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Ohio Senators Call For AAPI Commission With Hate Incidents On The Rise

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JOLENE ALMENDAREZ / WVXU
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Stop Asian Hate rally at the Freedom Center in March 2021

Instances of harassment and assault against Asian Americans are up in 2021 and yet cases may be going underreported. The group Stop AAPI Hate has received more than 9,000 incident reports from March 19, 2020 to June 30, 2021, including cases of verbal harassment, assault and civil rights violations. Now a pair of Ohio legislators have a bill they hope can address the problem.

Sen. Tina Maharath (D-Canal Winchester) and Sen. Niraj Antani (R-Miamisburg) have introduced SB87 into the Ohio Senate to create a state commission and state office for Asian American and Pacific Islander affairs. Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders are the only ethnic group in Ohio without a state-level commission. Maharath says a commission would give Asian Americans the opportunity to speak out about hate crimes.

Ohio Chinese American Association Chair Vincent Wang is working on an effort to launch a statewide anti-Asian hate incident reporting tool on his organization's website. With data on incidents he hopes this will encourage the state legislature to establish the AAPI commission.

Joining Cincinnati Edition to discuss the effort to establish a statewide AAPI commission are Ohio State Senator Niraj Antani; and Ohio Chinese American Association Chair Vincent Wang.