By Mike Hellgren

ANNAPOLIS, Md. (WJZ) — Governor Larry Hogan announced new actions to stop the rise in anti-Asian hate crimes in Maryland. Hogan said one-third of Asian Americans have experienced discrimination since the start of the pandemic and noted hate crimes have more than doubled in the state since 2018.

“Words are not enough, which is why today we are turning those words into real action,” Hogan said during a news briefing Monday.

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He also credited his wife Yumi Hogan, Maryland’s first Asian American First Lady, with putting a spotlight on the issue.

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Here is information from the Department of Justice on hate crimes in Maryland. 

One of the most vicious attacks was in Baltimore last May when a man entered a West Baltimore liquor store and was caught on video using a cinder block to attack two Asian American women.

An online fundraiser raised more than $80,000 for the victims who had to be hospitalized.

According to the grand jury indictment, when the suspect was asked why he did this, he said, “They need to go back to their country.”

“In today’s day and age, cell phone videos capture things that decades ago we could not have seen. We have seen since the beginning of the pandemic very, very powerful video of victims—oftentimes elderly, in broad daylight— being attacked brutally and senselessly. That is part of the reality that we live in today,“ said former U.S. Attorney for Maryland Robert Hur.

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Hur chaired the Asian American Hate Crimes Workgroup, which also included the governor’s daughter, Jaymi Sterling, who is a prosecutor in Anne Arundel County.

“Asian Americans across this country are under attack,” Sterling said Monday. “…We want the victims of these crimes to know that we see you, we hear you, and we’re here and we’re standing with you.”

Here are the new actions announced Monday to combat anti-Asian hate and discrimination in Maryland:

Public Safety and Enforcement

  • Updating hate and bias training for law enforcement agencies to include reporting of hate and bias incidents and crimes.
  • Designating a Maryland State Police commander to act as liaison for hate crimes and racially biased incidents, and launching a partnership between the Maryland Coordination and Analysis Center (MCAC) and the Governor’s Office of Community Initiatives (GOCI) to share data.
  • Encouraging state and local law enforcement agencies to prioritize diversity in recruiting, and offering incentives for officers who are proficient in multiple languages.
  •  Providing $1 million in funding to provide devices with translation apps (i.e. Google Translate) for law enforcement and victims services organizations.
  • Calling on the U.S. Department of Justice to expedite guidance for the implementation of the COVID-19 Hate Crimes Act.

 

Community Resources

  •  Increasing Protecting Against Hate Crimes funding from $3 million to $5 million—a 67% increase—and directing the Governor’s Commission on Asian Pacific American Affairs to conduct aggressive outreach efforts regarding the availability of funding.
  •  Making 211 Maryland a resource for reporting hate and bias incidents and providing information about services and resources in Asian languages.
  •  Launching an online resource center, and publishing a guide for How To Report Hate Crimes & Incidents available in Asian languages.
  •  Developing alternative reporting channels, including community organizations, nonprofits, and faith centers.
    Educators and Students
  •  Directing the Maryland Center for School Safety to develop resources for educators, parents, and students on how to identify and report hate and bias incidents.
  •  Engaging with the Maryland State Department of Education on developing a Continuing Professional Development offering on Asian American history for teachers.
  •  Working with the University System of Maryland to explore scholarships and fellowships through the Merrill College of Journalism to encourage more Asian-American participation in journalism.
  •  Provide education resources online for educators and members of the public.
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