The date coincides with the birthday of Vincent Chin, whose brutal murder in 1982 sparked national outrage and led to the pan-ethnic AAPI movement that exists today. Following are statements from members of the Congressional Asian Pacific American Caucus:
Rep. Judy Chu (D-Pasadena), CAPAC chair: “On this inaugural AAPI Day Against Bullying and Hate, I join my colleagues in the Congressional Asian Pacific American Caucus to denounce xenophobia and hate in our country. Nearly four decades ago, Vincent Chin was brutally murdered by two auto workers who mistakenly believed he was Japanese and blamed him for the loss of American manufacturing jobs. His death, and the subsequent denial of justice for his family, brought together a diverse coalition that forged the pan-ethnic AAPI movement we have today. Decades later, his story reminds us of the continued need to speak out against hate and injustice whenever they occur.
“Unfortunately, there has been an alarming rise in bullying, discrimination, and violence targeting the AAPI community over the past few years. For instance, half of Asian American students, two-thirds of Sikh American students, and half of Muslim American students report being bullied because of their identity. There has also been a surge in hate violence impacting the South Asian, Muslim, and Sikh communities that have led many to feel unsafe in their own schools, neighborhoods, and houses of worship.
“So as we commemorate the first AAPI Day Against Bullying and Hate, let us recommit ourselves to denouncing hate and working together to build a more inclusive society.”
Rep. Grace Meng (D-N.Y.), CAPAC first vice chair: “Today, we honor the memory of Vincent Chin — who was brutally murdered in a horrific hate crime in 1982 — by designating this day as AAPI Day Against Bullying and Hate. The scourge of bullying, discrimination, harassment, and hate crimes is extremely destructive and undermines the social fabric that ties this great nation together. Every day across our country, kids of all ages suffer from being bullied in schools, playgrounds, and online.
“In the Asian American and Pacific Islander community, bullying is often exacerbated by cultural, religious, and linguistic barriers that can keep these youth from seeking and receiving help. We must speak out whenever and wherever we see anti-immigrant rhetoric and xenophobic behavior taking place.
“I hope May 18 will become a rallying cry for our nation to stand up to bullying, and that we recommit ourselves to doing all we can to combat this unacceptable behavior.”
Rep. Ro Khanna (D-Santa Clara): “No child should face ridicule for their heritage. Whether it’s how and what we speak, or what we wear and how we wear it, AAPI culture should always be seen as a source of pride. Today we remember the heartbreaking tragedy of Vincent Chin and I encourage all Americans to take a moment and reflect on how we can each foster a more tolerant culture for our children of all backgrounds.”