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The recent passage of the COVID-19 Hate Crimes Act was historic, but it "does not mean that hearts and minds will follow," Sen. Mazie Hirono (D-Hawaii) said at a virtual Axios event on Friday.

Why it matters: Anti-Asian hate has surged in the past year, jumping 164% in some of America's largest cities. Hirono introduced the bill in the Senate, which will improve hate crime tracking and train law enforcement to better identify anti-Asian hate.

  • President Biden signed the bill into law on May 20.

What she's saying: "There are people in our country who bear an animus toward the AAPI community, often regarding us as the Other and the perpetual foreigners," she said.

  • "There are historical antecedents to the discrimination against Asians in our country," she said, citing the Chinese Exclusion Act, Japanese American internment and Trump's Muslim ban.
  • "This kind of discrimination and racism is never far below the surface in our country," she noted. "So, yes, education, prevention ... are all very important aspects of what we need to do. We're not going to solve this situation overnight."

The big picture: The bill drew rare, overwhelming bipartisan support in the Senate. Only Sen. Josh Hawley (R- Mo.) voted against the legislation.

Worth noting: Over 75 Asian and LGBTQ groups have criticized the bill, arguing that it only reinforces policing of vulnerable communities.

Watch the full event here.

Go deeper

Marvel's "Shang-Chi" strikes at unique moment

The cast of Marvel Studios' "Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings." Photo: Michael Loccisano/Getty Images for Disney

Marvel’s first Asian-led superhero film hits theaters around the world this weekend, with some earlier showings starting Thursday. 

Why it matters: For many in the Asian community, the release of "Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings” marks a rare cheerful moment after more than a year of watching near-daily violent attacks on Asian people around the world.

2 hours ago - World

Brazil senators vote to recommend criminal charges for Bolsonaro

Brazilian senators vote on probe into President Bolsonaro's handling of pandemic. Photo: Gustavo Minas/Bloomberg via Getty Images

A Brazilian Senate committee Tuesday voted to approve a report recommending President Jair Bolsonaro be charged with a raft of criminal indictments, including crimes against humanity over his response to the COVID-19 pandemic, per AP.

Why it matters: Bolsonaro has become the face of a right-wing approach to the pandemic that includes repudiating vaccines and masks and resisting lockdowns and other mitigation measures. The Senate report holds him personally responsible for half of the country's 600,000 deaths.

Former Georgetown tennis coach pleads guilty to accepting admissions bribes

Gordon Ernst (left) former head tennis coach at Georgetown, outside a courthouse in Boston in 2019. Photo: Jessica Rinaldi/The Boston Globe via Getty Images

A former Georgetown University head tennis coach has pleaded guilty Tuesday to bribery charges related to facilitating the admission of prospective applicants.

Why it matters: Gordon Ernst solicited and accepted bribes from William Singer, ringleader of the cheating scheme uncovered by Operation Varsity Blues, and families in exchange for helping prospective applicants get into Georgetown as student athletes, according to the Justice Department.