March 23, 2021 — Miami, Florida
This piece originally appeared in the Miami Herald.
The Asian American community has suffered relentless discrimination and violence, much of it inspired by conspiracy theories and rhetoric, since the COVID-19 outbreak a year ago.
Last week’s horrific murder of six Asian-American women and two others in Atlanta deepens fears in communities across the nation. This latest tragedy adds to the nearly 3,800 reported incidents of anti-Asian hate and discrimination from March 19, 2020 to Feb. 28, 2021, as documented by Stop AAPI Hate. It is only a fraction of the actual crimes against Asian Americans, who, for many reasons, do not report them often.
But the Atlanta incident is also a wake-up call to the national crisis. It has moved President Biden, members of Congress and other national and local leaders to speak out. Any attempt to defame, stereotype, or assault Asian Americans, or any minority, is inconsistent with American values. Asian Americans alone cannot confront this wave of xenophobic hate, which too quickly turns to others and to all Americans. We must offer solace and hope to victims and show solidarity.
The Community of Conscience, a group representing Miami’s ethnic and faith diversity formed last November to reaffirm our values of pluralism and mutual respect. We stand firmly with the Asian-American community.
Congress must pass the Jabara-Heyer National Opposition to Hate, Assaults, and Threats to Equality (NO HATE) Act. This legislation will improve hate-crime reporting through state and local grants for law enforcement training, will create hate-crime hotlines, increase resources to liaise with affected communities and provide public educational forums on hate crimes.
Brian D. Siegal
Director, AJC Greater Miami and Broward County Region