Orange County-based House Representatives Michelle Steel and Katie Porter created a bi-partisan resolution Feb. 23 that seeks to condemn “hate, racism, and intolerance against” the Asian/American Pacific Islander (AAPI) community.
The resolution comes as hate crimes against the demographic have been on the rise in the United States.
Steel’s resolution seeks to affirm that the U.S. stands against and denounces all anti-Asian and Pacific Islander sentiment, condemns all manifestations or expressions of racism and intolerance, and calls on federal law enforcement to investigate, improve reporting, and hold perpetrators accountable for the crimes.
“Discrimination is against the fundamental values of American culture,” Steel said in a prepared statement.
“The rise in discrimination and hateful targeting of the AAPI community has to stop. We must do everything we can to put an end to hate and help our neighbors, especially during this difficult time. Combating hate is a nonpartisan issue, and I thank my California colleague, Rep. Porter, for joining me to condemn these actions.”
Anti-AAPI hate crimes received national attention when 84-year-old Thai immigrant Vicha Ratanapakdee was violently shoved to the ground on Jan. 28 in front of his San Francisco home and later died of his injuries.
Local Efforts to End Racism
Asian-American and city leaders also held a press conference Feb. 25 in Garden Grove to condemn xenophobia.
Trang Hong, a clinical social worker and University of Southern California professor specializing in Asian Pacific Islander adults with mental health issues, discussed how violence can emerge from fear during uncertain times.
“We know that it’s human to react to differences with fear, that our reaction is sometimes due to our own insecurity and uncertainty when faced with the other,” she said. “In the context of the pandemic, we understand you care for yourself and your family. So, when fear is exacerbated by worry, the negative reaction can become extreme, but as a therapist, I still have hope.
“There is hope that we can change our views and behave differently towards others. That we can manage our own fear and stereotypes and impulses and not act out aggressively. We don’t have to agree, we don’t have to have the same way of life, but we also don’t have to be violent.”
Garden Grove Mayor Steve Jones also spoke during the event.
“The City of Garden Grove wholeheartedly condemns any acts of discrimination, violence, or hate against any member of our community, and any community in the nation,” Jones said. “We are a city with one of the most diverse populations in the nation, with highly prominent Asian and Hispanic communities, and very diverse spiritual communities.
“Each of these communities brings valued contributions to all facets of our daily lives.”