BOSON (SHNS) – Two years after lawmakers gathered in front of the State House to decry discrimination and hate speech against Asian Americans, many of the same officials returned to the front steps Wednesday to say that racist incidents have only intensified.
Rep. Vanna Howard of Lowell, representing the Legislature’s Asian American Caucus, said the past two years of pandemic have “exacerbated” the threats, and cited a report of nearly 11,000 hate incidents, including murders, from March 2020 to December 2021. “And those were just the numbers that were reported. Just imagine the numbers that went unreported,” Howard said. “And out of those, almost 11,000 people that were attacked, harassed, and murdered, almost 900 were reports of hate incidents against Asian American elders age 60 and up.”
“It has to be called out every time,” House Speaker Ron Mariano said.
“You heard the stats. The stats are real. And the stats don’t take into account the slights, the ignorance that is displayed to our Asian brothers and sisters in their everyday life.”
Senate President Karen Spilka partially ascribed the “really sharp uptick in threats” to “a president that sort of egged this on,” and other speakers also cited rhetoric from the nation’s capital as a driver of xenophobic hatred in the rest of the country.
Sam Hyun, a member of the state Asian American and Pacific Islanders Commission, said that “we still are seeing our grandmothers be pushed into subway tracks, we still are seeing our children be bullied in schools, and people being murdered simply for being Asian. So it’s important for us to continue to speak up.”