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Legally Speaking: Joey Jackson Counts Among Countries top Legal Minds

NNPA NEWSWIRE — A nationally-recognized criminal defense attorney, Jackson has gained notoriety as perhaps the most respected legal analyst on television where he provides insight on legal matters for HLN and CNN.

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By Stacy M. Brown, NNPA Newswire Correspondent
@StacyBrownMedia

Upon receiving the Harvard Law School Center on the Legal Profession’s Award for Global Leadership two years ago during a celebration of the history of Black Lawyers, acclaimed attorney Vernon E. Jordan Jr. spoke fervently about how he once sat in a courtroom and watched in awe of other legal giants.

Robert Carter, Julius Coleman and Thurgood Marshall were among the names Jordan rattled off. Some would argue that the list could have also included Joey Jackson, of Watford Jackson, PLLC in New York.

A nationally-recognized criminal defense attorney, Jackson has gained notoriety as perhaps the most respected legal analyst on television where he provides insight on legal matters for HLN and CNN.

It’s a career that almost didn’t happen because Jackson told NNPA Newswire that he had little desire to become an attorney and even less interest in television. “My mom insisted I go to college and really guided me in that direction … thank goodness,” he said. “Once there, I learned a whole lot about myself and my tolerance for work and how to be disciplined enough to complete a task.”

He graduated Hofstra Law School in 1995 and worked for the New York State Assembly Speaker as a legislative analyst, the New York State Education Department and Congressman Charles B. Rangel’s office in Washington.

Later, he taught business and Civil Rights Law at Monroe College.

At Watford Jackson, where his focus is two federal districts and the Supreme Court, Jackson works on cases that include the criminal defense, regulatory enforcement, government investigations, labor union arbitration and complex litigation practice areas.

“What inspires me is the ability to make a difference in people’s lives,” Jackson said. “Winning a case often gives someone a new life because it protects their freedom and gives them a more favorable view of the justice system.”

He gave a profound nod to the late Johnnie Cochran, the famed lawyer who successfully defended O.J. Simpson during “The Trial of the Century.”

“[Cochran] died about 13 years ago, yet his name comes up in legal circles regularly as a person who stood for justice, would go to the end of the earth for his clients, and never took no for an answer,” Jackson said of Cochran.

“In his eyes, no case was impossible to win – and that’s how he lived and the example he set. ‘Look for the opportunities and the possibilities,’” he said, adding, “Let’s face it, O.J. was guilty.”

As well-liked and respected as he is on television, Jackson said becoming a legal analyst happened by accident. “I received a phone call from the Fox News Channel out of the blue about 10 years ago. They were looking for someone to comment on a criminal case,” Jackson recalled.

“I had no clue what they were talking about or asking of me since I was not connected to the case. I nearly talked my way out of a television career by asking them why someone unconnected to the case would speak about it.”

Jackson continued:

“The caller explained that they customarily have legal panels and debates about cases and that they researched my background and thought I would be a good candidate.”

Jackson provided commentary for Fox News for nearly 5 years, without compensation but other networks realized his talent and wealth of knowledge. Jackson was offered a contract with Court TV’s “In Session,” which eventually led to a deal with HLN and later CNN where he’s often called upon for celebrity cases.

“If reality TV teaches us anything, it is that people love soap operas. People enjoy learning that celebrities are as imperfect as the rest of us are,” Jackson said.

“They enjoy even more knowing that the long arm of justice can wrap its arms around even those we believe to be so larger as to be larger than life itself.

“We think of celebrities as being rich people with perfect lives, who are untouchable. Following their cases shows us that this is far from true.”

Jackson continued:

“And let’s not forget that sometimes the magnitude of the crime itself makes the person a celebrity – Jodi Arias, Casie Anthony, George Zimmerman.

“We can relate to the stories and drama that unfolds as we all weigh in as jurors, putting in our 3 cents and expressing our point of view.”

Once a prosecutor, Jackson said as a defense attorney he prepares his clients by “being the agent of reality.”

“I am a cheerleader, a booster, a supporter, and a soldier – but I am also a realist, and always try to be straightforward with a client regarding their chances or prevailing,” he said.

