Chairman Cohen Presides at Hearing on Discrimination and Violence Against Asian Americans

March 18, 2021
Press Release
Says “Congress sees you, we stand with you, and we will do everything in our power to protect you”

WASHINGTON – Congressman Steve Cohen (TN-09), Chairman of the Judiciary Subcommittee on the Constitution, Civil Rights, and Civil Liberties, today presided at a hearing on “Discrimination and Violence Against Asian Americans,” less than two days after the killing of six Asian American women in the Atlanta suburbs.

The hearing focused on both historic systemic racism and the alarming increase in anti-Asian racist rhetoric and violence related to the coronavirus pandemic.

In his opening statement, Chairman Cohen said:

“While there are still many details to learn about Tuesday’s horrific shootings in Atlanta that left eight people dead, six of them reportedly of Asian descent, one thing is certain.  For many Asian Americans, Tuesday’s shocking events felt like the inevitable culmination of a year in which there were nearly 3,800 reported incidents of anti-Asian hate—incidents that grew increasingly more violent over time as the COVID-19 pandemic worsened and some people wrongly blamed Asian Americans.  These incidents include cases of verbal harassment and being spat at, slapped in the face, lit on fire, slashed with a box cutter, or shoved violently to the ground.  And, that number of reported incidents is likely just the tip of the iceberg.

“I want to make clear to all Asian Americans—who are understandably feeling hurt and afraid right now and wondering whether anyone else in America cares—that Congress sees you, we stand with you, and we will do everything in our power to protect you.”

See Chairman Cohen’s entire opening statement here. See his questioning of expert witnesses here.

The witnesses at today’s hearing were:

  • The Honorable Doris Matsui, Member of Congress;
  • The Honorable Judy Chu, Member of Congress;
  • The Honorable Tammy Duckworth, United States Senator;
  • The Honorable Young Kim, Member of Congress;
  • The Honorable Michelle Steel, Member of Congress;
  • The Honorable Grace Meng, Member of Congress;
  • John C. Yang, Esq., President and Executive Director, Asian American Advancing Justice – AAJC;
  • Manjusha P. Kulkarni, Esq., Executive Director, Stop AAPI Hate, Asian Pacific Policy and Planning Council;
  • Erika Lee, Ph.D., Regents Professor of History and Asian American Studies, Director, Immigration History Research Center, University of Minnesota;
  • Charles Lehman, Fellow, Manhattan Institute, Contributing Editor, City Journal;
  • Wencong Fa, Esq., Pacific Legal Foundation;
  • Daniel Dae Kim, Actor and Producer;
  • Shirin Sinnar, Esq., Professor of Law and John A. Wilson Faculty Scholar, Stanford Law School;
  • Hiroshi Motomura, Esq., Susan Westerberg Prager Distinguished Professor of Law, Faculty Co-Director, Center for Immigration Law and Policy, UCLA School of Law.