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‘We Are Literally Fearing For Our Lives’: Hate Crimes Against Asian Americans Reportedly Increased During Pandemic

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Nicole Silverio Contributor
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Violent hate crimes against Asian Americans have risen since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic last March, USA Today reported.

Reports of violent crimes against Asian Americans have become more common since the start of the pandemic in March. Activists and experts have recorded that 2,808 anti-Asian hate incidents had taken place between March 19 and Dec. 31, 2020, USA Today reported.

Police data revealed that 24 anti-Asian hate crimes occurred between Jan 1 and Nov. 29, 2020. That’s eight times higher than the number of reported hate crimes throughout the same period in 2019, according to The Asian American Bar Association Of New York. 

“It’s so absurd that I have to say ‘Stop killing us. We are literally fearing for our lives as we walk out the door, and your silence, your silence rings through our heads,” activist Amanda Nguyễn told USA Today.(Related: Trump Called Coronavirus ‘The Chinese Virus’ For The First Time) 

“When President Trump began and insisted on using the term ‘China virus,’ we saw that hate speech really led to violence,” said Russell Jeung, chair of the Asian American Studies Department at San Francisco State University. “That sort of political rhetoric and that sort of anti-Asian climate has continued to this day.”

The NYPD created an Asian American Task Force in August to combat anti-Asian discrimination, according to USA Today.

“This increase was cultivated due to the anti-Asian rhetoric about the virus that was publicized and individuals began to attack Asian New Yorkers, either verbal attack or physical assault,” Chief of Detectives Rodney Harrison told USA Today. “We saw a spike in every borough throughout the city.”

Before the pandemic, hate crimes rose to their highest levels in over a decade, according to US News. In 2019,  there were 4,930 hate crime victims, according to the Federal Bureau of Investigation.

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