ANNAPOLIS, Md. (WDVM) — Anti-Asian hate crimes have been on the rise since 2019, and Gov. Larry Hogan (R-Md.) is trying to make good on his promise to do something about it.
His Asian-American Hate Crimes Workgroup has met a dozen times since May, coming up with recommendations on how the state can take action. Workgroup chairman and former U.S. Attorney Robert K. Hur says they were able to form their recommendations through looking at data and looking at real-world incidents of hate and bias.
“In today’s day and age, cell phone videos capture things that decades ago we could not have seen. We have seen since the beginning of the pandemic, very, very powerful video of victims, oftentimes elderly, in broad daylight, being attacked brutally and senselessly,” said Hur.
He says most instances of anti-Asian hate and bias happen in areas of Maryland with larger Asian populations, like Montgomery and Howard counties.
On Monday during a press conference, and later in a statement, Hogan announced these first few steps he’s planning to take:
Public Safety and Enforcement
- Updating hate and bias training for law enforcement agencies to include reporting of hate and bias incidents and crimes.
- Designating a Maryland State Police commander to act as liaison for hate crimes and racially biased incidents, and launching a partnership between the Maryland Coordination and Analysis Center (MCAC) and the Governor’s Office of Community Initiatives (GOCI) to share data.
- Encouraging state and local law enforcement agencies to prioritize diversity in recruiting, and offering incentives for officers who are proficient in multiple languages.
- Providing $1 million in funding to provide devices with translation apps (i.e. Google Translate) for law enforcement and victims services organizations.
- Calling on the U.S. Department of Justice to expedite guidance for the implementation of the COVID-19 Hate Crimes Act.
- Increasing Protecting Against Hate Crimes funding from $3 million to $5 million—a 67% increase—and directing the Governor’s Commission on Asian Pacific American Affairs to conduct aggressive outreach efforts regarding the availability of funding.
- Making 211 Maryland a resource for reporting hate and bias incidents and providing information about services and resources in Asian languages.
- Launching an online resource center, and publishing a guide for How To Report Hate Crimes & Incidents available in Asian languages.
- Developing alternative reporting channels, including community organizations, nonprofits, and faith centers.
Educators and Students
- Directing the Maryland Center for School Safety to develop resources for educators, parents, and students on how to identify and report hate and bias incidents.
- Engaging with the Maryland State Department of Education on developing a Continuing Professional Development offering on Asian American history for teachers.
- Working with the University System of Maryland to explore scholarships and fellowships through the Merrill College of Journalism to encourage more Asian-American participation in journalism.
- Provide education resources online for educators and members of the public.