Local Asian American Leaders, Elected Officials And Over 900 Community Members Convene To Take Action Against Anti-Asian Hate

By Julia Gay

 

 

In response to the attacks and violence directed towards Asian Americans in Minnesota and nationwide, the Asian Minnesotan Alliance for Justice (AMAJ) convened a community event on March 24 to hear from victims of anti-Asian hate crimes and to galvanize the public to take action. The event, Unheard Stories: Asian Americans Experiencing Hate, was attended by more than 900 community members, including Ilhan Omar, U.S. Representative; Peggy Flanagan, Lt. Governor of Minnesota; Rebecca Lucero, Minnesota Department of Human Rights Commissioner; and Bo Thao-Urabe, Executive Director of the Coalition of Asian American Leaders.

“We know that police violence and discrimination impact our Asian American community and must be an integral part of our fight for racial justice,” shared Omar. “We’ve seen an uptick of anti-Asian incidents in the past year, mostly against women. It’s important to remember that an attack on one community is an attack on all of us.”

Last year, Minnesota ranked 15th among all states for the highest number of reported hate incidents against Asian Americans in the country. Across the United States, there was a 150 percent increase in reported anti-Asian violence. The resurgence of these hate crimes led to a deadly shooting in Atlanta on March 16, where eight people were killed, six of whom were Asian American women.

Among the promoted initiatives to combat local anti-Asian hate crimes is the Combating-Hate bill, HF 1691, which would close loopholes that misclassify hate acts and allow victims to report hate incidents to non-law enforcement entities, like community organizations and the MN Department of Human Rights. Additionally, the bill would provide much needed support for the victims of hate crimes.

“Just last week in East Saint Paul, while my dad was dropping off his grandson at a bus stop, a passerby threatened that he should go back to his country or else he would get killed,” one community member shared. “Unfortunately, there are a ton of stories like what I shared that don’t get proper attention and go unreported.”

“The passing of this bill would mean that if our loved ones died tragically like the victims in Georgia, we would not be spending days debating whether their deaths were a hate crime,” shared Thao-Urabe. “It is long past time for those with power to stand up to hate and protect our communities made most vulnerable at this time.”

Community conversations like this allow Minnesotans to come together in order to share their experiences in a safe space and organize to combat anti-Asian racism. The stories shared during this event help the broader community understand the problem, while learning about the organizations, resources, leaders and community members who are working hard to make a difference for Asian Minnesotans and all communities of color.

About the Asian Minnesota Alliance Justice 

AMAJ was formed in 2020 in response to the murder of George Floyd and is made up of leaders and representatives of various Asian Minnesotan organizations who share a common purpose of ending racism and xenophobia in order to create a just, free, and peaceful world. AMAJ uses a solidarity framework to mend the social divides and fight the inequities that are both rooted in white supremacy and that are exacerbated by the pandemic.