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‘It’s time for us all to work together to find ways to stop the hate’

North Jersey. U.S. Rep. Josh Gottheimer hosts North Jersey leaders, students for dialogue on combating hate and Asian-American and Pacific Islander discrimination.

| 31 Mar 2021 | 07:56

U.S. Rep. Josh Gottheimer hosted fellow New Jersey Congressman Andy Kim (NJ-3) for a dialogue with North Jersey elected officials and local students on action needed to combat hate and discrimination, especially toward our Asian-American and Pacific Islander communities, given the recent uptick in incidents.

There have been nearly 3,800 reports of incidents targeting the AAPI community over the past year alone, including the recent tragedy in Atlanta that killed eight people, including six Asian-American women; recent hate attacks in nearby New York City; and anti-Asian vandalism in North Jersey.

‘Standing up to anti-Asian hate starts with lifting up AAPI voices’

“It’s been very powerful to see so many people coming together, in the middle of this pandemic, to stand up against this rise in Asian hate and discrimination. I think the conversations around these issues happening right now are vital, but we also need to ensure we’re turning this talk into action that can make real progress — and that’s what I hope we can focus on today: what should be done to combat hate and what more can we do to support and lift up our proud Asian-American and Pacific Islander communities,” Gottheimer said. “Thanks to my good friend and colleague Congressman Andy Kim for being a true leader as we grapple with these issues, and working with me as we find ways to protect all of New Jersey’s different communities. I’m also grateful to our North Jersey leaders and local students for all joining today, because it’s time for us all to work together to find ways to stop the hate.”

“Standing up to anti-Asian hate starts with lifting up AAPI voices and listening to AAPI stories,” Kim said. “It’s that light, and people from the AAPI community and our allies coming together at all levels across society and government, that will move solutions forward and truly stop Asian hate.”

Gottheimer and Kim were joined by Closter Councilwoman Jannie Chung, Dumont Councilman Jimmy Chae, Bergenfield Mayor Arvin Amatorio, Brian Jon, founder of the Asian American Youth Council; and Lianne Shin, a member of the Board Directors for the Asian American Youth Council.

‘My son is scared’

Closter Councilwoman Jannie Chung said she was hurting.

“My son is scared and I won’t let my mom go out alone,” Chung said, “but that’s exactly why I will continue to show up, speak up and make my presence known as a proud Asian American who will do everything to outshine and drown out those who seek to hurt us.”

‘An issue we must face’

“We would first want Congressman Gottheimer to take an approach by making a change in the Northern Highlands Regional High School District,” said Brian Jon, founder of Asian American Youth Council. “This school has been all over the media due to their denial in changing the educational system regarding the rising Asian Hate Crimes. Through this approach, I believe that other schools can follow his examples so that our future generation could live through the melting pot environment America was meant to be. Hate crimes are not a political issue. It is an issue which we must face and speak up against.”