While the fight against the coronavirus is beginning to show hopeful signs, hate crimes are multiplying in Philadelphia just as a virus would, except that there is no vaccine for this social disease. Concerns about this dangerous trend prompted Philadelphia’s mayor and police commissioner to host a town hall to address the growing threat of anti-Asian violence since the start of the pandemic.
As reported by CBS Philly, on Thursday night, leaders within Philadelphia’s Asian-American community gathered for a virtual town hall to share recent experiences of violence and racism.
The mayor’s Commission on Asian American Affairs hosted the event which takes place during the Asian Pacific American Heritage Month. “As a city, we take these attacks very seriously,” Mayor Jim Kenney said. And he added that the city needs to diversify the police department. “We need more Asian-Americans in uniform, in our police department.”
Panelists discussed the changes needed in the short and long term, including legal measures, increased information tools and more personnel in the area.
You can read: Hundreds marched to City Hall to support Asian-Americans
The meeting was developed around the central idea that hate is not a victimless crime. It causes generational trauma and can only be solved by conversation and coming together. The urgency of the situation calls for immediate measures to curb it.
“We feel like we are second-class citizens here in America,” said John Chin with the Chinatown Development Corporation.
Let´s call it hate crime
Naroen Chhin with the 1 Love Movement emphasized the need to pinpoint the issue beyond political speculation. “Let’s take the politics out of this. Let’s call it what it is, that is a hate crime.”
Police Commissioner Danielle Outlaw underlined the need to increase police surveillance in key areas of the city. “In the short term, we enhanced our patrol in the Asian-American business corridors and residential areas throughout the city where we saw these upticks.”
If the town hall made one thing clear, it is that only the participation of diverse actors in a coherent line of action can reduce the threat of hate crimes.