LOS ANGELES (CBSLA) — Hate crimes against the Asian American and Pacific Islander (AAPI) community have been on the rise nationwide, and now the federal government is stepping in to combat the attacks with a new bill.
Under the COVID-19 Hate Crimes Act passed by the House of Representatives — resources to investigate hate crimes, specifically those against AAPI individuals — will increase.
“Today we are at a galvanizing moment, where we say loud and clear that we are as American as anyone else in this country and we will be seen as invisible no more,” said one supporter of the bill.
Under this bill, an official from the U.S. Department of Justice will be assigned to review and report hate crimes related to coronavirus.
“It’s so important to us that the federal government is recognizing what Asian Americans and Pacific Islander communities are experiencing in this moment,” said Manju Kulkarni, the co-founder of Stop AAPI Hate.
From March 2020 to March 2021, the organization Stop AAPI Hate received 6,600 reports of hate crimes against AAPI residents.
“Too often our issues have been ignored, and by having the passage of this bill, it really signals that they’re listening to community members,” Kulkarni said.
The bill will also expand resources for local and state agencies that investigate hate crimes, such as law enforcement.
Sunny Park, the mayor pro tem of Buena Park, said she’d like to see officers benefit from extra training to better spot and report hate crimes.
President Joe Biden has already said he has plans to sign the bill into law.