What's on Our Mind 3-19-2021
What's On Our Mind
The attack on the Asian community in Atlanta was a direct attack on all of us. JAC and the entire Jewish community stand with any individual or group that is targeted for their religion, ethnicity or sexual orientation. We each have a moral responsibility to fight against hate, xenophobia, and violence.
On Monday, March 22 JAC will have a zoom call with Rep. Ted Lieu (D-CA), who was recently named as one of the co-chairs of the House’s Bipartisan Task Force for Combating Antisemitism. He is calling for an independent FBI investigation into the spa killings in Georgia on Tuesday after a sheriff’s office spokesman who is helping to investigate the recent massage parlor slayings promoted a T-shirt with racist language about China and the coronavirus last year.
Last fall, the FBI reported 7,314 hate crimes recorded nationwide in 2019, the most in a decade. However, experts said the statistics are not accurate because too few local law enforcement agencies fully participate in federal data collection efforts — a problem that Congress is trying to rectify.
A new report issued by a national coalition aimed at addressing anti-Asian discrimination amid the pandemic, found that there were 3,800 anti-Asian hate incidents nationwide since last March. Women were victims of these crimes 2.3 times more often than men. There were six Asian American women amongst the eight dead in Atlanta.
The dramatic increase in hate crimes can be directly linked to the past four years and Donald Trump’s continued use of antisemitic tropes and ethnic slurs. He continually referred to COVID as the Kung Flu. He could not resist one last racist remark as he left office. He again called the deadly disease the “China virus” during his last speech as President just before boarding Marine One to leave Washington, D.C.
Attorney General Merrick Garland has pledged to vigorously prosecute hate crimes. He said, “Hate crimes tear at the fabric of our society. They make our citizens worried about walking the streets and exercising even the most normal rights.”
These spa killings occurred while the House was about to reauthorize the Violence Against Women Act (VAWA) and as the Democrats push for more comprehensive gun safety laws.
The first killing Tuesday happened in the district of Rep. Barry Loudermilk (R-GA). He was quick to send out thoughts and prayers via Twitter to the families. But this week Loudermilk voted against VAWA and previously voted against HR 8, a comprehensive background check bill.
He has not cosponsored the COVID-19 Hate Crimes Act, legislation to address the rise of hate crimes and violence targeted at Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders. The bill also provides resources for communities to come together and fight intolerance and hate — something that would also benefit the Jewish community.
The GOP still thinks the answer to the violence in our country is thoughts and prayers. They refuse to take responsibility and stop the hate stemming from their own party. Actions matter. Inaction has consequences too.