The West Hollywood city council unanimously approved a resolution denouncing hate crimes and acts of violence against Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders at its regular city council meeting on Monday, April 5, 2021. The resolution is in response to the rise in hate crimes and racist verbal and physical attacks against people of Asian descent and Pacific Islanders (AAPI) throughout the United States. A recent report found that hate crimes against Asian people in major U.S. cities surged by nearly 150 percent in 2020, even as the number of overall hate crimes fell.
“I was proud to co-sponsor this Resolution denouncing the surge in hate crimes and racism against our AAPI community,” said City of West Hollywood Councilmember Sepi Shyne. “The members of the AAPI community have made our society better in countless ways and we must stand up together and take action to #StopAAPIHate.”
“We must do all we can to reject the inhumanity and violence directed towards the Asian America and Pacific Islander (AAPI) community,” said Councilmember John M. Erickson. “I grieve for the lives lost and for the fear that members of AAPI communities feel and I recommit myself to supporting and fighting back against the discrimination and hatred we’ve seen escalate against the AAPI community since the COVID-19 pandemic. West Hollywood is home and community to all and hatred has no place here and is not welcome here.”
Data released by the nonprofit organization Stop AAPI Hate has revealed nearly 3,800 hate incidents have been reported and a disproportionate number of attacks have been directed at women in the past year. This number may represent only a fraction of attacks, as many were likely not reported to the organization. The data includes incidents, which can include shunning, slurs, and physical attacks, that occurred between March 19, 2020 and February 28, 2021, with roughly 500 incidents already taking place in the first few months of 2021.
Several studies connect the increase in hateful rhetoric and misguided notions of blame for the COVID-19 pandemic to the increase in hate-motivated actions. Advocates point to the racist rhetoric of the former US President and his repeated references to the coronavirus as the ‘China virus’ or ‘kung flu,’ due to COVID-19’s origins in China. According to a poll from the Center for Public Integrity/Ipsos released in April 2020, about 3 in 10 Americans blamed China or Chinese people for the pandemic. According to a Pew Research Center study from June 2020, approximately 4 in 10 Asian Americans said people have acted uncomfortable around them because of their race since the pandemic started and 31 percent said they have been subjected to racial slurs or jokes.
The Resolution Denouncing Hate Crimes and Acts of Violence Against Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders, dated April 5, 2021, states that “racial violence against Asian Americans often goes overlooked because of persistent stereotypes of the community, which characterize Asian Americans as having class privilege and high socioeconomic status and education, creating a narrative that Asian Americans are shielded from being impacted by white supremacy,” that “the City of West Hollywood condemns violence, harassment and intimidation, of any kind, and works diligently to defend the fundamental rights of all people, including immigrants, seniors and older adults, LGBTQ+ people, women, people of color and others,” and that “the City Council of the City of West Hollywood hereby denounces hate crimes and acts of violence against Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders and seeks to raise awareness about the issues of racism and discrimination impacting the AAPI community.”
For additional information about the City of West Hollywood’s Resolution, contact the City of West Hollywood’s Community and Legislative Affairs Manager, John Leonard, at (323) 848-6446 or firstname.lastname@example.org.