Rep. Doris Matsui, D-Calif., was among a group of Asian American lawmakers and advocates who testified March 18 before the House Judiciary Committee about discrimination and violence their communities are facing.
In 2020, hate crimes toward Asian American and Pacific Islanders in major U.S. cities grew nearly 150 percent. Since the early days of the COVID-19 pandemic, the group Stop AAPI Hate recorded at least 3,795 reported incidents of hate. The crimes have been violent in numerous situations, including on Tuesday when a gunman killed eight people, including six Asian American women, at Atlanta area spas.
Matsui pointed to hostile rhetoric toward Asian Americans, including from political leaders at the highest levels. “There is a systemic problem here, and we are duty-bound to stop the spread of xenophobic and racist ideas that have escalated to physical threats.”
Matsui also spoke about the importance of understanding the historical underpinnings of Asian American discrimination and mentioned her own family’s experiences in Japanese internment camps.
“The fear of the other — whether racial, religious or tribal — works to suppress the better angels of our nature,” Matsui said. “We’ve seen the consequences when we go down this path.”
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