Michigan legislators on Thursday approved resolutions decrying hate speech and attacks aimed at Asian Americans. The symbolic measures were introduced by Sen. Stephanie Chang of Detroit and Rep. Ranjeev Puri of Canton.
The Lansing actions come two days after eight people, including six Asian women, died in shootings at three massage parlors in Atlanta and suburban Acworth, Ga. A 21-year-old suspect is charged with the murders.
"Senseless acts of violence, discrimination and harassment are driven by hate and white supremacy," tweets Chang, born in Detroit to Taiwanese emigrants who came here for auto industry jobs. She's the legislature's first Asian American woman.
On the House floor, Puri said Thursday: "Asian Americans are on edge. They are fearful. And these incidents are happening right here in our own communities."
The first-term western Wayne representative, who is the Wisconsin-born son of Sikh immigrants from India, describes himself as "a proud product of the American Dream."
Each resolution adopted in the Capitol says: "Culturally insensitive rhetoric regarding Covid-19 has contributed to a spike in discrimination and hate crimes toward Asian Americans. ... Acts of hate and discrimination are antithetical to our values as Michiganders and Americans. ... All Michiganders can play a role in establishing a safe and welcoming community by intervening and reporting instances of hate and discrimination."
President Joe Biden last week also condemned violence that Asian Americans have endured throughout the pandemic. "So many of them, our fellow Americans, are on the front lines of this pandemic trying to save lives and still — still are forced to live in fear for their lives just walking down streets in America," he said in his first prime-time address as president. "It's wrong, it's un-American, and it must stop."
Two months ago in Michigan, Chang responded sharply when state Senate Majority Leader Mike Shirkey described his battle with Covid as the "Chinese flu." The Detroiter reubked the Republican from Southwest Michigan for words that are "xenophobic and completely inappropriate," adding: "The World Health Organization stopped calling viruses by ethnicities or countries for a reason: It causes harm."
Now she tweets:
All Michiganders can play a role in ending this anti-Asian hate — by intervening when safe to do so, speaking out, educating yourselves about the history of anti-Asian racism, & promoting respect & understanding. #StopAsianHate #StopAAPIHate 4/4— Stephanie Chang (@stephanielily) March 18, 2021