Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan has outlined his plans to fight hate crimes and bias that target Asian Americans.
In an announcement with members of the Asian American Hate Crimes Workgroup, Hogan said there will be a multi-pronged effort that would include enhanced training for law enforcement, greater access to community resources and additional tools for educators.
In explaining what drove the effort, Hogan said that in Maryland, “hate crimes targeting Asian Americans have doubled since 2018,” while nationally, they rose by 150% in 2020.
“We’re going to update hate and bias training for law enforcement agencies,” Hogan said.
The governor also said the state would encourage police agencies to work on recruitment and to offer incentives to recruits who speak “multiple languages.”
Hogan said a Maryland State Police commander would work as a liaison between law enforcement and the Asian American community. In addition, the Maryland Coordination and Analysis Center will partner with the Governor’s Office of Community Initiatives to share data.
Funding for hate crime prevention would be increased from $3 million to $5 million.
“Because too many incidents continue to go unreported, and unpunished, we’re publishing a ‘how to report hate crimes and incidents’ document which will be available in Asian languages” and will be posted online, said Hogan.
He also said that hate and bias incidents could be reported to the state’s 2-1-1 phone number. An alternative reporting process is also being developed — one that would make use of networks of community centers, nonprofits and churches.
In addition, the state would call on the Maryland Center for School Safety to develop new resources for teachers, students and their families on how to report incidents.
There are other initiatives coming from the governor’s office, too.
“We’re tasking the Maryland State Department of Education with developing continuing professional course offerings” on Asian American history, Hogan said.
There are also plans to explore having the state’s higher education system consider potential fellowships and scholarships at the Philip Merrill College of Journalism at the University of Maryland to encourage Asian American students to pursue careers in that field.
Robert Hur, the former U.S. Attorney for Maryland who chairs the governor’s work group, said, “Attention to these issues is not enough. To make things better, to reduce ignorance and hate, we need concrete action,” and he said the measures announced Monday are just the first steps in Hogan’s commitment to dealing with the issue. “I emphasize ‘initial’ actions because issues like this one require sustained effort and commitment to achieve real and lasting change.”
Hogan thanked his wife, Maryland first lady Yumi Hogan, and his daughter, Jaymi Sterling, for drawing attention to the issue.
“It was actually Jaymi’s idea to create this work group to address the alarming rise of racist rhetoric, vitriol and harassment against Asian Americans.”
Sterling is a member of the Asian American Hate Crimes Workgroup. She’s also an assistant state’s attorney in Anne Arundel County. Sterling said Asian Americans across the country “are under attack.”
She added, “We want the victims of these crimes to know, we see you. We hear you. And we’re here and we’re standing with you.”