In describing some of his tougher cases, Jackson recalled that, as a prosecutor, he was once put in charge of prosecuting a football player who had just signed a multi-million dollar deal and was in New York celebrating at the China Club.

“He ended up beating up the victim pretty bad because the victim was trying to talk to his girlfriend. I could not downgrade the charges because the victim was hospitalized and beaten pretty badly,” Jackson said.

“His defense attorney was an experienced veteran from a major firm, who belittled me, shamed me, and tried to get into my head at every turn. I wasn’t being unreasonable, just thought he had to be held accountable. We went to trial and he was convicted,” Jackson said.

As a defense attorney, Jackson described one oddly adjudicated case where his client was being prosecuted in two jurisdictions for various crimes, including attempted murder.

“The prosecutor reached a global plea deal, meaning they got approval from the other county to resolve his case with a plea in the jurisdiction we were in. It was a sweet deal.  Five years to cover three violent felony cases (the others were armed robbery with violent assault).

“My client could not make up his mind as to whether he wanted to go to trial or take the deal. I implored him to take the deal, but he said he wasn’t sure.  I am very sensitive to a client who doesn’t want a deal because I never want to give the impression that I am forcing him to do so.

“I asked the judge for more time and the judge gave my client until after the lunch recess to take the deal or go to trial. I spent the entire lunch speaking with my client and his family.

“He finally said it made sense and he would take the deal.

“When we came back after lunch, the prosecutor doubled the offer and said he wanted ten years unless my client told on his associates.

“A two-hour lunch would cost my client 5 more years. He took the deal. The judge scolded the prosecutor for being so dishonorable but it was to no avail. My client got the 10 years anyway (he was facing 25)… I felt miserable.”

With heightened awareness of sexual harassment and assaults, Jackson applauded the #MeToo movement, but also offered caution. “The #MeToo movement and #TimesUp are important in allowing women to express themselves without shame or fear of reprisals,” he said. “It’s high-time that women are able to tell their stories – without being denigrated, disbelieved, ridiculed and belittled, so kudos to the movement.”

“That said, it’s perfectly appropriate to challenge evidence, scrutinize every situation thoroughly, and evaluate every case on a case-by-case basis,” Jackson said. “That’s what our judicial system is all about, and will continue to be about.”

Jackson called it a privilege to work in law and to educate television viewers.

“My regret is that I cannot help everyone who reaches out, but we do the best to provide as much assistance as we can,” he said.

To that end, Jackson named three of what he called the most important things he’d want everyone to know about him.

“That I try to face life with optimism and energy by seeing the good over the bad; that I try to treat all people with dignity and respect no matter their station; and that I try to wake up every day, and leave no stone unturned in trying to make an impact in whatever I do,” Jackson said.

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Activism

Chauvin Trial Shows Need for Broad Focus on Systemic Racism

Officer’s Conviction Necessary but Not Sufficient, Greenlining Institute Says

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OAKLAND, CALIFORNIA – In response to the announcement of the conviction of former police officer Derek Chauvin on all three counts in the killing of George Floyd, Greenlining Institute President and CEO Debra Gore-Mann released the following statement:
“Today we experienced a small measure of justice as Derek Chauvin was convicted and the killing of George Floyd was recognized as the criminal act it was. But we shouldn’t fool ourselves into thinking that one conviction of one cop for a killing the whole world witnessed on video will change a fundamentally racist and dysfunctional system. The whole law enforcement system must be rethought and rebuilt from the ground up so that there are no more George Floyds, Daunte Wrights and Adam Toledos. But even that is just a start.
“Policing doesn’t operate in a vacuum. Systemic racism exists in policing because systemic racism exists in America. We must fundamentally uproot the disease of racism in our society and create a transformative path forward.”
To learn more about The Greenlining Institute, visit www.greenlining.org.

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Activism

When I See George Floyd, I See an Asian American

 A modern-day lynching is specific and symbolic all at once. If you know Asian American history, then you know Asians in California, Chinese, and Filipino, were lynched in America.

