Dem AGs Take Leadership Role in Taking Action and Continuing the Conversation
Across the country, individuals, community leaders, and elected officials are condemning and calling attention to the increase in Anti-Asian hate crimes following the mass shootings in Atlanta, Georgia that left eight individuals dead, including six women of Asian descent.
In an effort to combat anti-Asian hate across the country, Democratic AGs are spotlighting and supporting the Asian Pacific Islander (API) community by continuing their long-standing commitment to combating hate crimes. Two recent Democratic AG actions include:
- District of Columbia AG Karl Racine, as the President of the National Association of Attorneys General (NAAG), announced that his “presidential initiative” will focus on combating hate crimes and addressing extremism during his year-long term. AG Racine said, “Given the clear increase in hate ideology and hate offenses — particularly over the last four years — the moment was right to put this weighty issue on the table. If we can get 56 attorneys general to make a pledge to stand up against hate, I think that’s massively significant.” Part of AG Racine’s “presidential initiative” includes calling on state attorneys general to commit to asking for more resources to collect hate crime data, and to ensure that it is sent to the FBI. Outside of his role as NAAG President, AG Racine has taken action to address hate crimes in DC, like introducing legislation to the DC Council empowering his office to bring civil charges against those who commit hate crimes and other bias-related offenses.
- Connecticut AG William Tong, the first Chinese-American to be elected to the office of state Attorney General in U.S. history, is pursuing legislation that would broaden his office’s power to pursue civil penalties for hate crimes. Previously, AG Racine and AG Tong wrote an op-ed calling on leaders to step up and fight back against hate. In the op-ed, AG Racine and AG Tong shared their personal experiences facing discrimination, stating that “communities, policymakers, and law enforcement officials must sprint to confront hate.”
Following the mass shootings in Atlanta, Democratic AGs have continued to speak out against attacks on the API community and have taken on leadership roles both nationally and in their respective states:
- Connecticut AG William Tong spoke to CNN’s Poppy Harlow and Jim Sciutto about the rise in hate crimes against the API community. AG Tong said, “People are surprised to hear about anti-Asian hate. They don’t know the legacy of the Chinese Exclusion Act. The beating death of Vincent Chin. And the internment of 125,000 Japanese American citizens in camps on American soil.” Last week, AG Tong also participated in a community event with the Mayor of New Haven, Justin Elicker, and Ketkeo Rajachack, owner of Pho Ketkeo.
- New Jersey AG Gurbir Grewal hosted Connecticut AG William Tong to discuss how to combat bias and hate towards the API community. In the conversation, they discussed the 150% surge in bias incidents against the API community, former President Donald Trump’s rhetoric and actions, and strategies to address these issues.
- Virginia AG Mark Herring, Connecticut AG William Tong, and District of Columbia AG Karl Racine held a panel where they discussed the actions and steps they are taking to combat the rise in hate against the API community. AG Herring highlighted his new “No Hate VA” website that serves as a centralized source with resources and information about hate and hate crimes. AG Herring said, “We in Virginia are all part of [the] Virginia family. Everyone is apart, no matter what you look like, where you come from, how you worship, or whom you love. You are a part of our Virginia Family.”
And this week, Democratic AGs have continued holding conversations focused on actions they and other elected officials can take to protect communities being targeted:
- DAGA Co-Chair Nevada AG Aaron Ford hosted a “Stop The Hate” town hall with Connecticut AG William Tong and California AG-appointee Rob Bonta to further discuss the rise of hate crimes against the API community and actions that can be taken.
- DAGA Co-Chair Massachusetts AG Maura Healey hosted a “Hate Crimes in Massachusetts” discussion centered around action that can be taken in the Commonwealth, both by her office and the state legislature, to combat the rise of hate crimes.
- New York AG Tish James is holding a conversation on April 1 with New York Congresswoman Grace Meng, and community leaders and organizations about the rise in hate crimes towards the API community and actions that can be taken to stop them.
Democratic AGs will continue to speak out and take action against the rise of hate crimes across the country. Finally, Democratic AGs commended President Biden, Vice President Harris, and Attorney General Garland for speaking up, and taking swift action this week – a welcomed change from the previous administration.
