by Xinhua writer Liu Yanan
NEW YORK, Feb. 7 (Xinhua) -- There is still much work to be done in the United States to address deep-rooted hate and discrimination against Asian Americans about one year after multiple deadly cases sending shocking waves across the country.
Key initiatives included in the COVID-19 Hate Crimes Act, which was signed into law by U.S. President Joe Biden in May 2021, have yet to be launched, according to a report by USA TODAY on Tuesday.
The legislation was designed to curb anti-Asian hate crimes by creating a position at the Justice Department to expedite a review of COVID-19-related hate crimes; providing grants for states to create hotlines for reporting hate crimes and for law enforcement training aimed at preventing and identifying hate crimes; and directing federal agencies to work with community organizations to help raise awareness about hate crimes during the pandemic.
Biden is scheduled to deliver his second State of the Union address on Tuesday evening and it's not clear if he will mention violence and hate towards the Asian American and Pacific Islander (AAPI) community as he did in his first State of the Union address.
"Racism against Chinese Americans and the AAPI community isn't new. It's existed in the United States for nearly 200 years, despite the many contributions that Chinese Americans have made to the United States in fields such as healthcare, science, technology, business and the arts," said Zhengyu Huang, president of the Committee of 100, a nonprofit leadership organization of prominent Chinese Americans.
"Chinese Americans are still seen as the perpetual foreigner, strangers in our own homeland. And post COVID, reports of discrimination, racism, and violence towards Americans of Chinese and Asian descent have significantly increased -- and these are only the incidents captured or reported," Huang told Xinhua via email in a recent interview.
Trigger events like the COVID-19 and irresponsible comments from former U.S. President Donald Trump led to the surge of discrimination against Asian Americans, according to Haipei Shue, president of United Chinese Americans (UCA), a nonpartisan and nonprofit coalition based in Washington, D.C.
There have been bias and stereotypes against Asian Americans throughout the history of the United States and the issue of hate against Asian Americans may not be tackled in a short time, said Shue in a recent interview with Xinhua.
Shue noted that the stabbing of an Asian student from Indiana University by a white woman on Jan. 11 was apparently racial motivated.
"We are a nation of immigrants with a history of discrimination and exploitation of minority groups. We are still learning from the mistakes of the past. Asian Americans have contributed mightily to the success of the United States but there is still much work to be done to treat Asian Americans as Americans," said Huang.
The fight against racist words and actions of certain politicians and leaders towards the Asian American community as well as long-held stereotypes is staged on a daily basis, Huang added.
Though progresses were made in the fight against discrimination in the past decades in the United States, it's surprising to see how fast setbacks took place in recent years, said Shue.
The education system and literature in the United States don't talk much about the original sin of racial discrimination in U.S. history, Shue noted.
Michelle Alyssa Go's death was a call to action for many, including those who see the crime Martial Simon committed as an example of ongoing anti-Asian hate, said Michelle's father Justin Go in a recent piece run by The New York Times on the anniversary of her death.
Michelle Alyssa Go was shoved to her death by homeless man Martial Simon on Jan. 15, 2022 at the subway station in Times Square.
It has been sad and physically exhausting to constantly hear and see the never ending strident voices spewing hatred over social media, said Justin Go.
"Whatever freedoms we give to people, possessing such personal rights does not mean we can abandon people like Martial Simon to our subway systems," said Justin Go, who acknowledged progress has been made to help homeless people in New York.
Everybody in the neighborhood was a little bit traumatized just from everything that went in 2022, said Brian Chin, a resident in Chinatown in Lower Manhattan.
Chin is the former landlord of Korean-American woman Christina Yuna Lee, who was stalked and stabbed to death by homeless man Assamad Nash in her apartment on Feb. 13, 2022.
The hate and discrimination against Asian Americans still is a problem and there still seems to be a lot of hatred, Chin told Xinhua in a recent interview.
"Hopefully, 2023 is better, but 2022 at least was a very bad year for all Asians... It seems like there's more and more hate crimes in New York City happening against Asians every week. It's a very troubling time," said Chin.
New York Police Department (NYPD) recorded 607 hate crime complaints and made 320 arrests in 2022, higher than 524 complaints and 219 arrests in 2021, respectively, according to data compiled by NYPD.