Rhetoric is a powerful thing. In light of COVID-19's origins, many parties across the United States and the world began to accuse people from Asian countries as well as Asian Americans of purposefully spreading the virus. Phrases like “the China Virus” or “Chinese virus” began to circulate in right-wing circles, stirring up anti-Asian sentiments.
Nowadays, a few notable figures have acted on those sentiments. A mass shooting in Atlanta, Georgia, this March saw eight individuals murdered, six of whom were Asian-American women.
The rise in violent acts against Asian-Americans, partnered with frequent acts of violence against other marginalized communities, has encouraged many political representatives to call for action. In response, representatives in Pennsylvania want to enact hate crime legislation designed to discourage and punish parties that would seek to enact violence with racial or otherwise bigoted intentions.
Racial Violence in Atlanta, Georgia
The murders in Atlanta, Georgia, are far from the first of their kind. They are, however, among the most recent to stir concerns and fears among the Asian-American community. The suspect that police took into custody claimed that he was eliminating the “temptation” posed by his victims, citing a “sexual addiction” to Asian-American women as the force behind his attacks.
While representatives throughout Georgia have been reluctant to label this behavior, the suspect's desire to purge his community objectifies and dehumanizes nearly 19 million people living in the United States.
The Fight in Pennsylvania
Representatives in Pennsylvania are looking to curb these kinds of traumatic events within the state. At this point in time, parties like Representative Dan Frankel (D-Allegheny) are interested in passing five different anti-hate crime bills. These include bills meant to:
- Protect the LGBT community
- Protect parties with disabilities
- Create programs designed to teach students, academic faculty, and police officers about hate crimes
- Implement penalties against those parties accused and convicted of hate crimes that more accurately reflect the severity of their actions
Whether or not these bills may pass in the state remains to be seen. The consequences for parties accused of engaging in hate crimes, however, may soon vary from community service and diversity training to fines and jail time.
Contesting Hate Crime Law Violations
The FBI identifies hate crimes as “criminal offense[s] against a person or property motivated in whole or in part by an offender's bias against a race, religion, disability, sexual orientation, ethnicity, gender, or gender identity.” That said, there are few nationwide bills designed to respond to hate crimes when they come to light. At the moment, each state is meant to address hate crimes according to its own legislation, with applicable legislation changing if a case makes its way to the Supreme Court.
With that in mind, hate crime accusations can leave many people unsure of how to proceed in court. That's where the Lento Law Firm comes into play. Parties looking for representation can schedule a consultation with attorney Joseph D. Lento and the Lento Law Firm and discuss what means may help them get their lives back on track.
To contact the Lento Law Firm, reach out via 888-535-3686 or by filling out the firm's online form.