Last week, Present Biden signed the COVID-19 Hate Crimes Act into law in order to address increasing rates of anti-Asian violence during the coronavirus pandemic. The new legislation will increase support for local and state law enforcement agencies who are responding to hate crimes related to coronavirus; and expedite federal investigation of reports of such hate crimes.

Although anti-Asian sentiment has increased over the course of the pandemic, it is rooted in the same legacies of white supremacy and imperialism that harm all communities of color.  

Southern Vision Alliance recognizes the efforts of Asian American groups, individuals, and allies that went into the passage of this bill. At the same time, we must acknowledge the pitfalls of hate crime legislation as a response to attacks on communities made vulnerable by state-sanctioned violence. Increased policing and funding to law enforcement agencies serves to increase that vulnerability, and ignores the systemic nature of these crimes.

Providing resources to the racist prison industrial complex only fosters the continued scapegoating and criminalization of workers of color. In 2019, for example, Black people made up roughly 13 percent of the U.S. population yet were accused by law enforcement of nearly 24 percent of hate crimes, according to Justice Department statistics. White people, conversely, were 60 percent of the population yet faced fewer than 53 percent of hate crime accusations.

We look to the example of Durham Beyond Policing and Durham For All’s 10 to Transform campaign calling for 10% of Durham County money budgeted within policing and jails reallocated to strengthen the care work in Mental Health for the 2021-2022 budget.

Southern Vision Alliance will continue our fight for collective liberation. We affirm the collective statement signed by more than 2,000 organizations and individuals in response to violence against Asian American communities, which asserts:

“We must invest in long-term solutions that address the root causes of violence and hate in our communities. We reject increased police presence or carceral solutions as the answers. … Violence against Asian American communities is part of a larger system of violence and racism against all communities of color, including Black, Brown, and Indigenous communities.”

We encourage you to join us in supporting AAPI organizers fighting for an abolitionist, community-oriented movement, by signing on as an individual or as an organization .

We will continue to support grassroots, community-led actions, such as the “Not Your Model Minority” Rally that took place in Raleigh, NC, shortly after the Atlanta spa shooting.

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