AG James Launches Hotline to Combat Coronavirus Hate Crimes and Xenophobic Rhetoric

Individuals Who Have Experienced Hate Crimes and Bias-Based Incidents Are Encouraged to Call the Ongoing Hotline at 1-800-771-7755, or Email Civil.Rights@ag.ny.gov 

NEW YORK – Attorney General Letitia James [on March 23, 2020] announced the launch of a hotline for New Yorkers to report hate crimes and bias-based incidents. The hotline, which will continue indefinitely, comes in the wake of rising reports of harassment and assaults, as well as rhetoric against Asian Americans amidst the Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic. 

“As we face an unprecedented and uncertain time for New York, the United States, and the world, we must reiterate the fact that this pandemic does not give anyone an excuse to be racist, xenophobic, or biased,” said Attorney General James. “No one should live in fear for their life because of who they are, what they look like, or where they come from. I encourage all victims of discriminatory actions stemming from this pandemic to contact my office. We will continue to work with local law enforcement to combat hate in all its insidious forms.”

In the last week alone, there have been numerous reports in New York of Asian Americans being harassed or physically assaulted as a result of this pandemic. The last several weeks have also seen a rise in anti-Asian rhetoric through the use of terms such as ‘Chinese virus,’ creating a stigma around Asian communities. This comes on the heels of a record number of hate crimes over the past several months in New York, demonstrating the urgent need for action. The Attorney General’s Office, in its commitment to combating these heinous acts, implores everyone, from everyday New Yorkers, to individuals at the highest levels of government, to stand united against hate, now more than ever.

“During this public health crisis, people are fighting for their lives – fighting to keep their families safe. Yet these incessant, irresponsible, and atrocious naming of COVID-19 as the ‘Chinese virus’ or ‘Wuhan virus’ is endangering the lives of Asian Americans. I thank Attorney General James for setting up this necessary hotline for New Yorkers to report coronavirus-related hate crimes or biased-based incidents,” said U.S. Representative Grace Meng. “I have repeatedly called on public officials – from the President to the top Republican in the U.S. House of Representatives – to abstain from using derogatory language that demonizes Asian Americans. This must stop. Public officials – and the media – must speak truth to power and refrain from dabbling in misinformation or conspiracy theories. I’m urging all New Yorkers to come together, call virus the coronavirus, and report to the hotline those who would use this uncertain time to make racist, xenophobic or biased attacks.”

“Long scapegoated and cast as ‘yellow peril,’ Asian Americans are besieged on two fronts by the COVID-19 contagion, with outbreaks of ignorance and bigotry sometimes inflicting more harm than the virus itself,” said State Senator John Liu. “More and more hateful incidents are occurring, ranging from distasteful gestures to obnoxious name-calling to outright violence against Asian-Americans — and despicably condoned by the president himself. The battle against the coronavirus has actually brought out the best among New Yorkers but it is necessary to remind some not to let fear of the unknown devolve into irrational and inexcusable hate, and we thank beloved Attorney General Tish James for leading the charge on this front as well.”

“Currently our community is dealing with COVID-19, a global pandemic — but our community is also facing another virus: extreme anti-Asian xenophobia,” said State Assembly Member Yuh-Line Niou. “While we battle this crisis, it has become abundantly clear that the coronavirus does not discriminate based on race. Yet, people are using COVID-19 as an excuse to perpetuate racism and xenophobia throughout New York and the entire country. There have been so many reports of Asian Americans being attacked because they were just riding the subway or wearing a face mask. The attacks are hateful, and go out of their way to blame our community. It is important that we stand together and remain educated on the growing emergency. Together we must stop the spread of the unfounded harmful stereotypes and hateful words that people are using to demonize our Asian American community through thoughtful and reasonable discussions. Thank you to the Attorney General for setting up a hotline to address and to better support our community through this devastating time of unfounded xenophobia and hate crimes against our community.”

Although local law enforcement is responsible for criminally prosecuting these perpetrators, the Attorney General’s Office is taking on this issue in other ways, including connecting victims and impacted communities to available resources, launching civil investigations, and supporting local law enforcement, among other steps.

