ANNAPOLIS, Md. (WJZ) — Gov. Larry Hogan announced Friday he’s forming an Asian American Hate Crime Workgroup.

Former U.S. Attorney Robert Hur, who is Asian American, will act as chairman of the workgroup which aims to address the rise in anti-Asian discrimination and violence.

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“Words are not enough,” Gov. Hogan said. “Which is why I immediately directed Maryland State Police and all of our state law enforcement agencies to increase enhance visibility patrols and provide additional protection for [Asian American community] members. We issued awareness bulletins in an effort to ensure the safety of AAPI against further attacks. And we’ve been encouraging anyone who is a victim or as a witness of a hate crime to please come forward.”

“As an Asian American, I’m grateful to Governor Hogan and the First Lady for focusing attention on the important issues of bias and violence against members of Asian American communities in our nation, and I’m thankful for the opportunity to be part of the solution,” Hur said. “Conversations about subjects like race and racism can be extraordinarily awkward and difficult. But awkward and difficult and honest conversations are the only way to solve big and painful problems in our society.”

Hur said he’s also experiencing fear.

“I am now concerned for my parent’s safety and the safety of other members of my family,” he said.

The governor’s announcement about the workgroup comes after a year of a sharp increase in crimes
against Asian Americans.

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According to Stop AAPI Hate, nearly 3,800 incidents were reported in 11 months.

Gov. Hogan and First Lady Yumi Hogan, who is Korean American, met with worried business owners a few weeks ago.

The governor said his family can personally relate.

“Our youngest daughter, her best friend’s mother was attacked at a gas station and she was afraid to come to visit us with our grandchild,” Gov. Hogan said.

The governor has asked law enforcement to prosecute these crimes. He also wants the AAPI community to speak up.

“These things are going on in our country, and locally as well, and that accumulates to a point that we feel that we have to speak up,” Jean Xu, Founding President of the Chinese American Parent Association, said.

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Hur said he will listen to problems and hand over recommendations on what the governor can do to fix them.

Ava-joye Burnett