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Nadler Joins CAPAC Members, Speaker Pelosi at Press Conference Ahead of House Vote on S. 937, the COVID-19 Hate Crimes Act

Washington, D.C. - Today, House Judiciary Committee Chairman Jerrold Nadler (D-NY) delivered the following remarks, as prepared, at a press conference ahead of the House vote on S. 937, the COVID-19 Hate Crimes Act:

"I want to begin by thanking Speaker Pelosi for bringing this legislation to the floor, Grace Meng and Don Beyer for introducing the bills that make up today’s legislation, and Judy Chu for all of her work advocating for the AAPI community.

"Today, we will take a vital first step toward understanding and addressing the full scope of the disturbing rise in hate crimes in America—particularly against Asian Americans—that we have seen in recent years, which we know is vastly underreported and under-resourced.

"This legislation sends a clear message to those in our country who wish to harm their fellow citizens:   Hate has no home here. 

"We are enduring a hate crimes crisis in America.  New York City saw a 73 percent increase in hate crimes between January 1st and May 2nd compared to that same period last year, with 80 reported hate crimes against Asian Americans in the first quarter of 2021.  And we are seeing this pattern play out in major cities across the country.

"This documented rise in violent hate crimes against Asian Americans fits tragically into the broader and deeply troubling trend of hate-based violence and mass murder in America.  Hate crimes surged in 2019.  Even worse, they became more violent.  A record 51 bias-motivated murders occurred in 2019 alone, including the devastating mass shooting of 23 individuals at a Walmart in El Paso, TX.

"The data is both humbling and frightening and shows no sign of letting up. In a single weekend just this month, there were at least four more heart-breaking attacks on Asian Americans in New York City.  This violence is echoed in reports across the country.

"On March 30th of this year, I stood with community leaders after yet another devastating attack in our community, where a man attacked a 65-year-old woman of Filipino descent on a busy sidewalk in my district.  For those who have seen the video, you know that he stomped on her repeatedly while yelling racial epithets as she lay injured on the ground.

"As I said during our March hearing in the Judiciary Committee on 'Violence and Discrimination Against Asian Americans,' the victims of this racist hate are not strangers who pose a threat merely because of their race or ethnicity.  Rather, they are our neighbors, our friends, our family members, our constituents, and our fellow Americans.  And the increasing danger they face, is not just from the pandemic, but from their fellow citizens.

"Everyone deserves to live without fear of violence against themselves and their families.  And our country needs a way forward past this era of violence and hate.  The swift passage and implementation of the COVID-19 Hate Crimes Act will prove crucial to this endeavor.

"I look forward to sending this important legislation to President Biden’s desk and seeing it signed into law.  And I thank everyone here who has made that possible."

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