Hogan Announces Initiatives to Combat Rising Anti-Asian Hate Crimes

Robert K. Hur, former U.S. attorney for Maryland, headed the Asian American Hate Crimes Workgroup appointed by Gov. Lawrence J. Hogan Jr. (R) to make recommendations for responding to rising anti-Asian hate crimes and bias incidents. Photo from the Executive Office of the Governor.

Gov. Lawrence J. Hogan Jr. (R) announced on Monday that he will update hate and bias training for law enforcement officers and increase community resources and outreach efforts for victims of hate crimes to combat the rise in violence and discrimination against Asian Americans during the COVID-19 pandemic. 

“I’m calling on other leaders across the country in both the public and private sectors and across the political spectrum to use their voices to speak out clearly and forcefully to condemn attacks against our Asian American community,” Hogan said in a press conference Monday morning.

The announcement comes several months after Hogan created a workgroup in April to address the surge of attacks against Asian Americans nationwide in the aftermath of shootings at three Atlanta-area spas in March — in which eight people, including six Asian women, were killed.

Hate crimes targeting Asian Americans in Maryland more than doubled since 2018 and rose by 150% across the nation in 2020, Hogan said. And around one-third of Asian Americans say that they have experienced some type of discrimination since COVID-19 pandemic. 

Hogan announced that he will direct law enforcement agencies to include reporting procedures in their hate and bias crimes training and have a designated state police commander to act as a liaison for hate crimes and racial bias incidents. The governor’s office will also work with the Maryland Coordination and Analysis Center to collect and share data on hate crime incidents, Hogan said. 

The state will increase funding on efforts to combat hate crimes from $3 million to $5 million, Hogan said. Marylanders can also now call 211 Maryland to report hate and bias incidents and find out about more resources in different languages. 

To educate Marylanders on Asian American communities and encourage more to report hate crimes to law enforcement, the state will work with the Maryland State Department of Education to create professional development classes on Asian American history, as well as work with state universities to encourage more Asian Americans to enter a career in journalism, Hogan said. 

“The actions that we’re announcing here today are the beginning; we will use every tool at our disposal to help provide additional protection to those who are impacted by these crimes,” Hogan said. 

The Asian American Hate Crimes Workgroup convened a dozen times since May to develop recommendations for the Hogan administration, said Robert K. Hur, former U.S. attorney for Maryland and chair of the workgroup. Hur credited the workgroup for being a “catalyst and a starting point” for Hogan’s actions. 

“Issues like this one require sustained effort and commitment to achieve real and lasting change,” Hur said. “I’m confident that the governor and his team will continue to build on the momentum that we see here today.” 

To get an accurate picture on the issue, Hur said he has looked at nationwide and state data on hate crime incidents, which illustrates that hate crimes against Asian American communities have significantly increased. In addition to data, there have been “powerful” cell phone video recordings of hate incidents against Asian Americans in the last year, Hur said. 

This workgroup was originally the idea of Hogan’s daughter, Jaymi Sterling, who is Asian-American, Hogan said. Hogan’s wife, Yumi Hogan, was born in South Korea, and Hogan has shared that his daughters have been targets of anti-Asian harassment since the start of the coronavirus pandemic. 

“We want the victims of these crimes to know: we see you, we hear you and we’re here and we’re standing with you,” said Sterling, an assistant state’s attorney for Anne Arundel County, who also served on the workgroup. 

[email protected]