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courtesy istock

You watching the trial of the now ex-Minneapolis Police officer Derek Chauvin, the person I call the “knee man?”

   That’s what he was. Chauvin’s on trial for the murder of George Floyd, but I’m wondering how the defense is going to play this. Say that Chauvin’s knee acted independently? 

     The evidence is piling up. In Monday’s testimony, no less than the Minneapolis Chief of Police Medaria Arradondo said that Chauvin’s actions were in violation of “our principles and values that we have.” 

    In other words, the placing of the knee to the neck of Floyd, who was face down with hands cuffed behind his back, was “in no way, shape or form part of police policy or training.”

    If you’re a juror and hear the chief come down on Chauvin, how can you possibly not find the officer guilty?

   The defense has said it will focus on Floyd’s fentanyl drug use, presumably to link that as the real cause of death. But the prosecution on Monday brought out Dr. Bradford Langenfield, the Emergency Room doc who pronounced Floyd dead. He noted the length of time before Floyd got any breathing aid, and said Floyd’s death was more likely caused by asphyxia, or a lack of oxygen. 

     From the drugs or the knee?

     The defense will claim it wasn’t the knee, which at times was also on Floyd’s shoulder. Is that enough reasonable doubt? 

    Remember it was when Chauvin’s knee was on Floyd’s neck, not when he was walking around with drugs in his system, when Floyd said, “I can’t breathe.” 

   So far, the trial’s most compelling moment came when Darnella Frazier, the teenager who took the cell phone video we all have seen, recalled her trauma at witnessing of Floyd’s death.

     “When I look at George Floyd, I look at my dad, I look at my brothers, I look at my cousins, my uncles because they are all Black. I have a Black brother, I have Black friends. And I look at that and I look at how that could have been one of them,” Frazier said. “It’s been nights, I stayed up apologizing and apologizing to George Floyd for not doing more. And not physically interacting.”

     Van Jones on CNN said Frazier had witnessed a lynching.

   “When you have a lynching, which is what this was,” said Jones, “you aren’t just torturing the individual who you’re strangling to death, you’re torturing the whole community.”

     A modern-day lynching is specific and symbolic all at once. If you know Asian American history, then you know Asians in California, Chinese, and Filipino, were lynched in America.

As my friend Ishmael Reed told me on my amok.com vlog, don’t let the media play “divide and conquer.” This isn’t a Black vs. Asian thing.

All BIPOC are fighting a common foe.  All people of color have been under someone’s knee at some time in America. It’s our common ground, our shared past in America’s racist history.

That’s why to paraphrase Darnella Frazier, when I see George Floyd, I see an Asian American. And so should you.

Emil Guillermo is an award-winning Bay Area veteran journalist and commentator. See his vlog at www.amok.com 

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Activism

Asian‌ ‌Americans‌ ‌Know‌ ‌Centuries‌ ‌of‌ ‌White‌ ‌Supremacy‌ ‌Too‌ ‌ ‌

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Vincent Chin, photo courtesy Wikipedia

I’m‌ ‌all‌ ‌for‌ ‌recycling.‌ ‌The‌ ‌good‌ ‌kind.‌ ‌Paper.‌ ‌Plastics.‌ ‌Just‌ ‌not‌ ‌the‌ ‌hate.‌ ‌

But‌ ‌what‌ ‌do‌ ‌we‌ ‌have‌ ‌with‌ ‌us‌ ‌in‌ ‌Atlanta?‌ ‌

It’s‌ ‌Vincent‌ ‌Chin,‌ ‌you‌ ‌know‌ ‌the‌ ‌Asian‌ ‌American‌ ‌killed‌ ‌in‌ ‌Detroit‌ ‌in‌ ‌1982‌ ‌with‌ ‌a‌ ‌baseball‌ ‌bat‌ ‌by‌ ‌
a‌ ‌white‌ ‌auto‌ ‌worker‌ ‌angry‌ ‌at‌ ‌Japanese‌ ‌imports‌ ‌taking‌ ‌over‌ ‌the‌ ‌market.

