After some public figures unscrupulously referred to COVID as the "China virus," hate crimes against Asian Americans surged nationwide, including in our district. Many younger Asian Americans report the unfamiliarity of feeling unwelcome in their own country for the first time in their lives. Recently, an Asian employee at a Bay Area restaurant had to endure a racist tirade from a customer. Even the elderly have been victims of vicious hate crimes, a despicable development. California has a long history of intermittent xenophobia toward Asians, and this is the latest manifestation of blatant bigotry. I will support policies to crack down on this scourge and protect the Asian American and Pacific Islander community.
Meanwhile, a number of other minority communities continue to face bigotry. Shortly after a mass shooting at a mosque in New Zealand, a group of Muslim women wearing headscarves sat at a table outside a café in the Bay Area. An unknown person walked up to them and said, "You people deserve what happened to you." Elsewhere in the Bay, miscreants have vandalized Jewish community centers and scrawled anti-Jewish graffiti on restaurant buildings. A Catholic church in Fremont was vandalized with spray paint. Members of the LGBTQ+ community have reported bullying and discrimination. These incidents are unacceptable, and we must stand in solidarity against hate.
Barack Obama has made the following remarks about Black Lives Matter:
The notion was that somehow saying ‘Black Lives Matter’ was reverse racism or suggesting that other people’s lives don’t matter, or police officers’ lives didn’t matter, and whenever we get bogged down in that kind of discussion, we know where that goes. That’s just down the old track.
I think everybody understands that all lives matter.
Everybody wants strong, effective law enforcement. Everybody wants their kids to be safe when they’re walking to school. Nobody wants to see police officers who are doing their job fairly hurt. Everybody understands it’s a dangerous job.
I think the reason that the organizers used the phrase ‘Black Lives Matter’ was not because they are suggesting that nobody else’s lives matter. Rather, what they were suggesting was there is a specific problem that is happening in the African American community that is not happening in the other communities, and that is a legitimate issue that we have got to address.
Having said all that, we as a society, particularly given our history, have to take this seriously. The African American community is not just making this up. It’s real, and there’s a history behind it and we have to take it seriously.
I agree with Mr. Obama's remarks. The Central Park birdwatcher and other viral videos have revealed that all too often, some of our fellow Americans are treated as, in the words of Chris Rock, a "born suspect" due to the color of their skin. Mr. Obama has talked about being followed by an employee while shopping at a store, hearing car doors lock as he's walking down the street, and seeing women clutch their purses more tightly when entering an elevator.
We all have a role to play in bringing about the vision espoused by Martin Luther King Jr.: "I have a dream that one day...sons of former slaves and sons of former slave-owners will be able to sit down together at the table of brotherhood...I have a dream my four little children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin but by the content of their character."