WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Senator Mazie K. Hirono (D-HI) released the following statement ahead of the two-year anniversary of President Biden signing the COVID-19 Hate Crimes Act into law. In March 2021, following the rise of hate crimes and violence targeted at Asian American, Native Hawaiian, and Pacific Islander (AANHPI) communities, Senator Hirono and Representative Grace Meng (D-NY) introduced legislation to combat hate crimes and violence targeted at every marginalized community.
“Since being signed into law, the COVID-19 Hate Crimes Act has equipped the federal government and our communities with additional resources to combat all forms of hate crimes and incidents, including anti-Asian hate. Passing this law was an important step forward in our fight to end this senseless violence, but our work is far from over.
The AANHPI community has long been the target of racism and discrimination in this country. One in two Asian Americans report feeling unsafe in the U.S. due to their ethnicity and the majority—particularly young, Asian American women—feel like they do not belong or are not accepted in our country. Reports like these illustrate the importance of our continued work to provide our communities with the tools and support they need to combat hate crimes, because senseless acts of violence still plague marginalized communities across the country. Eternal vigilance is required from all of us to put an end to the discrimination, prejudice, and racism that our communities still face. I will continue doing everything I can to build a diverse future where hate-based violence is eradicated and every person is safe, accepted, and respected.”
Senator Hirono has long advocated on behalf of AANHPI communities in Hawaii, the U.S., and Pacific Island nations and territories. Last week, she led 30 of her Senate colleagues in introducing a resolution marking May as AANHPI Heritage Month, which unanimously passed in the Senate earlier this week. She also reintroduced legislation to promote the teaching of AANHPI history in public schools and introduced a resolution marking May 10, 2023 as AANHPI Mental Health Day. Last year, Senator Hirono also brought legislation to the Senator floor, that was signed into law by President Biden, establishing a commission to study the creation of a National Museum of Asian Pacific American History and Culture.