But‌ ‌Chin‌ ‌was‌ ‌Chinese,‌ ‌not‌ ‌Japanese.‌ ‌Details.‌ ‌ ‌
That’s‌ ‌why‌ ‌I‌ ‌say‌ ‌Atlanta‌ ‌was‌ ‌Vincent‌ ‌Chin‌ ‌with‌ ‌the‌ ‌names‌ ‌changed.‌ ‌
Soon‌ ‌Chung‌ ‌Park,‌ ‌74,‌ ‌worked‌ ‌at‌ ‌Gold‌ ‌spa.‌ ‌
Hyun‌ ‌Jung‌ ‌Grant,‌ ‌51,‌ ‌the‌ ‌single‌ ‌mother‌ ‌who‌ ‌worked‌ ‌at‌ ‌Gold‌ ‌Spa‌ ‌to‌ ‌support‌ ‌herself‌ ‌and‌ ‌her‌ ‌two‌ ‌
sons.‌ ‌
Suncha‌ ‌Kim,‌ ‌69,‌ ‌a‌ ‌Gold‌ ‌Spa‌ ‌worker.‌ ‌
Yong‌ ‌Ae‌ ‌Yue,‌ ‌63,‌ ‌a‌ ‌worker‌ ‌at‌ ‌the‌ ‌Aromatherapy‌ ‌Spa.‌ ‌
Xiaojie‌ ‌Tan,‌ ‌49,‌ ‌the‌ ‌owner‌ ‌of‌ ‌Young’s‌ ‌Asian‌ ‌Massage.‌ ‌
Daoyou‌ ‌Feng,‌ ‌44,‌ ‌an‌ ‌employee‌ ‌at‌ ‌Young’s‌ ‌Asian‌ ‌Massage.‌ ‌
Those‌ ‌six‌ ‌names‌ ‌strike‌ ‌the‌ ‌discordant‌ ‌history‌ ‌of‌ ‌the‌ ‌hateful‌ ‌treatment‌ ‌of‌ ‌Asian‌ ‌Americans‌ ‌in‌ ‌this‌ ‌
country,‌ ‌from‌ ‌the‌ ‌Chinese‌ ‌Exclusion‌ ‌Act‌ ‌in‌ ‌the‌ ‌19‌th‌‌ ‌Century‌ ‌to‌ ‌today.‌ ‌ ‌
Asian‌ ‌Americans‌ ‌know‌ ‌hate‌ ‌and‌ ‌racism‌ ‌from‌ ‌their‌ ‌first‌ ‌day‌ ‌in‌ ‌America.‌ ‌
President‌ ‌Joe‌ ‌Biden‌ ‌recognized‌ ‌it.‌ ‌And‌ ‌now‌ ‌suddenly,‌ ‌Biden‌ ‌has‌ ‌become‌ ‌one‌ ‌of‌ ‌the‌ ‌most‌ ‌
pro-Asian‌ ‌American‌ ‌presidents‌ ‌the‌ ‌U.S.‌ ‌has‌ ‌seen‌ ‌since‌ ‌Reagan‌ ‌signed‌ ‌the‌ ‌bill‌ ‌giving‌ ‌Japanese‌ ‌
Americans‌ ‌redress.‌ ‌
Think‌ ‌about‌ ‌that.‌ ‌Did‌ ‌either‌ ‌of‌ ‌the‌ ‌Bushes,‌ ‌Clinton,‌ ‌or‌ ‌even‌ ‌Obama‌ ‌do‌ ‌anything‌ ‌that‌ ‌addressed‌ ‌
Asian‌ ‌American‌ ‌existential‌ ‌angst‌ ‌like‌ ‌Biden?‌ ‌
One‌ ‌thing‌ ‌for‌ ‌sure,‌ ‌the‌ ‌last‌ ‌president‌ ‌was‌ ‌the‌ ‌absolute‌ ‌worst.‌ ‌He‌ ‌slurred‌ ‌Asian‌ ‌Americans‌ ‌and‌ ‌
made‌ ‌us‌ ‌targets.‌ ‌
In‌ ‌contrast,‌ ‌Biden‌ ‌has‌ ‌shined‌ ‌a‌ ‌light‌ ‌on‌ ‌us‌ ‌and‌ ‌made‌ ‌us‌ ‌visible.‌ ‌
