BOSTON — Local law enforcement and community leaders are hosting a virtual forum this month on anti-Asian racism fueled by the coronavirus pandemic.
Norfolk County District Attorney Michael Morrissey, State Rep. Tackey Chan and police chiefs in Quincy, Wellesley, Brookline, Needham and Dover will participate in a discussion via Zoom planned for March 23, to address a rise in anti-Asian racism and hate crimes. They are inviting residents of Asian descent to join the conversation.
A news release Friday cited a study from California State University at San Bernardino showing a nationwide increase in anti-Asian American incidents by about 150 percent since the beginning of the coronavirus pandemic and 133 percent in Boston.
Advocates say the harassment and violence are a result of rhetoric blaming Asians for the pandemic.
“Some in the Asian-American community are nervous. They hear the hateful misinformation and rhetoric that has circulated nationally related to COVID,” Morrissey said in a statement. “With more schools moving toward the return of full-time, in-person classes, there are parents nervous for their kids.”
Forum leaders will listen to concerns from residents, answer questions and explain how law enforcement is addressing the incidents.
Pres. Joe Biden Thursday called for an end to “vicious hate crimes against Asian Americans who have been harassed, blamed and scapegoated.”
“It’s wrong, it’s un-American and it must stop,” Mr. Biden said.
In Quincy, where about a quarter of the population is Asian, many are concerned about the violent climate.
Last month, two Asian residents were violently robbed in North Quincy. One of the victims, a 69-year-old man, suffered serious injuries requiring hospitalization.
Police believe the attacks were random and are not investigating them as hate crimes. But the incident has only instilled more concern in some residents.
“Our central objective here is to listen, to learn, and to reassure the Asian American community that we recognize what is happening and we want to help,” Morrissey said.
Organizers urge interested residents to obtain a Zoom link for the discussion or submit a question in any language by emailing Quincy Asian Resources’ CEO Philip Chong at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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