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CROWN: April 2021 - The Fight Against Anti-Asian Bigotry
With the sharp increase of hate crimes and bias incidents targeting the Asian-American community since the onset of the pandemic, the Michigan Department of Civil Rights and Michigan Civil Rights Commission have been actively voicing their support for the Asian American community and condemning racially motivated hate crimes and violence.
MDCR first raised concern about anti-Asian bigotry in March of 2020, early in the pandemic:
- MDCR - Michigan Civil Rights Commission Issues Statement on Discrimination in Wake of the Coronavirus
Two more statements were issued this year as Asian-American hate crimes and violence continued to increase:
- MDCR - Michigan Civil Rights Commission, Michigan Asian Pacific American Affairs Commission Issue Statement on Increase in Hate Crimes Against Asian Americans
- MDCR - Michigan Civil Rights Leaders Condemn Violence and Bigotry Against Asian Americans
See below for a snapshot of department and Commission action on this issue in the last two months:
- Enforcement Division compiled data on discrimination complaints filed on the basis of race, specifically Asian, from 2016 through February 2021. While the overall numbers of complaints remain low, there's a concerning trendline especially in the last two years. We shared the data with several media outlets.
- February 17: MCRC and MAPAAC Issued a joint statement condemning the recent rise of violence and hate crimes targeting Asian Americans.
- February/March: MDCR shared flyers on filing a complaint of discrimination designed to reach Asian Americans with media and partner organizations. The flyer is available in 7 Asian languages including Chinese, Korean, Burmese, Hmong, Thai, Vietnamese and Bengali.
- March: The Community Engagement Team connected with community and law enforcement partners around the state to gather information on bias incidents in Michigan.
- Director White, Vicki Levengood, Chair Clayton and Commissioner Kosaraju were interviewed by and/or quoted in a number of media outlets on anti-Asian discrimination including the Detroit Free Press, the Detroit News, Bridge Michigan, MLive, Michigan Radio, Michigan Advance and the Capital News Service.
- March 5: Director White and Deputy Director Mary Engelman addressed the Michigan Asian Pacific American Affairs Commission (MAPAAC) on anti-Asian hate and bias.
- March 17: In response to the mass shooting in Georgia, MDCR and MCRC issued statements condemning violence against Asian Americans.
- March 26: Tony Lewis presented at the virtual event "Past and Present - Anti-Asian Sentiment & Racism - What We Can Do About It Now" hosted by MAPAAC, which also included comments from Governor Whitmer. The event explored the historical aspects of racism, discriminatory policies against Asian Americans, current Anti-Asian sentiment, and violence during the COVID-19 pandemic.
MDCR and MCRC were featured in the following news articles:
- Bridge: Violence against Asian Americans prompts calls for vigilance in Michigan (3/18) MDCR - James E. White
- MLive: Anti-Asian hate instances, attacks spike but people are reluctant to report to police (3/18) MDCR - James E. White
- Michigan Radio: Deadly shooting spree raises concerns for Asian Americans in Michigan (3/18) MDCR - James E. White
- MLive: Resolution condemning Asian hate crimes passes Michigan legislature following Atlanta shootings (3/18) MDCR
- Michigan Advance: Michigan educators, civil rights leaders work to stop anti-Asian violence during pandemic (3/17) MCRC - Anupama Kosaraju
- The Detroit News: Michigan Gov. Whitmer, others react to Georgia slayings (3/17) MDCR - James E. White
- North Wind Online: Editorial-Racism against Asians and people of Asian descent: we must stop the hate (3/17) MCRC - Anupama Kosaraju
The department will continue to monitor this situation closely in the coming months.