He‌ ‌selected‌ ‌Vice‌ ‌President‌ ‌Kamala‌ ‌Harris,‌ ‌who‌ ‌is‌ ‌half‌ ‌South‌ ‌Asian‌ ‌of‌ ‌Indian‌ ‌descent.‌ ‌
As‌ ‌he‌ ‌began‌ ‌his‌ ‌presidency,‌ ‌Biden‌ ‌signed‌ ‌an‌ ‌unusual‌ ‌executive‌ ‌order‌ ‌making‌ ‌sure‌ ‌everyone‌ ‌in‌ ‌
the‌ ‌country‌ ‌knew‌ ‌that‌ ‌the‌ ‌attacks‌ ‌on‌ ‌Asian‌ ‌Americans‌ ‌were‌ ‌wrong‌ ‌and‌ ‌“un-American.”‌ ‌
He‌ ‌came‌ ‌out‌ ‌strong‌ ‌for‌ ‌us‌ ‌in‌ ‌his‌ ‌first‌ ‌national‌ ‌television‌ ‌address‌ ‌a‌ ‌few‌ ‌weeks‌ ‌ago.‌ ‌
And‌ ‌then,‌ ‌after‌ ‌meeting‌ ‌with‌ ‌local‌ ‌AAPI‌ ‌leaders‌ ‌after‌ ‌last‌ ‌week’s‌ ‌shootings‌ ‌in‌ ‌Atlanta,‌ ‌Biden‌ ‌
once‌ ‌again‌ ‌elevated‌ ‌our‌ ‌status‌ ‌simply‌ ‌by‌ ‌showing‌ ‌everyone‌ ‌he‌ ‌has‌ ‌our‌ ‌backs.‌ ‌His‌ ‌remarks‌ ‌are‌ ‌
worth‌ ‌remembering‌ ‌because‌ ‌they‌ ‌put‌ ‌him‌ ‌on‌ ‌record,‌ ‌as‌ ‌he‌ ‌described‌ ‌the‌ ‌impact‌ ‌of‌ ‌Trump‌ ‌
administration‌ ‌rhetoric‌ ‌on‌ ‌the‌ ‌AAPI‌ ‌community.‌ ‌
“It’s‌ ‌been‌ ‌a‌ ‌year‌ ‌of‌ ‌living‌ ‌in‌ ‌fear‌ ‌for‌ ‌their‌ ‌lives,”‌ ‌Biden‌ ‌said‌ ‌of‌ ‌all‌ ‌AAPIs‌ ‌in‌ ‌the‌ ‌country.‌ ‌“Hate‌ ‌
and‌ ‌violence‌ ‌often‌ ‌hide‌ ‌in‌ ‌plain‌ ‌sight‌ ‌and‌ ‌often‌ ‌are‌ ‌met‌ ‌with‌ ‌silence.‌ ‌That’s‌ ‌been‌ ‌true‌ ‌throughout‌ ‌
our‌ ‌history.‌ ‌and‌ ‌that‌ ‌has‌ ‌to‌ ‌change.‌ ‌
“Because‌ ‌our‌ ‌silence‌ ‌is‌ ‌complicity.‌ ‌We‌ ‌cannot‌ ‌be‌ ‌complicit.‌ ‌We‌ ‌have‌ ‌to‌ ‌speak‌ ‌out.‌ ‌We‌ ‌have‌ ‌to‌ ‌
act.‌ ‌For‌ ‌all‌ ‌the‌ ‌good‌ ‌the‌ ‌laws‌ ‌can‌ ‌do,‌ ‌we‌ ‌have‌ ‌to‌ ‌change‌ ‌our‌ ‌hearts.‌ ‌
“Hate‌ ‌can‌ ‌have‌ ‌no‌ ‌safe‌ ‌harbor‌ ‌in‌ ‌America.‌ ‌It‌ ‌must‌ ‌stop.‌ ‌And‌ ‌it’s‌ ‌on‌ ‌all‌ ‌of‌ ‌us,‌ ‌all‌ ‌of‌ ‌us‌ ‌together,‌ ‌to‌ ‌
