Hate crimes against Asians jumped 107% in California in ‘an epidemic of hate’
In March and April 2020, as stay-at-home orders prompted by the coronavirus pandemic kicked in, anti-Asian hate crimes spiked, a new report says. Hate crimes against Black people constituted a majority of those reported last year and were up by 87%.
Hate crimes increased by 31% in California last year, with attacks against Asian Americans up by 107%, according to a report released Wednesday by the state attorney general’s office.
In March and April 2020, as stay-at-home orders prompted by the coronavirus pandemic kicked in, anti-Asian hate crimes spiked, the report said.
There were 89 anti-Asian hate crimes reported in California last year, compared with 43 in 2019.
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A hate crime is defined as a criminal act motivated at least in part by a characteristic such as race, gender or religion.
Hate crimes against Black people constituted a majority of those reported last year and were up by 87%.
Last year “wasn’t just about a deadly virus. It was about an epidemic of hate,” Rob Bonta, the state’s first Filipino American attorney general, said at a news conference Wednesday in Oakland Chinatown.
“All across the country we saw the news come in, and now with this latest data we have another piece of the puzzle to help fill in the gaps,” he said. “The facts here are clear: There was a surge in anti-Asian violence correlated with the words of leaders who sought to divide us when we were at our most vulnerable.”
Despite the huge increases last year, state Justice Department officials say that hate crimes are still likely underreported.
Carl Chan, president of the Chinatown Chamber of Commerce, called on the public to “please come forward.”
“Don’t be afraid. We have to be united,” he said.
This story originally appeared in Los Angeles Times.