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Maryland panel issues recommendations to reduce hate crimes against Asian Americans

“Asian Americans across this country are under attack physically and emotionally,” says Jaymi Sterling, Gov. Larry Hogan’s daughter, who is also of Korean descent. An assistant state’s attorney in Anne Arundel County, she was a member of the work group. (The Daily Record/Bryan P. Sears)

ANNAPOLIS — Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan on Monday said he would increase funding for grants and anti-hate crime efforts. 

The announcement is part of 13 recommendations made by a work group focused on reducing the number of hate crimes against Asian Americans. 

“Issues like this require sustained effort and commitment to achieve real and lasting change,” said Robert Hur, a former U.S. Attorney in Maryland and Asian American who led the work group. 

Last year, hate crimes in America’s largest cities declined overall by 7%. At the same time, crimes targeting Asians rose nearly 150%. In Maryland, hate crimes targeting Asian Americans have more than doubled since 2018, according to the governor’s office. 

Much of this rise in violence has followed the pandemic and former President Donald Trump, who used racial terms to describe COVID-19. 

“Our Asian American community is facing challenges worse than they’ve seen in decades,” said Hogan. 

Hogan Monday announced the implementation of 13 recommendations from the panel of community leaders. Those recommendations fall into three areas, including law enforcement, community resources and education. 

Included in that announcement are: 

  • $5 million for anti-hate crime funding — an increase from $3 million — and aggressive outreach to Asian American communities. 
  • $1 million in funding for translation devices for police officers victim’s services workers. 
  • Updated bias and hate crime training for police officers as well as a Maryland State Police commander to act as liaison to communities on hate crimes. 
  • Creation of alternative methods to report hate crimes including community centers, churches, online and the state’s 211 call center. 
  • Development of resources for educators, parents, and students on how to identify and report hate and bias incidents. 
  • Planned scholarships and fellowships through the University of Maryland Merrill College of Journalism to encourage more Asian-American to become journalists. 

“The work ahead is not just for government and elected leaders. Government has an important role, of course,” said Hur. “But it’s on all of us to educate, inspire, discuss and progress.” 

Hogan created the work group this spring saying at the time that the issue “hits close to home for me and my family.” 

Hogan’s wife, Yumi, is a Korean immigrant and the first Asian American first lady of a U.S. governor. 

“Asian Americans across this country are under attack physically and emotionally,” said Jaymi Sterling, Hogan’s daughter who is also of Korean descent. “The women and men who have the courage to come forward and share their stories deserve to be heard. Just talking about these challenges and bringing them out into the open is so important. “ 

Sterling is an assistant state’s attorney in Anne Arundel County who is also of Korean descent and a member of the work group. 

In March, the governor said one of his daughters was afraid “at times” to travel back to Maryland to visit family, fearing race-fueled incidents. Another of the couple’s daughters was involved in the creation of the work group. 

“It was actually Jaymi’s idea to create this work group to address the alarming rise racist rhetoric, vitriol and harassment against Asian Americans,” said Hogan.