Asian Americans across the United States are reporting a significant increase in hate crimes, harassment and discrimination tied to the spread of the COVID-19 pandemic. More than a year after these attacks began, the pandemic has galvanized Asian Americans, many of whom have long felt invisible, to speak out about the hatred and racism being directed their way.
Community leaders are calling for greater enforcement of existing hate-crime laws, better connections with local police departments charged with investigating hateful incidents, and other Americans to consider the impact of their words and actions on the country’s estimated 21 million Asian Americans. Asian American entertainers are using their platforms to highlight the issues, Asian American journalists are sharing their own stories of discrimination on social media and a growing chorus of federal lawmakers are demanding action.
The pandemic has especially “struck a nerve” for the Asian American community, which has forced many to realize that simple discrimination can turn violent, said Democratic Rep. Ted Lieu of California, who is a member of the Congressional Asian Pacific American Caucus. The fight against the “bamboo ceiling” is now also about physical safety, he said.
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