For more on what Democratic AGs are saying about the rise in hate crimes across the country and the Atlanta shootings read below:
- DAGA Co-Chair Massachusetts AG Maura Healey: “Let’s be very clear—this wasn’t a man with a sex addiction ‘having a bad day,’ this was a murderous, horrific hate crime and we need to treat it that way instead of making excuses for white violence and domestic terrorism.” [LINK]
- DAGA Co-Chair Nevada AG Aaron Ford: “Looking forward to having my friend and colleague, Connecticut @AGWilliamTong to Nevada virtually to discuss this very important topic. Thank you, General @WilliamTongCT. Your fight to #StopAAPIHate is unparalleled, and we join you in this struggle.” [LINK]
- California AG—appointee Rob Bonta: “Let’s be clear: The GA killings were attacks on Asian women motivated by hate. Of 3,800 cases of hate violence against Asians, 68% targeted Asian women. They are the direct result of the dehumanization of Asian communities and women in America.” [LINK]
- Colorado AG Phil Weiser: “We need to #StopAsianHate and our office is committed to encouraging and supporting the reporting of #HateCrimes.” [LINK]
- Connecticut AG William Tong: “For too long, our country’s long history of hate and racism toward Asian American and Pacific Islanders has been invisible. We must speak up and stand up against hate so that our stories aren’t erased. #StopAAPIHate” [LINK]
- Delaware AG Kathy Jennings: “My thoughts are with loved ones of the eight people who were viciously murdered last night in Georgia—including seven women and six people of Asian descent—and with the entire Atlanta community as it reels from this senseless evil.” [LINK]
- District of Columbia AG Karl Racine: “#ICYMI: Last week, I joined @AGMarkHerring and @AGWilliamTong for a conversation on the rise of anti-Asian hate, violence and abuse. #StopAsianHate” [LINK]
- Hawaii AG Clare Connors: “The increase in hate crimes against the Asian American Pacific Islander community is unacceptable. We all need to redouble our efforts to treat each other with respect and kindness, especially when times are difficult. We stand firmly against racism in all its forms.” [LINK]
- Illinois AG Kwame Raoul: “AG Raoul condemns in the strongest terms violent attacks and hate crimes directed at Asian Americans and encourages people to report hate crimes and harassment to law enforcement and his office by calling his Civil Rights Hotline at 1-877-581-3692” [LINK]
- Iowa AG Tom Miller: “The continuing violence against Asian-Americans and Pacific Islanders is terrible. We encourage Iowans who have been a victim of a hate crime to report it to local law enforcement.” [LINK]
- Maine AG Aaron Frey: “We are bearing witness to an unconscionable increase in hate crimes being perpetrated against individuals of Asian descent across our nation. Such attacks will not be tolerated in Maine, and we will act swiftly to address allegations like those received last week out of Portland. We encourage any member of Maine’s Asian-American community to contact their local law enforcement agency if they encounter threats or acts of violence or property damage based on bias against their race, ancestry, or national origin.” [LINK]
- Maryland AG Brian Frosh: “As details continue to unfold, one thing is clear: the tragic shootings in Atlanta are appalling and frightening. We condemn the senseless gun violence that took the lives of these innocent victims and pray for their families and loved ones. While it has not been confirmed as an instance of race-based violence, we must not be silent about the alarming trend of attacks on Asian Americans. Race-based hate should not be tolerated anywhere, and will not be tolerated here in Maryland. For anyone who has suffered or witnessed anti-Asian, race or ethnic related threats, violence, harassment, or other incidents, report it to the police. Race-based aggression and violence is un-American and against the law. We can only stop it by taking a stand against it.” [LINK]
- Michigan AG Dana Nessel: “With continued national reports of violence toward members of the Asian American & Pacific Islander communities, we want to encourage any Michigander who has been a victim of a hate crime to report it to our Hate Crimes Unit…The Department of Attorney General is committed to investigating and prosecuting hate crimes by following up on every credible tip and offering department resources to law enforcement partners in this effort. [LINK]
- Minnesota AG Keith Ellison: “Solidarity with our AAPI fellow Americans is the key right now. We don’t have to wait for the group we belong to become a target before we show concern and compassion and unity. Take look a look at our piece in @USATODAY. Thanks @JGreenblattADL. #AAPISolidarity” [LINK]
- New Jersey AG Gurbir Grewal: “Honored to have @AGWilliamTong join me for a candid conversation on the rise in hate and bias incidents against Asian Americans. Our states are no stranger to this issue, and it’s a privilege when we can discuss our strategies to #StopAsianHate together.” [LINK]
- New Mexico AG Hector Balderas: “We will not tolerate hate in New Mexico.” [LINK]
- New York AG Tish James: “Honor the lives of the Asian women who were killed in Atlanta. Stand with the countless members of the Asian community who have been victims of racist hate crimes. Attacks against our Asian communities are an attack on all of us & we must strongly reject them. #StopAsianHate” [LINK]
- North Carolina AG Josh Stein: “Thank you, @jay_chaudhuri, for your leadership. No one — not Asian Americans, not African Americans, not Muslims, not Jews, not LGBTQ folks, not immigrants — should live in fear because of who they are. We must do everything we can to combat hate crimes.” [LINK]
- Oregon AG Ellen Rosenblum: “We are scared and sickened by what happened in Atlanta last night. While we don’t know the motive, there is real fear throughout the AAPI communities, and we must stand with our neighbors, family and friends.” [LINK]
- Pennsylvania AG Josh Shapiro: “The #AAPI community is hurting. They are living in daily fear. It’s on us to do better and speak with moral clarity. If a friend says something racist, tell them. If you see a racist online post, say something. We’re in this together. #StopAsianHate” [LINK]
- Rhode Island AG Peter Neronha: “The tragic shootings in Atlanta have sent shockwaves felt throughout our country, including here in RI. While we do not yet know exactly what motivated these senseless acts of violence, the loss experienced by the AAPI community is great… Our thoughts are with the victims, their loved ones, and our AAPI community in RI at this time.” [LINK]
- Vermont AG TJ Donovan: “We must stop Asian hate. It is unacceptable and we must confront it head on.” [LINK]
- Virginia AG Mark Herring: “Anti-Asian hate is unacceptable and has to stop. I want to reassure all members of the #AAPI community here in Virginia that you are a full part of our Commonwealth. Anyone who has been a victim of a hate crime, please visit http://NoHateVA.com for additional resources.” [LINK]
- Washington AG Bob Ferguson: “Violent hate aimed at Asian and Pacific Islander communities is not acceptable. We must all come together to stand up against the increase in racist attacks and hate crimes. #StopAsianHateCrimes #StopAAPIHate #StopAsianHate” [LINK]
- Wisconsin AG Josh Kaul: “Thank you for inviting me to join you on this National Day of Action and Healing. Hate, discrimination, and xenophobia are unacceptable and they must end. #StopAsianHate” [LINK]