Biden Signs COVID-19 Hate Crimes Act Into Law
On May 20th, President Joe Biden signed the COVID-19 Hate Crimes Bill into law. The legislation addresses hate crimes during the COVID-19 pandemic, with an emphasis on the increasing violence against Asian and Asian Americans.
Introduced by Senator Mazie Hirono (D-Hawaii) and Representative Grace Meng (D-N.Y.), the legislation makes reporting hate crimes more accessible at the local and state levels with more public outreach. Moreover, reporting resources are available online in multiple languages.
The Department of Justice also designates a person to expedite the review of hate crimes related to COVID-19. The department will also authorize grants to state and local governments to establish programs to prevent and respond to hate crimes.
During the signing at the East Room of the White House, Biden said expressed his thanks to the lawmakers and support against hatred and racism.
“My message to all of those who are hurting is: We see you and the Congress has said, we see you,” he said. “And we are committed to stop the hatred and the bias.”
Vice president Kamala Harris said there is still work to be done.
“Here’s the truth: Racism exists in America. Xenophobia exists in America, antisemitism, Islamophobia, homophobia, transphobia — it all exists,” Harris said. “And so the work to address injustice wherever it exists remains the work ahead.”
Community organization Stop AAPI Hate praise the legislation for its “community-centered solutions and provisions to mitigate anti-Asian rhetoric.”
AAPI Victory Alliance applauds Biden for signing the legislation into law.
“After overwhelming support from both the House and Senate, we applaud President Biden for prioritizing this piece of legislation and swiftly signing it into law. We also extend gratitude to Sen. Hirono and Rep. Ming for introducing this bill at such a crucial time in AAPI history,” said Executive Director Varun Nikore in a statement.
“However, the attle is far from over. The COVID-19 Hate Crimes Act is only one piece in the long fight for AAPI’s and communities of color to have the equity and opportunities we deserve.”