JERSEY CITY, NJ - Concerned about a slew of recent attacks on Asian Americans across the US, the Jersey City Municipal Council passed a resolution condemning and combating racism, xenophobia, and intolerance earlier this month.
Although the resolution was generated following an attack in Atlanta in mid-March that left eight people dead, other incidents have occurred nearer to home – including two incidents across the river in Manhattan.
San Francisco University’s Asian American Studies Department reported that here have been more than 2,800 hate incidents against Asian Americans in the United States since March 2020.
“We saw horrific Asian hate crimes in Atlanta,” said Councilman Rolando Lavarro, who is of Filipino extract. Lavarro described that he recently took part in a roundtable discussion with U.S. Senators Robert Menendez and Cory Booker about this issue and how law enforcement categorizes crimes like those in Atlanta.
This is a concern since more than 25 percent of the population of Jersey City are people of Asian or Pacific Island descent, supporters said.
The resolution went on to dispel the myth of the Asian community as a “model minority” which ignores the disparity in the various cultures and perpetuates stereotypes.
Lavarro said the police in Atlanta tried to identify the attack as one involving sexual addiction but ignored the fact that all of the victims were Asian, and that it was also a hate crime.
“In February, a man was stabbed in New York City, and New York set up a task force,” Lavarro said. “Jersey City should do the same thing. We need to take these crimes seriously.”
The resolution said the city will work with community partners in support of the victims of these crimes and to develop “tangible, community-led solutions that acknowledge the experience of Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders to root out systemic racism and uplift racial solidarity.”
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