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Asian-American reacts to Pres. Biden signing hate crime bill

Updated: May. 21, 2021 at 10:14 PM CDT
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JONESBORO, Ark. (KAIT) - President Joe Biden signed into law the COVID-19 Hate Crimes Act. Susie Reece, an advocate for Asian equality, says she experiences discrimination that leaves her feeling uncomfortable and unsafe. She says this law is a step in the right direction.

“Well, actually, just a few days ago, I went out to eat, and I overheard a couple talking, and a man mentioned the ‘Kung-flu’,” said Reece. “That language says something very distinctive about Asians, and me being Asian, it just makes you very aware that you don’t look safe in some ways.”

The law aims to stop discrimination against Asian communities and quicken the process to review and report pandemic-related hate crimes.

“I feel that safety and security is definitely something that those in the Asian community have not felt for over a year now,” said Reece.

Reece references the March shootings in Atlanta and says a hate crime can happen anywhere, anytime. Even in a small town in Arkansas. That’s why she says it’s important to have legislation supporting ethnic groups.

“Awareness. I think that is really important. To ensure that those who might be victimized or targeted feel like they have an outlet or some type of security system that can ensure that they are represented,” said Reece.

While Reece says this law is a huge step forward, she says it goes even deeper than that.

“I really do believe that it has to happen on an individual level. Until we’re aware of how our words impact others, it means that we need to learn more,” said Reece. “We need to be exposed to other cultures and other people because to one person, saying something like that may have no meaning, but to another person, it’s very deeply tied to who they are as a human being.”

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