“The things that will keep us safe require us to think more long term and systemically about what the root causes of violence are"
Over 85 organizations are opposing the recent anti-Asian hate bill which was recently passed by the Senate.
Last month, the U.S. Senate overwhelmingly passed the new legislation in an effort to combat anti-Asian hate.
Among the organizations in defiance of the bill are dozens of Asian American and LGBTQ groups.
The groups argue that the legislation fails to address the causes of anti-Asian hate and ignores police violence against black and brown communities.
“What we’re trying to do is we’re calling for a redistribution of wealth and resources into things like health care, and housing, social services, because we know that’s at the root of the violence that we see in our communities, is due to inequality,” Jason Wu, co-chair of the GAPIMNY-Empowering Queer & Trans Asian Pacific Islanders, which helped spearhead the statement, told NBC Asian America.
“The things that will keep us safe require us to think more long term and systemically about what the root causes of violence are.”
In a statement, the groups said that “relying on law enforcement and crime statistics does not prevent violence,” citing the continued violence against trans people.
Violence from law enforcement, which remains unaddressed, is also highlighted by the groups.
“Hate crime classifications and statistics do not change the structural conditions that lead to violence against marginalized communities,” the statement reads.
Wu argued that law enforcement failed to protect against attacks on Asian Americans.
“What the police do is that they show up afterwards, and they issue press releases. And they really take these horrific moments of pain and trauma, and they use it to demand more money for their budgets,” Wu said.
“When we know that more policing and prisons is not keeping us safer, why is it that we continue to ask for the same approaches to violence and crime?”
“Hate crimes, prosecution and incarceration of the attacker does nothing to address those needs,” Wu continued. “It also doesn’t address the reality that, at least in New York City, many of the attacks involve people who do have mental health issues, who are poor, potentially homeless … we have to address inequality in our society.”
The organizations advocate for a shift in resources from law enforcement to community-based solutions and call for the removal of police from communities. Instead, funds should be offered to mental health care infrastructures, neighborhood trauma centers and community food banks, according to the groups.
“This means no partnerships, contracts, and arrangements between law enforcement and other entities, including data-sharing agreements,” the statement read.
The groups also emphasized that it rejects anti-Asian bias solutions that are also “inherently anti-Black, anti-immigrant, and harmful for the most marginalized in our communities.”
“How effective such legislation is in punishing race-based attacks is unclear,” said Pawan Dhingra, a professor of American studies at Amherst College. “Rarely do attackers utter racist remarks or leave clear signs of racial animus. Without such a smoking gun, it appears as if racism was not relevant, but that is too simplistic of an approach.”
There has been a recent rise in attacks against Asians including charges against the man who spat at and punched an 83-year-old Korean grandmother have been dropped.
Additionally, three people were arrested for a burglary spree targeting 26 Asian business owners in Colorado and Wyoming in 2019.
In San Francisco, an 85-year-old Asian grandmother and a 65-year-old Asian woman were stabbed whilst waiting for the bus.
An Asian shop owner was also punched in the face by a racist customer in Washington DC.
Meanwhile, an 11-year-old and 17-year-old were arrested for attacking and robbing an 80-year-old Asian man in San Leandro.
Most recently, an Asian store owner and his son were stabbed by a customer who refused to wear a face mask in Tacoma.
Elsewhere, San Francisco murals celebrating Asian culture were defaced by a man on multiple occasions.