May 7, 2020 By Christian Murray
The Asian-American community has borne the brunt of a number of bias attacks since the COVID-19 outbreak and Congresswoman Grace Meng wants the federal government to keep tabs on it.
Meng has introduced legislation—called the COVID-19 Hate Crimes Act– that would require the Department of Justice to review all coronavirus-related hate crimes that have been reported to federal, state and local authorities.
The DOJ would then be required to brief Congress monthly on its findings and the actions it has taken.
Many groups, Meng says, have been targeted since the COVID-19 outbreak, including the LGBTQ and Jewish communities. She wants the DOJ to provide data on these complaints, detailing the victim’s race, ethnicity, socioeconomic background and location of occurrence.
“As millions across the nation are worried about and impacted by the coronavirus outbreak, many are also living in fear following the dramatic increase of threats and attacks against different communities due to the rise in COVID-19,” Meng said.
“The COVID-19 Hate Crime Act is a necessary step to confront this disgusting and deplorable rise in intolerance and violence,” Meng added.
The bill comes at a time when there has been a surge in anti-Asian attacks and rhetoric.
Just today, anti-Asian graffiti was plastered on a construction fence in Long Island City. Council Member Jimmy Van Bramer was quick to post it on Twitter—to express horror.
Moments ago @helenshirley showed me photos of some horrible hate language on a fence in #LIC. Aimed at China/Chinese, it’s gross. Helen asked if we could remove it & I called the @NYPD108Pct which sent a team out & removed it immediately. No place for hate. Thank you 108th pct! pic.twitter.com/OYqH9GATFY
— Jimmy Van Bramer (@JimmyVanBramer) May 7, 2020
In the past two months, there have been a series of attacks against Asians.
In March, a 47-year-old man and his son were the subject of anti-Asian statements on Queens Boulevard at 70th Ave.
“You f–king Chinese,” a man reportedly shouted before pushing the victim in the face. “Where’s your f–king mask.”
In another incident, a 59-year-old Asian man was kicked in the back — which knocked him to the ground– by a teenager in Manhattan.
These incidents led to New York Attorney General Leticia James to establish a hot line (800-771-7755) in March for New Yorkers to report hate crimes.
Several Queens leaders argue that U.S. President Donald Trump has fueled some of the Anti-Asian attacks—by referring to COVID-19 as the “China virus” and blaming China.
Meng, who has criticized the president for labeling it the China virus, today urged her fellow lawmakers in Congress to support her hate crimes bill.
“I urge all my colleagues to join my effort to fight these bias crimes, and keep all Americans safe.”