House passes resolution condemning anti-Asian sentiment amid COVID-19 pandemic

Photo courtesy of Rep. Grace Meng’s office

The House of Representatives on Thursday, Sept. 17 passed a resolution sponsored by Queens Congresswoman Grace Meng denouncing anti-Asian sentiment that has occurred since the outbreak of COVID-19. 

The measure, which Meng introduced in March, passed by a vote of 243 to 164.

“The House needed to take a strong and public stand against this appalling intolerance, discrimination, and violence that has taken place all across the country during this public health crisis, and today it did just that,” Meng said.

Since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic, Asian Americans have been forced to endure demeaning and disgusting acts of bigotry and hate, consisting of everything from verbal assaults to physical attacks, Meng said. When the first cases of COVID-19 were reported in the U.S., Meng had advised the public about not singling out or stereotyping the Asian American community. 

The Congresswoman said the rise in Anti-Asian rhetoric and the blaming of Asian Americans for the spread of COVID-19 has been “shameful and reckless,” calling out President Donald Trump and House Republican Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy and others for using terms like “Chinese virus,” “Wuhan virus,” and “Kung-flu.” 

As a result, the language has stoked people’s fears of COVID-19, scapegoated Asian Americans, and fanned the flames of hate increasing threats and attacks against those of Asian descent, Meng said.  

The 2020 Asian American Voter Survey released Tuesday, Sept. 15 found that 51 percent of Asian Americans are concerned about experiencing hate crimes, harassment and discrimination because of COVID-19, and 79 percent say there is a lot or some discrimination against Asian people in society.

Meng’s resolution has 157 cosponsors and has been endorsed by over 500 organizations and entities from across the country. 

The resolution includes:

  • Calls on all public officials to condemn and denounce any and all anti-Asian sentiment in any form;
  • Recognizes that the health and safety of all Americans, no matter their background, must be of utmost priority;
  • Condemns all manifestations of expressions of racism, xenophobia, discrimination, anti-Asian sentiment, scapegoating, and ethnic or religious intolerance;
  • Calls on Federal law enforcement officials, working with State and local officials:
  • To expeditiously investigate and document all credible reports of hate crimes and incidents and threats against the Asian American community in the United States;
  • To collect data to document the rise of incidences of hate crimes due to COVID-19;
  • To hold the perpetrators of those crimes, incidents, or threats accountable and bring such perpetrators to justice;
  • Recommits United States leadership in building more inclusive, diverse, and tolerant societies:
  • To prioritize language access and inclusivity in communication practices; and
  • To combat misinformation and discrimination that put Asian Americans at risk.

“It’s time for this hysteria and discrimination to end, and I hope that with the passage of my resolution, our nation will work its way towards that goal,” Meng said. “I thank and commend all who supported my resolution and joined me in sending a message to the American people that we reject this unacceptable racism, xenophobia, and violence. This measure is about condemning hate and violence and attacks on innocent individuals. We’re talking about people’s lives and their right to feel and be safe.”

A Senate version of Meng’s resolution is pending in the Senate. It was introduced in May by Senators Kamala Harris (D-CA), Tammy Duckworth (D-IL), and Mazie Hirono (D-HI). The resolutions in each chamber are independent of each other and do not need the signature of President Trump.