make‌ ‌it‌ ‌stop.”‌ ‌
Strong‌ ‌words,‌ ‌from‌ ‌no‌ ‌less‌ ‌than‌ ‌the‌ ‌president‌ ‌of‌ ‌the‌ ‌United‌ ‌States.‌ ‌
It’s‌ ‌enough‌ ‌to‌ ‌unite‌ ‌Asian‌ ‌Americans.‌ ‌Is‌ ‌our‌ ‌fear‌ ‌enough‌ ‌to‌ ‌unite‌ ‌a‌ ‌country?‌ ‌
Not‌ ‌with‌ ‌Republicans‌ ‌like‌ ‌Texas‌ ‌Congressman‌ ‌Chip‌ ‌Roy,‌ ‌who‌ ‌couldn’t‌ ‌find‌ ‌the‌ ‌empathy‌ ‌at‌ ‌last‌ ‌
week’s‌ ‌Judiciary‌ ‌Subcommittee‌ ‌hearing‌ ‌to‌ ‌change‌ ‌his‌ ‌heart‌ ‌and‌ ‌join‌ ‌in‌ ‌condemning‌ ‌the‌ ‌murder‌ ‌
of‌ ‌eight‌ ‌people‌ ‌in‌ ‌Atlanta,‌ ‌six‌ ‌of‌ ‌whom‌ ‌were‌ ‌Asian‌ ‌American‌ ‌women.‌ ‌
“My‌ ‌concern‌ ‌about‌ ‌the‌ ‌hearing‌ ‌is‌ ‌that‌ ‌it‌ ‌seems‌ ‌to‌ ‌want‌ ‌to‌ ‌venture‌ ‌into‌ ‌the‌ ‌policing‌ ‌of‌ ‌rhetoric,”‌ ‌
said‌ ‌Roy,‌ ‌a‌ ‌Trump‌ ‌backer‌ ‌who‌ ‌was‌ ‌trying‌ ‌to‌ ‌defend‌ ‌the‌ ‌ex-president’s‌ ‌“China‌ ‌Virus”‌ ‌and‌ ‌“Kung‌ ‌
Flu”‌ ‌remarks.‌ ‌
Asian‌ ‌American‌ ‌voters,‌ ‌a‌ ‌third‌ ‌of‌ ‌whom‌ ‌voted‌ ‌Republican‌ ‌for‌ ‌Trump,‌ ‌should‌ ‌remember‌ ‌this.‌ ‌The‌ ‌
Republicans‌ ‌who‌ ‌remain‌ ‌hell-bent‌ ‌on‌ ‌defending‌ ‌Trump’s‌ ‌big‌ ‌lie–that‌ ‌he‌ ‌won‌ ‌the‌ ‌2020‌ ‌
election–see‌ ‌“China‌ ‌Virus”‌ ‌as‌ ‌a‌ ‌matter‌ ‌of‌ ‌Trump’s‌ ‌free‌ ‌speech.‌ ‌
And‌ ‌what‌ ‌of‌ ‌the‌ ‌thousands‌ ‌of‌ ‌AAPIs‌ ‌victimized‌ ‌by‌ ‌his‌ ‌hateful‌ ‌turn‌ ‌of‌ ‌phrase?‌ ‌
Rep.‌ ‌Grace‌ ‌Meng‌ ‌(D-NY)‌ ‌let‌ ‌him‌ ‌have‌ ‌it.‌ ‌
“This‌ ‌hearing‌ ‌was‌ ‌to‌ ‌address‌ ‌the‌ ‌hurt‌ ‌and‌ ‌pain‌ ‌of‌ ‌our‌ ‌community,‌ ‌and‌ ‌to‌ ‌find‌ ‌solutions,”‌ ‌Meng‌ ‌
said‌ ‌in‌ ‌a‌ ‌rare‌ ‌show‌ ‌of‌ ‌emotion‌ ‌and‌ ‌passion.‌ ‌“We‌ ‌will‌ ‌not‌ ‌let‌ ‌you‌ ‌take‌ ‌our‌ ‌voice‌ ‌away‌ ‌from‌ ‌us.”‌ ‌
