The rise in hate crimes against Asian and Pacific Islander (AAPI) residents over the past year is deeply disturbing. I stand with our Asian and Pacific Islander community partners and Governor Inslee in strongly condemning these acts of violence.
Anti-Asian hate crimes increased by nearly 150% in 2020. I have no doubt this increase in violence is due to misdirected and ill-advised blame over the emergence of the virus. Words have impact and referring to the virus as coming from or created by one particular ethnicity unfairly focuses blame on people with Asian heritage living in America, people who have no more hand in creating, spreading, or falling ill from the virus than anyone else. Viruses don’t care about your race, ethnicity, or heritage. Viruses don’t discriminate. And neither should we.
I believe we cannot take discrimination lightly. In the divided political environment we are in, where our bonds of affection are under attack by political opportunists, eight people were killed in a shooting spree in the Atlanta area last week. While the investigation is ongoing, the fact that six of the eight victims were Asian women suggests this was a racially-motivated hate crime.
These hate crimes aren’t just happening in other cities and states. Just last month, a couple was brutally attacked in Seattle’s Chinatown-International District. Racist messages were also left in the parking lots of two North Seattle churches last week. Reports of harassment are emerging in Spokane as well. These are just a few of the many examples of anti-Asian harassment happening in Washington state.
I stand in strong support of the Washington State Senate Members of Color Caucus and their statement condemning the rise in anti-Asian hate crimes. I’m also looking forward to supporting Senate Resolution 8610 on the Senate floor today, which will be an official expression of solidarity with the AAPI community against the acts of violence, hate speech, and displays of intolerance that they have experienced as a result of anti-AAPI rhetoric.
There are several resources you can turn to for help if you or someone you know experiences a hate crime. Reach out to the Washington State Commission on Asian Pacific American Affairs or the Washington Attorney General’s Office for help. You can also reach out to my office for assistance and we can point you in the right direction.
32nd Legislative District