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It’s Been A Year Since The Pandemic Reached The US, But Violence And Hate Crimes Against Asian-Americans Are Still Prevalent

Incense is burned to mark the first day of the Lunar New Year of the Ox at the Thien Hau Temple, temporarily closed due to the coronavirus pandemic, in the Chinatown neighborhood of Los Angeles, California on February 12, 2021. - Los Angeles is home to one of the largest Asian-American communites in the United States but high Covid-19 infection rates have led to cancelled events and curtailed gatherings. (Photo by Frederic J. BROWN / AFP) (Photo by FREDERIC J. BROWN/AFP via Getty Images)
FREDERIC J. BROWN/AFP via Getty Images
Incense is burned to mark the first day of the Lunar New Year of the Ox at the Thien Hau Temple, temporarily closed due to the coronavirus pandemic, in the Chinatown neighborhood of Los Angeles, California on February 12, 2021.

Early in the pandemic in Los Angeles, an elderly Korean woman who'd been verbally harassed and pelted with rocks in Koreatown went to her local police station to report the incident in her limited English.

Early in the pandemic in Los Angeles, an elderly Korean woman who'd been verbally harassed and pelted with rocks in Koreatown went to her local police station to report the incident in her limited English.

But as the woman later told community advocates, police opted not to take a report and provided no follow-up or referrals to organizations that provide counseling or legal advice. A year later, the woman cries talking about the attack and sought counseling on her own, according to Connie Chung Joe, the executive director of Asian Americans Advancing Justice-LA. "When victims are brave enough to come forward and share their experiences with the police," Joe told the Los Angeles Board of Police Commissioners on Tuesday, "having the police say that nothing can be done discourages victims and their communities from relying on the police again, particularly for immigrant victims who face language and cultural barriers." 

Verbal and physical attacks on Asian Americans have been taking place in Los Angeles for the last year, but recent violence against Asian elders captured on video around the country, and last month's assault in the heart of L.A.'s Koreatown on a 27-year-old Korean American man, now has leaders like the mayor and city attorney speaking more forcefully about the problem. L.A. police commissioners spent more than an hour at their meeting Tuesday discussing anti-Asian incidents and taking input from civil rights leaders, who said officers needed to get better at recognizing hate crimes and being sensitive to victims but they also made clear they were not calling for more policing. LAPD recorded 15 hate crimes against AAPI community members in 2020 — up 114% from 2019. Three cases of anti-Asian hate crimes have been documented so far in 2021. By contrast, civil rights organizations received reports of more than 100 incidents in L.A. between March and December of last year.

Today on AirTalk, we’ll explore why this trend has persisted and what local leaders are saying about how law enforcement is and should be handling these types of incidents.

For the full story from KPCC/LAist’s Josie Huang, click here.

Guest:

Manjusha Kulkarni, executive director of Asian Pacific Policy & Planning Council and co-founder of Stop AAPI Hate, a reporting center that tracks and responds to incidents of hate, violence, harassment and discrimination against Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders in the United States; tweets

  

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