Hawaii Gov. David Ige
Hawaii Gov. David Ige was among the 26 governors recently signing a letter condemning AAPI racism and violence. (Audrey McAvoy/AP/Shutterstock)

26 Governors Sign Letter Condemning Anti-Asian Hate and Violence

The governors of 25 states and one U.S. territory have come together in a bipartisan measure to sign a letter condemning the ongoing spike in anti-Asian hate and violence ravaging America. The letter from the elected officials was released on Friday, March 26, to coincide with the Stop AAPI Hate Virtual National Day of Action.

In the letter, the officials write:

“As governors, we take care in protecting the people of our states and territories. The tragic loss of loved ones in Atlanta that left eight people dead, including six Asian Americans, is part of a long and painful litany of acts of hate against Asian Americans across the country.

“Today, and every day, we stand in solidarity, in support and in shared resolve with the Asian American community. Hate will not divide our states, territories and communities. We condemn all expressions of racism, xenophobia, scapegoating and anti-Asian sentiment.

“From the Chinese Exclusion Act to the incarceration of Japanese Americans in World War II to the mistreatment of Muslims and Sikhs after 9/11, this year is part of a history of racism against the Asian American community.

“In the past year, the use of anti-Asian rhetoric during the pandemic has resulted in Asian Americans being harassed, assaulted, and scapegoated for the COVID-19 pandemic. The Center for the Study of Hate and Extremism at California State University in San Bernardino released findings in early March that showed hate crimes against Asian-Americans spiked 149% from 2019 to 2020, even while hate crimes fell overall.

“What is happening to Asian Americans is simply un-American. We condemn racism, violence, and hatred against our AAPI communities, and we must do more to protect, lift up and support the Asian American community.”

All 23 Democrat state governors signed the letter, which included: Gavin Newsom of California; Jared Polis of Colorado; Ned Lamont of Connecticut; John Carney of Delaware; Gretchen Whitmer of Michigan; Timothy Walz of Minnesota; Steve Sisolak of Nevada; Phil Murphy of New Jersey; Michelle Lujan Grisham of New Mexico; David Ige of Hawaii; J.B. Pritzker of Illinois; Laura Kelly of Kansas; Andy Beshear of Kentucky; John Bel Edwards of Louisiana; Andrew Cuomo of New York; Roy Cooper of North Carolina; Kate Brown of Oregon; Tom Wolf of Pennsylvania; Daniel McKee of Rhode Island; Janet Mills of Maine; Ralph Northam of Virginia; Jay Inslee of Washington; and Tony Evers of Wisconsin.

The remaining three signees were Gov. Lourdes Leon Guerrero of the territory of Guam and two Republicans: Gov. Charlie Baker of Massachusetts and Gov. Larry Hogan of Maryland.

Deepa Shivaram of NBC News reported that “according to Stop AAPI Hate, nearly 3,800 hate incidents against Asians and Asian Americans have been recorded in the past year of the pandemic. A majority of those reported attacks were targeting women.”

Reporting on the letter, Jordan Williams of The Hill wrote that “many have explicitly blamed former President Trump’s [racist] rhetoric around the coronavirus for the rise [in these hate crimes].”

“While the governors’ letter doesn’t name Trump directly, it says that the ‘use of anti-Asian rhetoric’ during the pandemic has fueled hatred against the community,” Williams said.

Another question the letter and the reporting on it poses: while 25 of the nation’s state governors are willing to do something as simple and just as taking a stand against hate, how and why are the other 25 Republican governors refusing to do so? And what does their refusal to sign a common-sense pledge of support indicate about where the beliefs and allegiances of these leaders (including governors of highly populated and diverse regions like Florida, Georgia and Texas) actually lie? 

Related: For more recent diversity and inclusion news, click here.


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