We, the undersigned Asian and LGBTQ organizations, reject hate crime legislation that relies on anti-Black, law enforcement responses to the recent rise in anti-Asian bias incidents across the US.
In the same week the verdict in George Floyd’s murder was announced, footage of the killing of Adam Toledo was released, one week after Daunte Wright was killed by the police, and countless others experienced violence at the hands of law enforcement, Asian communities celebrated the passage of S.937, the COVID-19 Hate Crimes Act in the US Senate.
While we wish we could celebrate the historic visibility of anti-Asian violence and racism, which is as old as the colonization of the Americas, the COVID-19 Hate Crimes Act contradicts Asian solidarity with Black, Brown, undocumented, trans, low-income, sex worker, and other marginalized communities whose liberation is bound together. Furthermore, the bolstering of law enforcement and criminalization does not keep us safe and in fact harms and furthers violence against Asian communities facing some of the greatest disparities and attacks – sex workers, low wage workers, people with disabilities, people living with HIV, youth, women, trans and non binary people, migrants amongst others. It also ignores that police violence is also anti-Asian violence, which has disproportionately targeted Black and Brown Asians. We uplift the names of Christian Hall and Angelo Quinto, Asian Americans who were recently killed by police during mental health crises.
The COVID-19 Hate Crimes Act would designate a member of the Department of Justice to expedite hate crime reviews, provide guidance to local law enforcement to increase reporting of anti-Asian hate crimes, and issue interagency guidance on hate crime reporting. The bill would not provide any resources that address root causes of anti-Asian bias and would not provide resources for violence prevention. The bill in its current form would create no systemic change to address racism, only increase crime statistics collection.
Our movements have learned the hard lesson that relying on law enforcement and crime statistics does not prevent violence. The federal government has been collecting hate crime statistics since 1990. In 2009, the Matthew Shepard Act expanded federal hate crime categories to include sexual orientation and gender identity, yet deadly anti-trans violence continues to occur at alarming rates year after year, most impacting Black trans women and femmes. Hate crime classifications and statistics do not change the structural conditions that lead to violence against marginalized communities.
The COVID-19 Hate Crimes Act further assumes that the police are safe, but we know that police are devastating and deadly for BIPOC, trans, undocumented, sex workers, and many other communities. We join and amplify the movement rejecting hate crime laws as a solution to violence, building upon the work of organizations like the Sylvia Rivera Law Project, INCITE! Women of Color Against Violence, and other BIPOC-led movements against criminalization and mass incarceration. We call on our communities to demand more in this moment to address root causes and create true systemic change that does not rely on law enforcement.
We call on Congress and fellow movement organizations to:
- Oppose the COVID-19 Hate Crimes Act.
- Shift resources from law enforcement to communities. This includes investing in community based interventions and non-carceral alternatives to address and intervene on violence; removing police from communities and neighborhoods; ending all forms of community policing; and ensuring that resource distribution and emergency relief is not reliant on criminalization, threats of punishment, fines, Community alternatives may include investing in resources such as non-coercive mental healthcare infrastructures, neighborhood-based trauma centers, community food banks, and more.
- Designate bias violence as a public health issue so that public policy interventions can be based on non-criminal legal research and prevention efforts. This means no partnerships, contracts, and arrangements between law enforcement and other entities, including data-sharing agreements.
- Reject proposals to address anti-Asian bias that are inherently anti-Black, anti-immigrant, and harmful for the most marginalized in our communities. We reject any proposals that expand and rely upon systems of policing and punishment in response to anti-Asian bias.
Sign ons, (Updated as of 2021/05/18)
18 Million Rising
AAPI Women Lead
AnarkaPinxys | Tiwa Lands
API Rainbow Parents of PFLAG NYC
APIs Rise Fund
Asian American Association of New Mexico
Asian American Feminist Collective
Asian American Resource Workshop
Asian Solidarity Collective
Asians for Black Lives
Audre Lorde Project
Autistic Women & Nonbinary Network
Black Trans Nation
The Blasian March
Boston Alliance of LGBTQ Youth (BAGLY, Inc.)
Brave Space Alliance
Break The Binary LLC
California Coalition for Women Prisoners
Center for LGBTQ Economic Advancement & Research (CLEAR)
Climbers of Color
Democratic Socialists of America
Denver Asian Collective
El/La Para TransLatinas
Equality New York
Familia: Trans Queer Liberation Movement
Fresh Meat Productions
GAPIMNY—Empowering Queer & Trans Asian Pacific Islanders
Gay City: Seattle’s LGBTQ Center
Gay Elder Circle
Gender Justice LA
Genders & Sexualities Alliance Network
Global Justice Institute
Harlem Pride, Inc.
Hmong Innovating Politics
Iowa 1st District Asian/Pacific Islander Caucus
Jim Owles Liberal Democratic Club
Korean American Rainbow Parents (KARP)
Khmer Girls in Action
La Gender Inc.
The LGBTQ+ Caucus of The Association of Legal Aid Attorneys (UAW Local 2325)
Marsha P Johnson Institute
Massachusetts Transgender Political Coalition
Metropolitan Community Church of New York
Monsoon Asians & Pacific Islanders in Solidarity
Muslim Alliance for Sexual and Gender Diversity (MASGD)
National Equality Action Team (NEAT)
National Lawyers Guild
National Organization of API Ending Sexual Violence
National Queer Asian Pacific Islander Alliance
New York Transgender Advocacy Group
Nonbinary & Intersex Recognition Project (NIRP)
Palante Technology Cooperative
Peter Cicchino Youth Project of the Urban Justice Center
Positive Women’s Network-USA
Pride Community Services Organization
Queer Women of Color Media Arts Project – QWOCMAP
Q-Wave – Building Queer & Trans API Community Since 2004
Red Canary Song
Sacramento A/PI Regional Network
Safeguarding American Values for Everyone (SAVE)
San Antonio Gender Association
San Francisco Transgender Film Festival
Somos Familia Valle
The Sống Collective
Southeast Asian Defense Project
Sylvia Rivera Law Project
Transgender, Gender-Variant, & Intersex Justice Project
Transgender Law Center
Transgender Resource Center of New Mexico
The TransLatin@ Coalition
USA Queer Climbing Collective
Yale Law School Asian Pacific American Law Students Association
This letter is also posted on Reappropriate.
For Media Inquiries / Additional Sign Ons, please email [email protected].