(August 18, 2020 at 4:43pm)

QUEENS, NY – Acting Queens Borough President Sharon Lee stated the following in response to questions about the creation of the new NYPD task force to investigate anti-Asian hate and bias crimes in light of the disturbing rise in anti-Asian hate and bias incidents during the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic:

“The rise in hate and bias incidents during the ongoing pandemic was further illuminated when, earlier this year, the NYPD Hate Crime Task Force had to create an entirely new motivation category of crimes called ‘OTHER CORONA’, and a substantial portion of those targeted were of Asian descent,” said Borough President LEE. “Words matter and have consequences, especially when misnomers like ‘Chinese Virus’ and ‘Kung Flu’ are promulgated. Hate and bias crimes, however, are oftentimes extremely tough to prove and require assets to allow for serious investigation. Queens lauds the NYPD — especially Chief Rodney Harrison and Deputy Inspector Stewart Loo — for forming this task force to bring the necessary attention to the inflammation of latent racism and discrimination. I also urge anyone who has witnessed or been the victim of a hate or bias act to report it immediately, as time is of the essence in these types of cases.”

Earlier this year on March 18, Borough President Lee — the first borough president of Asian descent in the City of New York — stated the following in response to questions about the racist term “Chinese Virus” when referencing COVID-19:

“‘Chinese virus’ is a deeply consequential misnomer. COVID-19 gives no one license to target, harass or assault anyone, but the term ‘Chinese virus’ provokes exactly that. It emboldens the discrimination, harassment and targeting of many Americans. Calling it a ‘Chinese virus’ instead of the accurate term ‘COVID-19’ inflames racism, empowers sinophobia, and resurrects ‘yellow peril’ perceptions that endanger Americans, including American citizens like myself. This is a shared war against a pandemic, and as we all race together to stem the tide of COVID-19, triggering a war of words is the absolute last thing we need. This virus does not discriminate, and as fellow Americans, neither should we.”

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