In full transparency, the following is a media release from Sen. Ed Markey , who was elected by voters in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts to serve the state in Washington DC in the US Senate. He is a Democrat. (Stock photo)
WASHINGTON DC – Senator Edward J. Markey (D-Mass.) released the following statement after the Senate passed the COVID–19 Hate Crimes Act today, April 22.
“The COVID-19 pandemic unleashed more than a virus on our society, it also spread race and ethnic-based hatred, manifesting in an alarming rise in crimes of violence against the Asian American and Pacific Islander (AAPI) community. The surge in hate crimes across the country has not occurred in a vacuum. Some political leaders have not only failed to denounce these hate crimes, they have used prejudicial rhetoric themselves, potentially emboldening those with racist views,” said Sen. Markey.
“The COVID-19 Hate Crimes Act is an important step in combatting violence based on race, ethnicity, and identity. I am proud to be an original cosponsor of this legislation that will expedite the review of COVID-19-related hate crimes, provide support for state and local law enforcement agencies to respond to them, and take steps to mitigate racially discriminatory language used to describe the pandemic. This bill is an important down payment on our promise to address the root causes of this hatred and violence, as we lift up the incredible heritage and history of the Asian community in the United States of America. Our work to build a more perfect union is far from over – but we’ll get there, thanks to the AAPI community,” said Senator Markey.
This legislation will require the Department of Justice (DOJ) to expeditiously investigate the numerous hate crimes that racist rhetoric has spawned during the COVID-19 pandemic, primarily targeting the Asian and Asian-American and Pacific Islander (AAPI) communities.
Within the last year, the number of hate crimes against members of those communities rose by 150% in 16 of the largest U.S. cities.
The COVID-19 Hate Crimes Act was originally introduced on March 23, 2021 by Senator Mazie Hirono (D-Hawaii). Senator Markey is an original co-sponsor.