Washington, D.C. – Today U.S. Senator Catherine Cortez Masto (D-Nev.) released the following statement after voting in favor of the COVID-19 Hate Crimes Act, which passed the Senate on a bipartisan 94-1 vote. Originally introduced by Senator Mazie K. Hirono (D-Hawaii) and Representative Grace Meng (D-N.Y.), this legislation will address the rise of hate crimes and violence targeted at Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders (AAPI). Cortez Masto signed onto this bill as a cosponsor last month after meeting with Nevada AAPI community leaders, who called for additional support and accountability for hate crimes committed during the pandemic and beyond.
“The racist attacks targeting the Asian American and Pacific Islander communities over the past year, and even long before, have been deeply disturbing, and I am focused on finding ways to stop this hatred while making it easier to hold perpetrators accountable. This bipartisan legislation will make it easier for victims to report hate crimes and will provide them with additional assistance and support, while also helping law enforcement to address the violence we are seeing in so many American communities. We have a lot of work to do to combat hate and violence, but this is an important step toward accountability, and I look forward to continuing to work across the aisle to make sure all Americans feel safe and protected.”
The COVID-19 Hate Crimes Act would assign a point person at the Department of Justice (DOJ) to expedite the review of COVID-19-related hate crimes, provide support for state and local law enforcement agencies to respond to these hate crimes, increase data collection on hate crimes, and coordinate with local and federal partners to mitigate racially discriminatory language used to describe the pandemic.