On National Day of Action to Stop Anti-AAPI Hate, Texas Democrats Hosted A Press Conference Condemning Violence

AUSTIN, Texas — On the National Day of Action to Stop Anti-AAPI Hate, Texas Democrats hosted a press conference with legislators and advocates to address the spike in anti-Asian violence across the country, fueled in large part by hateful rhetoric used by former President Donald Trump, Texas Republicans like Senator John Cornyn, and far too many members of the GOP during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Texas Democratic Party Chair Gilberto Hinojosa, State Rep. Gene Wu, State Rep. Jon Rosenthal, Democratic National Committee Member and Vice President of Asian Democrats Central Texas Ashley Cheng, Fort Bend County County Court at Law 3 Judge Juli Mathew, and Executive Director of Emgage Action and Treasurer of Asian American Democrats of Texas Nabila Mansoor took part in the virtual press conference Friday.

Click here to access the see video of the press conference.

Below is a selection of these speakers’ powerful words on this issue:

Gilberto Hinojosa: “We have seen a sharp rise in anti-AAPI violence in the last year, and it is directly correlated with the hateful and racist rhetoric being spewed by former president Donald Trump and many other Republican leaders — including Texas Senator John Cornyn. And while their rhetoric is abhorrent, this is no surprise from the Republican party… This continues to be part of the Republican playbook. They manufacture a crisis. Republicans understand that Texans were hurt, significantly, from the way they handled various crises — not only the pandemic crisis but the weather crisis and energy shortages, and it showed in their polling numbers. So what they do when they get into these kinds of jams is they’ll create another crisis, and most of the time, that other crisis revolves around their hateful rhetoric against certain minorities, which is what they’re doing right now on the border and with the AAPI community. We need to stand up and push back and make sure that people know this is part of their game, that they’re always trying to raise hate to divide Texans.”

Rep. Gene Wu: “For my Asian American brothers and sisters, it is time to stand up and demand action. It is no longer ok for our leaders to just be non-racist because just being non-racist doesn’t solve anything. It doesn’t push back against the hate that Republicans and Donald Trump unleashed on our society. It does not repair the harm that’s been done to the Asian American community, the immigrant community, and many other communities who have been beset by violence and hatred over the last four years. We must demand that our leaders be anti-racist. Whether they be black, Hispanic, Asian, Jewish, Muslim, whoever, any group that is discriminated against, that has received hatred and threats and violence in the past four years, we must be with them and stand up for them as well. I call on all Asian Americans to be engaged. Our continued silence is death. We must be organized, we must have the vote, we must come out and support leaders who support our community.”

Rep. Jon Rosenthal: “If we had leaders who had their priorities in order, imagine how different things could be. Imagine if instead of stoking hate, Republicans in power had actually taken action to curb the pandemic. Yet at the very beginning of the pandemic, John Cornyn was already making repulsive racist comments targeting Asian-Americans. But when the time came to actually vote for COVID-19 relief earlier this month, every single Republican voted AGAINST this vital relief — including John Cornyn, Ted Cruz, and every Texas Republican in Congress. Anti-Asian hate and racism are unfortunately not new in Texas. The legacy of trauma and white supremacy is still here and still doing harm. And right now, we’re coming together to say, no more.”

Hon. Juli Mathew: “As the first Asian American judge to be elected to the bench in Fort Bend County, growing up in a minority community in the United States, it was extremely difficult to constantly be called names and be discriminated against by your looks or your accent and those things that, as a minority member, I had to deal with. I understand the hate and I stand with the Asian American community and all those who are being oppressed and are dealing with this tragic event. I would also at this time express my condolences to the families who lost their lives in this horrific tragedy. We need to continue these discussions and address these issues in the future so that we can resolve them and not have it happen again.”

Ashley Cheng: “For the last year, since the first time Trump said “China virus,” we have been sounding alarm bells that these dangerous words would cause anti-Asian violence, and no one listened. John Cornyn, Ted Cruz, Chip Roy, Greg Abbott: you represent my grandmother, my mother, my niece. And I don’t want to be afraid for their safety anymore because you can’t do your jobs. Please, stop being active and complicit in this hate, it’s a distraction tactic, from your failures and mismanagement of this pandemic…Asian Americans have been made to feel invisible in this country. But that’s changing. AAPIs in Texas increased our voter turnout in the presidential election last year by 88% — that’s three times the general population increase. We are a community used to being silenced, ignored, but not anymore.”

Nabila Mansoor: “I learned this at a young age — I have parents that are from South Asia — that there is a strategy that is always enacted, and it is divide and conquer. And that’s what’s happening right now. The way you stop that is by working in solidarity with the folks who are being victimized. And if you believe in justice, and believe that people have a right to live their life with the pursuit of life, liberty and happiness, then you are with us. And it is so important that we just stay together and keep that in mind. I know that this is a fight that we will win — it might be long, but we are going to win this.”