It’s nice to see Governor Hutchinson call out hatred toward Asian-Americans (and, I trust, all Asians, including non-citizens). It would have been nice had he spoken months ago, when the former president was trashing China and Chinese at every opportunity. He stirred enmity that may have contributed to the mass murder in Georgia.

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You have to credit Hutchinson (and his son) for a willingness to do business with China and continuing to bonus China traveler Mike Preston, the state economic development leader, despite some cratered Chinese business deals and Sen. Trent Garner’s effort to shut the state’s China business development office (an idea with plenty of state legislative support.)

It wasn’t only the former president who referred incessantly to the China virus.

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Sen. Tom Cotton has called it the China virus and Wuhan virus and even suggested it was engineered as a weapon by China. Other Arkansans in Congress beat up on China regularly. U.S. Rep. French Hill demonized China in campaign ads last year.

You won’t find a record of Reps. Steve Womack or Bruce Westerman talking warmly about China.

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Rep. Rick Crawford?

Still. Better late than never. Now if Hutchinson could put in a kind word for LGBT people and their hateful targeting by the Arkansas legislature before something awful happens. Caving on his hate crimes bill by excluding them would not be a good luck for a governor who claims to value diversity, fairness and tolerance.

Also, a statement from the Asian American Pacific Islander Democratic Caucus of Arkansas:

We are sickened and appalled by the Atlanta spa shootings that resulted in the deaths of eight innocent people including six Asian American women who were clearly targeted due to their race and gender. We stand with the families of the victims as they mourn their loss from this senseless hate crime.

The tragedies in Atlanta are shocking, but sadly not unexpected by the AAPI community. Asian Americans have endured centuries of racism, discrimination, dehumanization, stereotypes, and white supremacy. Law enforcement trivialized the actions of the killer as someone having a “bad day.” This was a hate crime, plain and simple — the latest in a string of hate crimes committed against Asian American Pacific Islanders based on a longstanding history of racism.

This history of racism has been continued through hate speech and anti-Asian rhetoric from former President Trump, U.S. Senator Tom Cotton, and other GOP politicians.  Since last March, they repeatedly referred to COVID-19 as the “China Virus,” “Wuhan Flu,” and the “Kung Flu.” Due to this careless and insensitive terminology, anti-Asian hate crimes in the United States increased by 150% last year. From March 2020 to February 2021, 3,800 incidents of Anti-Asian hate crimes have been reported, with over 500 incidents in 2021 alone. And 64% of these incidents were committed against Asian women.

This case of domestic terrorism in Atlanta proves that words have power, and when used irresponsibly, they can cause pain and tragedy. This is not who we are. Racism, sexism, and hate of any kind have no place in our country. For over a year, our world has been collectively fighting a global pandemic, while witnessing the murders of Americans by trusted authority figures, and attacks and killings of citizens based solely upon their heritage. These crimes are racist and inhuman, and must be condemned by all. We hereby call upon our leaders and elected officials to take action and make policy changes that will keep our AAPI communities safe AND hold accountable those who would commit crimes against anyone based on their race, ethnicity, or national origin.

It’s up to us to look out for one another. If you witness discrimination or a hate crime against Asian Americans or any other group, please speak up and say something. Call your local authorities and make a report at www.standagainsthatred.org/