Statement on Anti-Asian hate crimes

Statement on Anti-Asian hate crimes

In light of recent attacks against Asian Americans, SAAPRI stands in solidarity with Asian Americans and all people of color, and against all hate crimes.

Since the onset of COVID-19 and throughout the pandemic, the US has seen a rise in anti-Asian hate crimes, largely due to fear, confusion, and frustration surrounding COVID-19. Recent attacks include: 

  • an 84-year-old Thai immigrant in San Francisco who was killed after being violently shoved to the ground. 
  • a 91-year-old man attacked in Oakland. 
  • an 89-year-old woman set on fire in Brooklyn.
  • a 61-year-old Asian American passenger on the New York subway whose face was slashed with a box cutter.

These victims, members of our Asian American immigrant family, are the ones we know about. These attacks are rooted in anti-Asian sentiment related to COVID-19 stigmas. 

According to the Center for Study of Hate Crime and Extremism, hate crimes against Asian Americans increased by 150% in 2020. 

Racialized hate crimes are also on the rise right here in Illinois. 

According to Asian Americans Advancing Justice-Chicago, Illinois has the third-most reported cases of race-based hate crimes. This ties back to a history of anti-Asian sentiment including anti-Muslim violence in the post-9/11 period. The COVID-19 pandemic has seen those instances of blame, scapegoating, and racist and xenophobic rhetoric reappear with new targets. 

SAAPRI unequivocally stands against hate crimes and urges the importance of compassion and direct action, such as bystander intervention, in our communities. Our partner organizations, CAIR-Chicago and Asian Americans Advancing Justice-Chicago, are hosting a series of bystander intervention trainings which can be a useful tool for helping prevent and act against hate crimes. To learn more about the trainings for yourself or your community, click here. We also urgently stress the importance of coalition-building between Black and brown communities against hate crimes. In this crucial moment, SAAPRI strongly reiterates the need to renounce and combat racism and bigotry and stands in solidarity with other groups who have been targeted with hate and violence. 

SAAPRI believes that people of all races, ethnicities, faiths, and identities have a place in this country and their right to exist and be welcomed must be protected. There is no room for racial hatred, violence, or extremism. 

Since its founding, SAAPRI has been deeply involved in combating hate crimes, and it will continue this work as a central part of its mission to advance policy in response to the South Asian and broader community’s needs. Our past work includes developing and helping pass anti-hate resolutions in the Illinois House and Chicago City Council as well as successfully advocating to the FBI to track hate crimes against Hindus, Sikhs, and Arabs in addition to the already existing categories of Christians, Jews, Muslims, and Atheists. The most recent rise in hate crimes makes this work even more important. According to FBI statistics, Chicago experienced a 20 percent increase in reported hate crimes in 2016, with preliminary evidence that this rise is continuing. Moving forward, SAAPRI will continue working in cross-racial and interfaith coalitions to identify and combat hate in our communities. 

We can and must do better. We are better together. We are stronger together. We are all in this together.