Seattle leaders look to put $1.5 million toward fight against anti-Asian hate crimes
Seattle Mayor Jenny Durkan, along with City Council President Lorena Gonzalez and Councilmember Teresa Mosqueda, are pushing for the City of Seattle to devote $1.5 million toward stopping anti-Asian hate crimes.
The funding would go to community centers, mental health support, Asian-American-owned small businesses, youth-led anti-racism projects, and safety training.
“We must stand together in Seattle, and across our nation, against acts of hate, racism, xenophobia, and violence targeted at the Asian American Community,” Mayor Jenny Durkan said in a written release. “Solutions best come from community, and leaders outlined additional steps that we can take to best support the safety, community, and mental health needs of those in our community and impacted by acts of hate and bias.
The Seattle area has seen its share of the anti-Asian hate crimes sweeping the nation. In just the last three months, the King County Prosecutor’s Office has filed three anti-Asian hate crime cases. Overall reported hate crimes have also been on the rise, jumping from 30 in 2018 to 59 in 2020.
Nationwide, anti-Asian hate crimes increased by almost 150% last year, centered largely in cities like New York and Los Angeles.
Local leaders have laid the blame at the feet of Donald Trump, who, throughout the final year of his presidency, frequently referred to COVID-19 as the “China virus.”
“We are affected by what we say — that has an impact,” Gov. Jay Inslee said during a recent press conference. “And, unfortunately, some people allowed the President of the United States to fan the flames of hatred against Asian-Americans and Pacific Islanders for years, and people did not stand up against it.”
Meanwhile, King County officials are looking to join to battle against hate crimes as well. On Monday, Republican County Councilmember Reagan Dunn proposed the creation of a unit within the sheriff’s office that would be fully devoted to handling and investigating hate crimes. King County Executive Dow Constantine also recently announced that he will be putting $5 million in federal funds from the American Rescue plan toward “community-based organizations to increase funding for anti-hate bias response.”
The KIRO Radio Newsdesk contributed to this report.