That’s‌ ‌where‌ ‌we‌ ‌are‌ ‌today.‌ ‌
People‌ ‌are‌ ‌angry.‌ ‌And‌ ‌only‌ ‌the‌ ‌Democrats‌ ‌truly‌ ‌seem‌ ‌interested,‌ ‌not‌ ‌just‌ ‌in‌ ‌stopping‌ ‌the‌ ‌hate‌ ‌but‌ ‌
in‌ ‌recognizing‌ ‌it.‌ ‌
This‌ ‌week,‌ ‌Meng‌ ‌and‌ ‌Sen.‌ ‌Mazie‌ ‌Hirono‌ ‌continued‌ ‌to‌ ‌campaign‌ ‌for‌ ‌their‌ ‌Covid‌ ‌Hate‌ ‌Crime‌ ‌Bill‌ ‌
that‌ ‌would‌ ‌have‌ ‌the‌ ‌Justice‌ ‌Department‌ ‌conduct‌ ‌fast‌ ‌reviews‌ ‌of‌ ‌possible‌ ‌hate‌ ‌crime‌ ‌cases.‌ ‌This‌ ‌
was‌ ‌thought‌ ‌up‌ ‌long‌ ‌before‌ ‌the‌ ‌shootings‌ ‌in‌ ‌Atlanta,‌ ‌but‌ ‌it‌ ‌would‌ ‌seem‌ ‌to‌ ‌be‌ ‌perfect‌ ‌timing.‌ ‌The‌ ‌
the bill‌ ‌also‌ ‌sets‌ ‌up‌ ‌an‌ ‌online‌ ‌reporting‌ ‌system‌ ‌in‌ ‌different‌ ‌Asian‌ ‌languages‌ ‌that‌ ‌would‌ ‌stop‌ ‌the‌ ‌
undercounting‌ ‌of‌ ‌hate‌ ‌crimes‌ ‌and‌ ‌make‌ ‌it‌ ‌easy‌ ‌for‌ ‌AAPIs‌ ‌to‌ ‌report‌ ‌them.‌ ‌
Robert‌ ‌Aaron‌ ‌Long,‌ ‌21,‌ ‌the‌ ‌Atlanta‌ ‌shooting‌ ‌suspect,‌ ‌has‌ ‌been‌ ‌charged‌ ‌with‌ ‌eight‌ ‌counts‌ ‌of‌ ‌
murder‌ ‌and‌ ‌one‌ ‌count‌ ‌of‌ ‌aggravated‌ ‌assault.‌ ‌Long‌ ‌has‌ ‌admitted‌ ‌to‌ ‌the‌ ‌shootings‌ ‌but‌ ‌told‌ ‌police‌ ‌
he‌ ‌was‌ ‌just‌ ‌a‌ ‌religious‌ ‌man‌ ‌battling‌ ‌‌ ‌sex‌ ‌addiction.‌ ‌The‌ ‌shootings‌ ‌Long‌ ‌told‌ ‌police,‌ ‌weren’t‌ ‌
racially‌ ‌motivated.‌ ‌
That’s‌ ‌what‌ ‌they‌ ‌all‌ ‌say.‌ ‌
Ronald‌ ‌Ebens,‌ ‌who‌ ‌killed‌ ‌Vincent‌ ‌Chin‌ ‌with‌ ‌a‌ ‌baseball‌ ‌bat,‌ ‌said‌ ‌the‌ ‌same‌ ‌thing.‌ ‌
Ebens‌ ‌did‌ ‌get‌ ‌off‌ ‌without‌ ‌spending‌ ‌time‌ ‌in‌ ‌jail.‌ ‌Long‌ ‌is‌ ‌being‌ ‌held‌ ‌without‌ ‌bail‌ ‌while‌ ‌the‌ ‌police‌ ‌
continue‌ ‌to‌ ‌investigate.‌ ‌
