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Congress passes anti-Asian hate crimes act with bipartisan support

May 19, 2021

Summary

Summary: Congress on Tues., May 18, sent to President Joe Biden’s desk a bill to combat the recent rise in hate crimes, including against Asian Americans and people of Pacific Islander descent. It’s a rare moment of bipartisanship in a Capitol increasingly gridlocked on major issues.

  • The bill was urged forward after a string of attacks against Asian Americans, but it goes beyond addressing just those attacks. For instance, it creates a new position at the Department of Justice that would expedite the processing of cases involving hate crimes.
  • The bill also provides grants to states to create hate crime hotlines and law enforcement offices to train them in gathering and reporting hate crime data.

Five Facts

  • Who will be impacted by the new bill?
  • In what ways does the bill try to address anti-Asian violence?
  • When and Where have attacks against Asian Americans been increasing?
  • Whdid the bill’s authors think it was necessary?
  • How is the bill seen as a “first step” and what are some other actions its backers hope to take?

Focus Questions

Do you think this bill is enough to end the wave of violence affecting Asian Americans? What else do you think needs to be done beyond federal legislation?

Media literacy: Who would you like to hear from to better understand how this bill will actually impact the victims of hate crimes and others?

For More

  1. Read and discuss this article on how to address the surge of anti-Asian hate crimes.
  2. Learn more about Asian American history in the U.S. with this lesson plan, and examine how the attack on Pearl Harbor led to xenophobia against Asian Americans similar to what the coronavirus has caused. 
  3. Check out this lesson plan to examine how different groups of people have been affected differently by the coronavirus. 

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