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BREAKING: COVID-19 Hate Crimes Act Clears Senate With Overwhelming Bipartisan Support

National Black Justice Coalition Applauds passage of COVID-19 Hate Crimes Act in rare moment of bipartisan support

CONTACT: Anna Zuccaro |

WASHINGTON, DC — Moments ago, the United States Senate voted to pass the COVID-19 Hate Crimes Act with overwhelming bipartisan support. Co-authored by Democratic Sen. Mazie Hirono of Hawaii, the bill mandates expedited review of hate crimes committed based on stereotypes related to COVID-19, provides training about hate crimes for federal, state, and local law enforcement divisions, provides grants for states to establish hate crimes hotlines, restorative justice sentencing options for perpetrators, as well as incentives for law enforcement to report hate crimes throughout the nation.

In response to the bill’s passage in the Senate, Victoria Kirby York, deputy executive director of the National Black Justice Coalition (NBJC), issued the following statement:

“The COVID-19 Hate Crimes Act is absolutely critical for Asian, Asian American, Pacific Islander and people of color throughout the United States. 

“Given the massive uptick of anti-Asian hate crimes nationwide, among other disturbing instances of violence, this bill could not be passed soon enough. 

“We applaud the Senate for coming together in this rare moment of unity against hate and agreeing on critical issues, such as giving incentives for law enforcement agencies to report hate crimes. 

“We encourage the Senate to continue doing the important work of passing legislation that prevents discrimination and hate crimes against other stigmatized, minoritized communities, including Black people in all of our diversity. More specifically, the Equality Act, the BREATHE Act, and the George Floyd Justice in Policing Act.

“As the House of Representatives considers the COVID-19 Hate Crimes Act, we hope they will also consider the epidemic of hate motivated violence against transgender women of color, a gruesome pattern that has also drastically increased during the COVID-19 pandemic. 

“2020 shattered records of fatal hate crimes against transgender women of color. In 2021, that rate has doubled from this time last year. Unfortunately, these crimes are rarely solved, nor do they end in the convictions of those who commit them. Misgendering, dead naming, limited hate crime reporting, and a seeming indifference to investigate anti-trans hate crimes by law enforcement sends a message that the lives of our transgender sisters are disposable. This could not be further from the truth.

“We applaud the Senate’s passage of the COVID-19 Hate Crimes bill today, which includes the Jabara-Heyer NO HATE Act amendment, urge the House to do the same immediately, and will continue our fight to extend the same recognition and protection for transgender women of color.”

The National Black Justice Coalition (NBJC) is a civil rights organization dedicated to the empowerment of Black lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer and same gender loving (LGBTQ/SGL) people, including people living with HIV/AIDS.