Op-Ed by Karen Downer: What The Hate Crime Against Asian Americans in Atlanta Should Tell Us in Bucks County | Newtown News of Interest | Scoop.it

The news from Atlanta was shocking, although it shouldn't have been. Hate crimes against Asian Americans have been rising ever since some leaders decided to call COVID-19 a "Chinese virus" - or worse. Between 2019 and 2020, anti- Asian hate crimes reported to police rose by 149%, according to the Center for the Study of Hate and Extremism.


Many incidents don't end in violence so they don't get reported at all. It's reported that 31% of Asian adults in the U.S. say they've faced ethnic slurs or jokes since the beginning of the COVID- 19 pandemic, according to a Pew Research Center survey from July of 2020.


So, what can we in Bucks County do to ensure we're a united community where everyone feels safe and valued? How can we make sure our county thrives not despite but because of our diversity?


First, there's been a lot of discussion lately about what Bucks County schools should teach about diversity, particularly racial and ethnic diversity. Students of color feeling like they are always "othered," dealing with hate-based social media attacks and rarely seeing themselves in the curricula.


Second, we must ensure that everyone in Bucks County feels safe and protected by law enforcement. Equal protection of the law is a bedrock value of American democracy and is essential to thriving as a diverse county.


With sheriff, district attorney and judgeship elections right around the corner, ask the candidates what they will do to ensure equal protection. How will they ensure equal treatment in arrests and bail? Will they advance innovative ways to deal with mental health crises? What is their perspective on use of force, and how can we ensure it is a last resort everywhere in Bucks County?