AG Nessel, Legislators Call for Respect of Asian Americans

LANSING — Today, Sen. Stephanie Chang (D-Detroit) was joined by Attorney General Dana Nessel, Rep. Padma Kuppa (D-Troy) and Asian American groups across the state in calling for respectful dialogue toward Asian Americans and advising against behaviors that could qualify as hate crimes.

“The murder of Vincent Chin still haunts many Asian Americans nearly 40 years later,” Sen. Chang said. “A virus is a virus. It does not have an ethnicity. I will not stand by and watch my fellow Asian Americans be harassed or worry they could become the next Vincent Chin. That’s why I want our residents to know that we are listening, we stand with you, and we must all work together to combat the pandemic and hate at the same time.”

Asian Americans have been inappropriately blamed and targeted during the coronavirus pandemic, with increasing reports of insults and assaults nationwide.

“We should be fighting the pandemic, not each other. Any violence — through thought, word, or deed — targeting any particular group is unacceptable. Instead of fighting or disparaging our neighbors, we should step up to help each other. Fear, ignorance, and violence will not make this virus go away,” Rep. Kuppa said. “As an Asian American immigrant, I have been advocating for people to build relationships across cultural and ethnic differences for decades. Developing partnerships is important now more than ever.”

Attorney General Dana Nessel launched a Hate Crimes Unit a year ago, and recently issued a reminder that hatred, violence, and discrimination would not be tolerated.

“I established the Hate Crimes Unit in my office to prosecute those who target victims based on who they are,” Attorney General Nessel said. “Infectious viruses have no nationality. I’m disturbed by nationwide reports of violence against the Asian American community. I can assure you we won’t tolerate that in Michigan during this outbreak or anytime. My Hate Crimes Unit stands ready to accept complaints and prosecute individuals that choose to act divisively in this time where we should be standing together.”

If you are a victim of a hate crime or have credible information about a hate crime, please contact the Department of Attorney General at HateCrimes@michigan.gov or call 313-456-0200.

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Speakers on the press call this morning included:

Attorney General Dana Nessel
Sen. Stephanie Chang (D-Detroit)
Rep. Padma Kuppa (D-Troy)
Richard Mui, Asian and Pacific Islander Vote Michigan
Roland Hwang, Association of Chinese Americans

Other participating groups on the call were:

Michigan Asian Pacific American Affairs Commission
Chinese Association of Greater Detroit 
Eastern Michigan University — Healthy Asian Americans Project
Michigan Chinese American Coalition
Michigan Chinese Conservatives Alliance
National Association of Asian American Professionals
North American Chinese Coalition
Rising Voices of Asian American Families


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