Maxine Waters speaks out amid rising hate crimes against Asian communities

Chinese Americans experienced the highest rates of hate crimes

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California Rep. Maxine Waters issued a public statement condemning the reported rise of COVID-related hate crimes towards Asian Americans.

“I join with Speaker Nancy Pelosi, Congresswoman Judy Chu, and my colleagues in the Congressional Asian Pacific American Caucus (CAPAC) to condemn the spike in anti-Asian hate crimes and violence over the past year,” Waters said in a statement on Friday.  

“As a member of CAPAC and a representative of a diverse congressional district with a large number of Asian Americans, I am deeply disturbed by these horrible crimes.”

Waters cited the more than 3,000 reported anti-Asian hate crimes across the country. According to Stop AAPI Hate, in Los Angeles County alone, between March 19 to October 28, 2020, 245 incidents of hate crimes were reported. Of these incidents, 76 percent were verbal harassment and nearly eight percent were physical assaults.

Chinese Americans experienced the highest rates of hate crimes with 35 percent followed by Korean Americans with 22 percent and Japanese Americans with 12 percent, according to Stop AAPI Hate.

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Waters pointed towards former President Donald Trump for inciting the violence towards Asian Americans by referring to the coronavirus as the “Chinese virus.”

“Because if comes from China. It’s not racist at all. It comes from China, that’s why. I want to be accurate,” Trump said last March.

“It is no accident that anti-Asian hate crimes escalated during the presidency of Donald Trump. From the onset of the pandemic, Trump spewed racist vitriol, spread anti-Asian sentiment, and targeted the Asian community without pause.  He refused to call the coronavirus by its name in an attempt to avoid accountability for the spread of the virus on his watch,” Waters said.

Waters went on to say that Trump “used names like ‘Chinese virus,’ ‘Kung-flu,’ and ‘Wuhan virus,’ arming racists with hateful and painful language that has at times manifested itself in violent behavior against Asian Americans in the United States. Encouraged by Trump, anti-Asian sentiment reached a new level in our communities.”

She said that despite the end of Trump’s presidency, “the effects of his anti-Asian rhetoric, scapegoating, and xenophobia continue to incite harassment, discrimination, and violence against the Asian American community.”

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Pelosi joined the Congressional Asian Pacific American Caucus in response to the rise in hate crimes and urged the importance of documenting the words of attackers.

“We want to document the hate crime. White supremacy is the biggest bucket of concern when it comes to domestic terrorism,” Pelosi said.

President Joe Biden signed an executive order last month condemning hate crimes against Asian Americans, according to The Huffington Post.

Many have spoken out against the COVID-related hate crimes including actors and producers Daniel Wu and Daniel Dae Kim, who are offering a $25,000 reward for an arrest in the assault against an elderly Asian man in California.

Former President Bill Clinton tweeted, “I’m deeply concerned about the rise in hate crimes targeting Asian Americans. We must speak out against discrimination of all kinds, reject the ignorant rhetoric driving this wave of violence, and reach out to support our neighbors.”

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