Gov. Hogan announces initiatives to combat hate crimes against Asian Americans, Pacific Islanders
MARYLAND – After seven months, Maryland’s Asian American Hate Crimes Work Group has come up with suggestions on how to better protect the state’s Asian American and Pacific Islander community. Now, Maryland Governor Larry Hogan is putting those ideas to work. “
To make things better, to reduce ignorance and hate, we need concrete action informed by careful thought, analysis, and consideration of different perspectives,” said Work Group Chairman Robert Hur.
The new initiatives are far-reaching and cover many areas, including policing. Hate and bias training for law enforcement agencies will be updated to include how hate bias incidents and crimes are reported. A Maryland State Police commander will be designated to act as a liaison for hate crimes and racially biased incidents. A new partnership is also being established between the Maryland Coordination and Analysis Center and the Governor’s Office of Community Initiatives.
Governor Hogan is also encouraging state and local law enforcement agencies to prioritize diversity in recruiting. Incentives for officers who are proficient in multiple languages will also be offered. About $1 million in funding will also be made available to provide translation devices to law enforcement agencies and victims services organizations.
The initiatives don’t stop at law enforcement. Funding to prevent hate crimes is being increased from $3 million to $5 million. The Governor’s Commission on Asian Pacific American Affairs is also being pushed by the governor to start outreach efforts for the availability of further funding. 211 Maryland is also becoming a resource for reporting hate and bias incidents, while providing information about services in Asian languages. An online resource center and guide in Asian languages are also being launched for how to report hate crimes and incidents. The state will also start developing alternative reporting channels, like community organizations, non-profits, and faith centers.
When it comes to education, the Maryland Center for School Safety is now directed to develop anti-hate crime and bias incident resources for parents, educators, and students. The Maryland State Department of Education is also tasked with creating professional development courses for educators on Asian American history. The University System of Maryland could also explore offering scholarships and fellowships for Asian American students interested in journalism.
Governor Hogan says with the COVID-19 pandemic came a spike of hate crimes and bias incidents against Asian Americans in Maryland. He says those incidents have doubled since the pandemic began. “Our Asian American community is facing challenges worse than they have seen in decades. The actions that we’re announcing here today are the beginning. We will use every tool at our disposal to help provide additional protection for those that are impacted by these crimes,” said Governor Hogan.