In the wake of increasing attacks on Asian Americans nationwide, Robert K. Hur, former top federal prosecutor for Maryland, will chair a statewide workgroup on hate crimes against Asian Americans, Gov. Lawrence J. Hogan (R) announced on Friday.
The workgroup would be tasked to offer recommendations to mitigate bias incidents against Asians and to support victims and witnesses, Hogan said.
Hate crimes against Asian Americans in Maryland have doubled since 2018, Hogan said. Nationwide, they increased by 149% between 2019 and 2020, according to the Center for the Study of Hate and Extremism at California State University.
“Rob Hur is a strong advocate for justice and for the Asian American community,” Hogan said alongside Yumi Hogan, Maryland’s first lady. “I want to thank him for all his many years of service to the State of Maryland and to the nation, and we very much appreciate his willingness to share his significant expertise, knowledge, and leadership by spearheading this important effort.”
Hur, who spent the last three years as the U.S. attorney for the District of Maryland, said that he is still in the process of determining the timeline and who will be on the workgroup, but plans to gather as many perspectives as possible.
“Conversations about subjects like race and racism can be extraordinarily awkward and difficult,” Hur said. “But awkward and difficult and honest conversations are the only way to solve big and painful problems in our society.” He mentioned that he worried for the safety of his parents, which “is a fear that no one should have to have.”
Hur is now practicing law in the private sector in Washington, D.C.
Hogan’s wife, Yumi Hogan, was born in South Korea. The governor shared that his youngest daughter was afraid to visit family because her friend’s mother was attacked at a gas station. His other daughter’s friend experienced racial slurs while getting on a plane at Baltimore/Washington International airport, Hogan continued.
Yumi Hogan implored other Asian Americans to not stay silent over the racism they experience in an opinion piece for CNN last week.
“These are conversations that not everyone was aware of,” Hogan said. He acknowledged that most first-generation immigrants are discouraged from reporting acts of discrimination, but younger people are beginning to have the courage to speak up.
Two weeks ago, Hogan directed the Maryland State Police and other law enforcement agencies to increase patrols to protect Asian communities and businesses. “Words are not enough,” Hogan said.