Warner. “These actions have no place in our communities. To address the spike in anti-Asian rhetoric and hate crimes, we must stand in solidarity with the AAPI community while making clear that there is absolutely no connection between the virus and a person’s race or ethnic group.”

“Asian-American communities in Atlanta, Connecticut, and across the country are hurting. I’m glad to join my colleagues in standing up in support of the Asian American and Pacific Islander community and calling out hate wherever, and whenever, we see it,”said Senator Murphy.

“The shootings we saw last week in Atlanta were a shattering attack, and sadly, we know that they were not the first and will not be the last attack sparked by dangerous anti-Asian bias. We’ve seen a sharp rise in hate crimes against the AAPI community here in the U.S. and it’s got to end. It’s incumbent on all of us to speak out against this dangerous hatred in our communities and confront bigotry and racism in our country,” Senator Merkley said.

“Over the last year, racist violence against Asian-Americans, particularly women, older people, and workers, has increased sharply. It must end now. We cannot tolerate this kind of racism. We cannot allow ourselves to be divided up by hate. We must stand with the Asian-American community all over this country,” Senator Sanders said.

“We cannot be silent in the face of the violence and hate targeting our Asian American and Pacific Islander communities. Each of us not only has a moral obligation to forcefully speak out against this bigotry and racism, but to also take action to stop it. That’s why this resolution wholly condemns these despicable words and actions and calls on all levels of government to do more to combat this hate,” said Senator Van Hollen.

“We need to stop the hate. Referring to this global pandemic by anything other than its appropriate, medical names has inflamed the worst stereotypes, fear, and xenophobia in the face of a health crisis. Irrationally blaming Asian or Asian-American neighbors and random strangers is simply wrong,” said Senator Cardin. “The Senate, and every person in this country, needs to call out the hate, bullying and scapegoating whenever we see it and work together as one community to overcome COVID-19.”

“The horrific shooting rampage in Georgia is only the latest egregious incident in a sickening, despicable trend of anti-AAPI violence that has terrorized the Asian American community over recent months. Stop AAPI Hate has recorded more than 3,800 incidents of harassment, discrimination, and sometimes physical assault against Asian Americans since last year – spurred and encouraged and condoned by public officials who use hate-filled rhetoric to cover their own failings in dealing with the pandemic. The increase in violence against Asian Americans must end – we need to acknowledge it, and then we need to do something about it,” Senator Blumenthal said.

"We cannot tolerate the anti-Asian hate that has surged in our country. It is on all of us to stand up against anti-Asian sentiment and take concrete actions to stop it," Senator Bennet said.

“As we see a rise in hate crimes against Asian Americans, we are again reminded that these crimes inflict trauma not just on individual victims but on entire communities,”said Senator Klobuchar. “We must condemn this hateful rhetoric and violence and ensure that the perpetrators are held accountable.”

“The events of January 6, the attack in Atlanta, the near-daily reports of anti-Semitic graffiti, and the continued rise of attacks against Asian Americans throughout the pandemic should be a wakeup call to the urgent need to tackle domestic violent extremism in this country. We all have a responsibility to step up and loudly condemn violence against Asian Americans — and the bigoted language which fuels it,” said Senator Gillibrand. “I am proud to join Senators Hirono and Duckworth to condemn all forms of anti-Asian sentiment. It is critical that Congress immediately act to remove dangers, target white supremacists, and take the necessary steps to keep Americans safe.”

“As Americans, we have a duty to speak out when we see instances of racism. We need to call the murder of eight people last week in Atlanta for what it is. Hatred and bigotry of any kind has no place in our country. I stand with our Asian American and Pacific Islander friends in condemning this violence,” said Senator Stabenow.

“In the last year alone, there were nearly 3,800 hate incidents reported against the AAPI community, with the majority perpetrated against Asian American women,” said Senator Booker. “These hate incidents are both a part of the rising threat of white supremacist violence and a unique manifestation of the hatred, discrimination, and bias that Asian Americans have faced throughout our country’s history. It only worsened as we saw members of the previous administration, including the former president, use words that degraded and demeaned members of the Asian community. This kind of hatred and violence is not an inevitability. The hateful words and actions against our AAPI family must stop and we must all confront and end this discrimination and violence.” 

“We’ve seen a rise in discrimination and violence against the AAPI community during the COVID-19 pandemic,” said Senator Brown. “We will not make progress until we acknowledge the role anti-Asian stigma has played in these horrific acts of violence and harassment. There is absolutely no place for racism and hate against the Asian American and Pacific Islander community, and we need to stand together and make clear that we will not tolerate these threats and acts of violence against our neighbors.”

“I stand in solidarity with the Asian and Asian American communities and condemn any and all forms of anti-Asian rhetoric and violence,” said Senator Markey. “We must forcefully stop the disgusting and vile misinformation campaign that has made too many in the Asian community a target for violence and abuse.”

“We need to join together and stand up against racist hate crimes towards Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders,” said Senator Smith. “This means speaking out against dangerous anti-Asian rhetoric related to COVID-19 that has contributed to the sharp rise of these events. And this means rooting out white supremacy violence in all its forms. This resolution sends a clear message that hate crimes should have no place in the United States."

“Racist attacks against Asian Americans are disgusting and unacceptable. We must stand in solidarity against racism and racist violence,” said Senator Schatz.

###