The Attorney General urges those experiencing hate crimes and bias incidences to report them by emailing the Attorney General’s Civil Rights Bureau at civil.rights@ag.ny.gov, or calling 1-800-771-7755. 

NAPABA Release: Diverse Groups of Attorneys and Law Students Condemn Racist Attack Ad in Hoboken, New Jersey


WASHINGTON — Asian Pacific American bars are deeply disturbed by the distribution of a second racist flyer targeting an Asian American candidate in New Jersey. The South Asian Bar Association of New Jersey (SABA-NJ), Asian Pacific American Lawyers Association of New Jersey (APALA-NJ), the New Jersey Muslim Lawyers Association (NJMLA), the National Asian Pacific American Bar Association (NAPABA), the National Asian Pacific American Law Student Association (NAPALSA), and the South Asian Bar Association of North America (SABA) condemn the Hoboken flyers claiming that a turbaned Sikh-American mayoral candidate is a terrorist. “The Asian Pacific American legal community is disgusted by this racist attack that continues to promote a false association between religion and acts of terror. Associating a candidate, or anyone, with horrific criminal acts based solely on their appearance is racist and xenophobic,” said Pankit Doshi, NAPABA president.

This is the second time in less than a week that racist advertisements have attacked Asian-American candidates. “There is no place for this type of racism in our country, whose history is defined by the immigrant communities that have settled it. Our country’s diversity should be represented in our elected candidates. The candidate and voter intimidation in these flyers cannot be tolerated and should not discourage anyone from participating in the democratic process,” said SABA President Rishi Bagga.

As diverse bar associations, we will continue to stand up against racism and xenophobia in all its forms. This type of attack on diverse candidates seems to be on the upswing and cannot be allowed to become a part of the normal discourse.

The anonymous flyer targeted APALA-NJ and SABA-NJ member Ravi Bhalla, a Councilman in Hoboken who is running for Mayor of Hoboken and an attorney with Florio Perrucci Steinhardt and Fader, LLC, in Rochelle Park, New Jersey. His opponent has said that his original flyers were altered and has condemned the racist addition.

For more information, the media may contact Brett Schuster, NAPABA communications manager, at 202-775-9555 or bschuster@napaba.org.

The National Asian Pacific American Bar Association (NAPABA) is the national association of Asian Pacific American (APA) attorneys, judges, law professors, and law students. NAPABA represents the interests of over 50,000 attorneys and over 75 national, state, and local bar associations. Its members include solo practitioners, large firm lawyers, corporate counsel, legal services and non-profit attorneys, and lawyers serving at all levels of government. NAPABA engages in legislative and policy advocacy, promotes APA political leadership and political appointments, and builds coalitions within the legal profession and the community at large. NAPABA also serves as a resource for government agencies, members of Congress, and public service organizations about APAs in the legal profession, civil rights, and diversity in the courts.

NAPABA continues to be a leader in addressing civil rights issues confronting Asian Pacific American communities. Through its national network of committees and affiliates, NAPABA provides a strong voice for increased diversity of the federal and state judiciaries, advocates for equal opportunity in the workplace, works to eliminate hate crimes and anti-immigrant sentiment, and promotes the professional development of people of color in the legal profession.

To learn more about NAPABA, visit www.napaba.org, like us on Facebook, and follow us on Twitter (@NAPABA).

Diverse Groups of Attorneys and Law Students Condemn Racist Election Mailer Sent to Homes in Edison, New Jersey

WASHINGTON — The Asian Pacific American Lawyers Association of New Jersey, the New Jersey Muslim Lawyers Association, the National Asian Pacific American Bar Association, and the National Asian Pacific American Law Student Association condemn the recent racist election mailer that was sent to homes in Edison, New Jersey, concerning the upcoming school board election. Our immigrant communities, such as the one in Edison, are cornerstones of New Jersey. Hateful attacks such as this have no place in civil political discourse. We strive to promote diversity in the state. Together, we must all stand up and refuse to allow this type of bigotry and ignorance to exist. We continue to stand ready to fight on behalf of our immigrant and diverse communities.