That‌ ‌does‌ ‌nothing‌ ‌for‌ ‌Asian‌ ‌Americans,‌ ‌still‌ ‌grief-stricken‌ ‌and‌ ‌angry.‌ ‌Hate‌ ‌crime‌ ‌enhancements‌ ‌
could‌ ‌easily‌ ‌be‌ ‌applied‌ ‌if‌ ‌the‌ ‌new‌ ‌Georgia‌ ‌state‌ ‌hate‌ ‌crime‌ ‌statute‌ ‌that‌ ‌expands‌ ‌coverage‌ ‌to‌ ‌
include‌ ‌sex‌ ‌as‌ ‌well‌ ‌as‌ ‌race,‌ ‌is‌ ‌used.‌ ‌ ‌
But‌ ‌if‌ ‌that’s‌ ‌not‌ ‌forthcoming,‌ ‌it‌ ‌would‌ ‌definitely‌ ‌send‌ ‌Asian‌ ‌Americans‌ ‌a‌ ‌harsh‌ ‌message‌ ‌of‌ ‌our‌ ‌
real‌ ‌value‌ ‌in‌ ‌this‌ ‌country.‌ ‌
It‌ ‌will‌ ‌also‌ ‌test‌ ‌the‌ ‌community’s‌ ‌strength‌ ‌and‌ ‌courage.‌ ‌What‌ ‌will‌ ‌our‌ ‌response‌ ‌be‌ ‌then?‌ ‌Will‌ ‌
others‌ ‌in‌ ‌the‌ ‌BIPOC‌ ‌feel‌ ‌our‌ ‌pain,‌ ‌join‌ ‌us‌ ‌in‌ ‌alliance,‌ ‌and‌ ‌speak‌ ‌with‌ ‌one‌ ‌voice‌ ‌in‌ ‌unison‌ ‌against‌ ‌
these‌ ‌crimes?‌ ‌
Or‌ ‌will‌ ‌AAPI‌ ‌be‌ ‌left‌ ‌wondering‌ ‌how‌ ‌we‌ ‌get‌ ‌justice‌ ‌for‌ ‌our‌ ‌six‌ ‌sisters‌ ‌killed‌ ‌in‌ ‌Atlanta?‌ ‌ ‌
Soon‌ ‌Chung‌ ‌Park.‌ ‌
Hyun‌ ‌Jung‌ ‌Grant.‌ ‌
Suncha‌ ‌Kim.‌ ‌
Yong‌ ‌Ae‌ ‌Yue.‌ ‌
Xiaojie‌ ‌Tan.‌ ‌
Daoyou‌ ‌Feng.‌ ‌
They‌ ‌are‌ ‌our‌ ‌dead,‌ ‌the‌ ‌latest‌ ‌in‌ ‌the‌ ‌sad‌ ‌narrative‌ ‌of‌ ‌Asian‌ ‌Americans‌ ‌in‌ ‌this‌ ‌country‌ ‌since‌ ‌the‌ ‌
19th‌ ‌Century,‌ ‌the‌ ‌agonizing‌ ‌history‌ ‌of‌ ‌recycled‌ ‌hate.‌ ‌
Emil‌ ‌Guillermo‌ ‌is‌ ‌a‌ ‌journalist‌ ‌and‌ ‌commentator.‌ ‌He’s‌ ‌a‌ ‌veteran‌ ‌Bay‌ ‌Area‌ ‌media‌ ‌person‌ ‌and‌ ‌a‌ ‌
former‌ ‌host‌ ‌of‌ ‌NPR’s‌ ‌“All‌ ‌Things‌ ‌Considered.”‌ ‌Go‌ ‌to‌ ‌his‌ ‌blog‌ ‌at‌ ‌‌www.amok.com‌‌ ‌for‌ ‌an‌ ‌
interview‌ ‌with‌ ‌Oakland‌ ‌playwright‌ ‌Ishmael‌ ‌Reed‌ ‌about‌ ‌Reed’s‌ ‌new‌ ‌play‌ ‌on‌ ‌the‌ ‌exploitation‌ ‌of‌ ‌
Jean-Michel‌ ‌Basquiat.‌ ‌ ‌

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