AUSTIN, Texas - For the first time in Texas history, a spokesperson for the top Asian American leaders from the state's largest cities says they're joining to stand against hate and demanding action from state and local leaders.
On Tuesday, March 23rd at 10 am, Asian American leaders from Austin, Dallas, Houston, and San Antonio will hold a news conference to address anti-Asian hate crimes that have been taking place across the U.S. since the spring of 2020.
Stop AAPI Hate, a California-based reporting center for the AAPI community, reported 3,795 incidents from March 19, 2020, to February 28, 2021, including verbal harassment (68.1%), shunning (20.5%), physical assault (11.1%), civil rights violations (8.5%), and online harassment (6.8%).
Texas was ranked #4 in the highest number of incidents with 103 cases (2.71%).
Some of the recent known attacks include:
- San Antonio, TX: A local Asian American restaurant was vandalized with graffiti, received death threats and online negative reviews after comments on the mask mandate.
- Austin, TX: A local Asian-American-owned bakery received threats and harassment after being featured in a viral Eater-Austin article.
- San Francisco, CA: A 76-year-old woman was punched in the face unprovoked on the main street.
- Atlanta, GA: Eight people, including six Asian-American women, were killed after a spree of massage parlor shootings.
- Oakland, CA: A 91-year-old man, 60-year-old man, and 55-year-old woman were violently attacked in Oakland’s Chinatown.
- New York City: Two Asian women were physically assaulted in two separate subway attacks.
- San Francisco, CA: An 84-year-old man originally from Thailand was violently slammed into the ground, later resulting in death.
About 5% of the Texas population is Asian, equaling about 1.5 million people, the fastest-growing ethnic group in the state.
This week the State of Texas 87th Legislature, sponsored by Rep. Eugene Wu (D), Rep. Hubert Vo (D), Rep. Angie Button (R), and Rep. Jacey Jetton (R), introduced Texas House Concurrent Resolution 66 condemning racism against Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders.
With Asian Americans making up 8% of Austin’s population and growing, local Asian-American community leaders and AAPI organizations say they are staying vigilant in the wake of these attacks.
In April of 2020, the Austin City Council passed Resolution No 20200409-076 to condemn and call attention to hate speech, violence, and racism towards the AAPI community and pursuing a policy agenda to affirm civil and human rights and ensure "those targeted on the basis of race, nationality, religion, or immigration status can turn to the government without fear of recrimination."
A spokesperson for the Asian American community says it is calling upon elected and community leaders to go above and beyond these resolutions to protect the broader Texas AAPI community by:
- Requesting local, county, and state law enforcement to partner with local AAPI community organizations to consider safety measures such as: establishing a dedicated hotline -with Asian language capabilities- to encourage the reporting and tracking of hate crimes including racially motivated verbal harassment and vandalism; community engagement and education about safety precautions as well as victims' rights and resources; establishing community policing models or dedicated patrols where requested by businesses or residences under ongoing or imminent threats; and communicating clearly -whether by signage in places of business and/or public service announcements - that these incidents are subject to prosecution.
- Developing a public awareness campaign to combat anti-Asian discrimination, harassment, and bias as a result of COVID-19.
- Encourage donations or volunteerism with organizations that empower and uplift the AAPI community.
- Continue to denounce acts of anti-Asian rhetoric, xenophobia, and racism within our community and advance public education and awareness about historical discrimination against Asian Americans, including by including Asian American history in the state's standard school curriculum.
- Calling on Governor Abbott to establish a special Commission, inclusive of Asian American leaders, to prevent and combat hate crime in the state of Texas.