New York Attorney General Letitia James announced the launch of a hate crimes hotline on Monday which would help discourage racism targeted at the Asian communities with the COVID-19 pandemic.
“No one should live in fear for their life because of who they are, what they look like, or where they come from,” James said.
Earlier this month, a 23-year-old Asian woman was punched in the chin by another woman while she said an anti-Asian slur. The victim was standing outside of a language school in Midtown, Manhattan when she was attacked and asked where her face mask was. The 23-year-old was then taken to the hospital with a possible dislocated jaw.
“I don’t know why she did that to me. I didn’t even do anything to her. I was just standing at the door, just trying to get into the building,” the Asian woman, remaining anonymous, told a WABC reporter.
The Asian woman was not the only victim reported this month. Some think that the government officials repeatedly blaming China for spreading the virus has led to these hateful acts and promoted the anti-Asian rhetoric.
President Donald Trump replaced COVID-19 with terms like “Chinese virus” and even “Kung flu” in his public announcements for weeks.
I always treated the Chinese Virus very seriously, and have done a very good job from the beginning, including my very early decision to close the “borders” from China – against the wishes of almost all. Many lives were saved. The Fake News new narrative is disgraceful & false!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) March 18, 2020
“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,” said U.S. Rep. Grace Meng, who joined Attorney General James on Monday’s announcement.
State Assembly Member Yuh-Line Niou, D-Lower Manhattan, another member who supports the hotline, stated several Asian people were attacked while they were riding the subway or wearing a face mask. She urged the victims who experienced this type of harassment to call the hotline.
“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,” Niou said.
According to the Attorney General’s office, the hotline will be able to connect the victims to the available community resources, help begin the civic investigation, and assist in other ways as well.
Attorney General’s Civil Rights Bureau Hotline: 1-800-771-7755.
Their email: firstname.lastname@example.org.