The Washington State China Relations Council’s charity arm, the Washington State China Relations Fund recently produced a two-part webinar series addressing the rise of Asian Hate crimes and violence in our community.
The first webinar, held on June 24th, featured leaders of the AAPI community who shared their concerns and insightful comments on the rise of crimes against Asians, particularly since the outbreak of Covid 19. The panel included Connie So, UW Professor, Sam Cho, Commissioner for the Port of Seattle, Helen Wong, the director of the Chinese Information and Cultural Center and Lori Matsukawa former King 5 anchor. The speakers emphasized the need for greater educational efforts to highlight the contributions of Asian Americans in the history of the U.S. They also praised the work of Asian American journalists who are presenting an Asian viewpoint in the mainstream media.
The second part of the series on July 8th focused upon government responses to the rise of Anti-Asian hate crimes. The interim Chief of Seattle Police, Adrian Diaz related that there was an almost doubling of reported hate crimes between 2019 and 2020 and noted that the department is increasingly focusing upon community outreach to address the issue. The FBI’s Supervisory Special Agent Ryan Bruett explained how the FBI becomes involved in hate crime cases. Prosecutors from the King County Prosecutor’s Office Yessenia Manzo and David Bannick provided how hate crimes are under-reported and as stand-alone crimes difficult to prosecute. Ye-Ting Woo, who recently left her post as a Federal Prosecutor in the region to become the Resident Legal Advisor at the U.S. Embassy in Colombo, Sri Lanka, spoke of federal grants that are available to local police forces to address hate crimes. The speakers also provided useful information on by-stander intervention and crime reporting.
The Council would like to thank all panelists for their availability to participate in the discussions and providing their candid opinions. We’d also like to extend the appreciation to Nelson Dong, a partner in the law firm of Dorsey & Whitney and a long-time engaged board member of the Council, for moderating both sessions.