The anonymous mailer cowardly targeted candidates Jerry Shi, a Chinese American, and Falguni Patel, an Indian American and immigration attorney, who are running for the Edison School Board. In a highly diverse community such as Edison, this mailer is an attack on all our immigrant communities and we must ensure that such acts have no refuge.

For more information, the media may contact Brett Schuster, NAPABA communications manager, at 202-775-9555 or bschuster@napaba.org.

The National Asian Pacific American Bar Association (NAPABA) is the national association of Asian Pacific American (APA) attorneys, judges, law professors, and law students. NAPABA represents the interests of over 50,000 attorneys and over 75 national, state, and local bar associations. Its members include solo practitioners, large firm lawyers, corporate counsel, legal services and non-profit attorneys, and lawyers serving at all levels of government. NAPABA engages in legislative and policy advocacy, promotes APA political leadership and political appointments, and builds coalitions within the legal profession and the community at large. NAPABA also serves as a resource for government agencies, members of Congress, and public service organizations about APAs in the legal profession, civil rights, and diversity in the courts.

NAPABA continues to be a leader in addressing civil rights issues confronting Asian Pacific American communities. Through its national network of committees and affiliates, NAPABA provides a strong voice for increased diversity of the federal and state judiciaries, advocates for equal opportunity in the workplace, works to eliminate hate crimes and anti-immigrant sentiment, and promotes the professional development of people of color in the legal profession.

To learn more about NAPABA, visit www.napaba.org, like us on Facebook, and follow us on Twitter (@NAPABA).

From NAPABA: ASIAN PACIFIC AMERICAN LEGAL GROUPS URGE CHICAGO OFFICIALS TO INVESTIGATE ANTI-ASIAN AND ANTI-IMMIGRANT VIDEO INCIDENT

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
May 27, 2014

WASHINGTON — The National Asian Pacific American Bar Association (NAPABA) and its Chicago-based affiliates — the Asian American Bar Association of Greater Chicago (AABA), Chinese American Bar Association of Greater Chicago (CABA), and Korean American Bar Association of Chicago (KABA) — along with the Filipino American Lawyers Association of Chicago (FALA) and the Indian-American Bar Association of Chicago (IABA) express concern over the actions of certain Chicago police officers captured by recently-released video surveillance, which depicts officers using racist and anti-immigrant language during an arrest last summer.

“The actions shown in the video raise questions about how people of color and immigrants, particularly those who are limited English proficient, are treated by Chicago police officers,” said Bill Simonitsch, president of NAPABA. “We urge Mayor Emanuel and Chicago Police Superintendent Garry McCarthy to fully investigate this incident and work with the local Asian Pacific American community to ensure that immigrants and all people of color feel protected by local law enforcement officials.”

According to a lawsuit filed in federal court on May 14, 2014, Chicago police officers verbally harassed and physically abused a Chinese American spa manager during a raid on a local business in July 2013. The security video shows officers entering the spa, apprehending the woman and striking her while she was kneeling and handcuffed. Police officers can be heard on the video making racist and anti-immigrant remarks during the arrest. One officer refused to believe that the woman was an American citizen and told her “You’re not f—— American! I’ll put you in a UPS box and send you back to wherever the f— you came from.“

NAPABA, AABA, CABA, KABA, FALA, and IABA urge the City of Chicago and the Chicago Police Department to fully investigate the specific allegations raised by the video, determine whether any systemic problems of official misconduct exist, and take appropriate action to ensure that all visitors and residents, regardless of gender, race, national origin, immigration status, or English proficiency, feel welcome and safe in the City of Chicago.

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The National Asian Pacific American Bar Association (NAPABA) is the national association of Asian Pacific American attorneys, judges, law professors, and law students. NAPABA represents the interests of over 40,000 attorneys and 68 state and local Asian Pacific American bar associations. Its members include solo practitioners, large firm lawyers, corporate counsel, legal service and non-profit attorneys, and lawyers serving at all levels of government. NAPABA continues to be a leader in addressing civil rights issues confronting Asian Pacific American communities. Through its national network of committees and affiliates, NAPABA provides a strong voice for increased diversity of the federal and state judiciaries, advocates for equal opportunity in the workplace, works to eliminate hate crimes and anti-immigrant sentiment, and promotes the professional development of people of color in the legal profession.