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Photo: Dania Maxwell/Los Angeles Times via Getty Images

More than 75 Asian and LGBTQ organizations issued a statement Wednesday rejecting the anti-Asian hate crime bill that recently soared through the Senate.

Why it matters: The groups say the bill will bolster law enforcement and further harm marginalized people. Their opposition reflects a fracture among Asian Americans as the community looks to address a yearlong spike in anti-Asian hate.

  • The bill, backed by prominent AAPI Congress members, including Sen. Mazie Hirono (D-Hawaii) and Rep. Judy Chu (D-Calif.), aims to improve hate crime tracking and train police to better identify anti-Asian hate.
  • Lawmakers have denied criticisms that the bill reinforces policing. The House is expected to take up the bill in mid-May and will likely send the legislation to President Biden, who has said he would sign it.

What they're saying: In Wednesday's statement, published on writer Jenn Fang's blog, "Reappropriate," activists called the bill a contradiction of "Asian solidarity with Black, Brown, undocumented, trans, low-income, sex worker, and other marginalized communities whose liberation is bound together."

  • The bill does not create "systemic change" and only increases "crime statistics collection," the organizations write.
  • Relying on crime statistics does not actually prevent violence, they argue, pointing to the 2009 Matthew Shepard Act.
    • The Matthew Shepard Act expanded federal hate crime categories to include sexual orientation and gender identity, but the statement notes that the U.S. continues to see high rates of deadly anti-trans violence.
  • Bolstering law enforcement "ignores that police violence is also anti-Asian violence, which has disproportionately targeted Black and Brown Asians," they write.
    • The statement cites the deaths of Christian Hall and Angelo Quinto, Asian Americans who were recently killed by police during mental health crises.

The organizations called on members of Congress to oppose the legislation and instead shift resources from law enforcement to communities.

  • Investing in non-carceral alternatives and removing police presence from neighborhoods are among their demands.

The big picture: In 16 of the country's largest cities and counties, reports of anti-Asian hate crimes have surged 164% since this time last year, according to a recent study from the Center for the Study of Hate and Extremism at Cal State University San Bernardino.

Go deeper

Updated May 11, 2021 - Politics & Policy

Prosecutor to seek hate crime charges, death penalty in Atlanta shootings

In Hopkinton, Mass., the Rally & Run To Stop Asian Hate is held to show solidarity in the wake of deadly Atlanta shootings and to mourn the loss of eight lives including six Asian women. Photo: Jonathan Wiggs/The Boston Globe via Getty Images

Prosecutors unveiled murder charges against the white man accused of shooting and killing eight people, six of whom were Asian women, at Atlanta-area spas, AP reports.

Driving the news: A prosecutor filed notice that she plans to seek hate crime charges and the death penalty in the case. Two separate grand juries have now indicted the suspect on murder charges.

May 12, 2021 - Podcasts

Defining a hate crime

The man accused in the Atlanta spa shootings was indicted on murder charges, yesterday. The prosecution says it will be pursuing a hate crime penalty. We recently sat down with our resident legal scholar, Harvard Law professor Noah Feldman, to help us understand the complexity of defining and prosecuting hate.

  • Plus, the GOP pushes Rep. Liz Cheney out of leadership.
  • And, the bonkers market for reselling sneakers.

Ahmaud Arbery murder suspects plead not guilty to hate crimes

People hold portraits of George Floyd and Ahmaud Arbery during a demonstration. Photo: Stephen Maturen/Getty Images

The three white men charged in the death of 25-year-old Ahmaud Arbery last year pled not guilty to federal hate crime charges at a court proceeding in Georgia Tuesday, Reuters reports.

Why it matters: Arbery's case is one of several that propelled nationwide Black Lives Matter protests in the summer of 2020.