WASHINGTON — Reps. Young Kim and Michelle Steel, both Orange County Republicans who are among the first Korean American women to serve in Congress, joined their colleagues on May 18 to pass out of the House the bipartisan, Senate-amended COVID-19 Hate Crimes Act (S.937).
Kim has been a strong voice for the AAPI community in Congress, testifying before the House Judiciary Committee in March and urging for bipartisan action to address hate crimes targeting the AAPI community in an op-ed for USA Today.
“While hate and bias targeting the Asian American Pacific Islander community is not new, there’s no question it has been on the rise during the COVID-19 pandemic, with nearly 4,000 hate crimes reported nationwide in the past year and many in particular targeting seniors,” said Kim.
“Hate targeting any American should not be tolerated. I’m proud to join my colleagues in to take a bipartisan stand against these hate crimes targeting many of my constituents and others across the nation. While this is a step in the right direction, there’s still more work to do as a country to come together as Americans. I’ll stand with my AAPI community always.”
“It is heartbreaking to read the news stories of these crimes, and my heart goes out to all those who have been victims of this violence,” said Steel. “I have experienced this type of discrimination and racism first-hand. I have been called racist slurs and been treated differently because I am Asian American. As a proud American, and someone who loves this country dearly, I take this rise in violence against our community very seriously.”
In February, Steel introduced a resolution with Rep. Katie Porter (D-Irvine) condemning hate crimes committed against the AAPI community. This resolution currently has 19 co-sponsors and is the only bipartisan legislation of its kind in the House.
“I am proud to be standing here today to condemn these violent acts and support my community,” said Steel. “While I disagree with my democratic colleagues on many things, this is one area where we can find common ground. That is what bipartisanship is – disagreeing with someone but finding issues where there is an opportunity to work together for the good of the country. I will continue to work on behalf of our AAPI community in Congress and condemn hate in all forms, because this is not a partisan issue.”
The Senate-amended COVID-19 Hate Crimes Act will help federal, state, local and tribal law enforcement agencies address reports of hate crimes and expands resources to report these crimes The bipartisan bill passed the Senate 94-1 and was signed into law by President Biden on May 20.
Kim represents the 39th Congressional District, which covers parts of Los Angeles, Orange and San Bernardino counties and includes Fullerton, La Habra, La Habra Heights, Brea, Buena Park, Anaheim Hills, Placentia, Yorba Linda, Diamond Bar, Chino Hills, Hacienda Heights and Rowland Heights.
Steel represents the 48th Congressional District, which is based in Orange County and includes Costa Mesa, Emerald Bay, Fountain Valley, Huntington Beach, Laguna Beach, Laguna Niguel, Newport Beach, Seal Beach, Surfside and parts of Garden Grove, Midway City, Aliso Viejo, Santa Ana and Westminster.