Standing with our AAPI communities
This week, I was proud to stand in solidarity with our Asian American and Pacific Islander (“AAPI”) friends and neighbors, in New York’s 17th Congressional District and throughout the country, who have had to endure what my colleague and dear friend Representative Grace Meng has described as the “additional pandemic” of hatred, violence, and discrimination against our AAPI communities this past year.
On Tuesday, I helped pass the COVID-19 Hate Crimes Act, which was then signed into law by President Biden, and on Wednesday, I helped pass a resolution condemning the horrific Georgia shootings that targeted three Asian-owned spas and killed 8 people in March. Before voting to pass the COVID-19 Hate Crimes Act this week, I had the privilege of delivering remarks on the House floor in support of the bill, which you can view here.
In the last year alone, there have been over 3,800 incidents of hate directed toward Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders across the United States, from verbal harassment to lethal violence. Over two-thirds of those incidents targeted women. And those are sadly only the events we know about. The real total is undoubtedly higher.
In the last year, Asian-Americans in our community have had to consider their safety in ways no one in our community should ever have to. No one in our community should ever have to wonder if it is safe to walk outside, to take out the trash, or to send their child to school. But these considerations have been the reality for too many here in Westchester and Rockland, and across the country.
To my AAPI friends and neighbors: I cannot know exactly what you are feeling in this moment. But as an openly gay, Black man in America, I know what it’s like to be marginalized and harassed because of who you are. I know what it’s like to feel both invisible and exposed, both unseen and targeted. I know what it’s like to have to fight for rights you should be able to take for granted. And I know that in the United States of America, no one should have to feel this way. As surely as the Earth revolves around the sun, I will be with you always because we can only get through this together.
As always, my office is here to serve you. If you or your family need assistance with federal agencies or in response to COVID-19, please call my office at (914) 323-5550.
Member of Congress