FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
APRIL 26, 2021
CHINESE AMERICAN COMMUNITY STRONGLY CONDEMNS SENATE DEMOCRATIC LEADERSHIP FOR BLOCKING CHINESE AMERICAN HISTORY MONTH BILL, AND SAYS ANTI-ASIAN RACISM SHOULD NOT BE TOLERATED IN OLYMPIA
Bellevue Washington – April 26, 2021 – Outraged by Senate Democrat Leadership’s intentional derailment of SB 5264, the Chinese American history month bill, the Chinese American community calls out the Senate Democrat Leadership for being insensitive and missing in action when it came to passing common sense and simple legislation to battle anti-Asian racism in Olympia and Washington State.
If passed, SB 5264 would declare January as Chinese American history month and encourage (not mandate) public schools to commemorate Chinese Americans’ lives, history, achievements, and contributions to this state and country.
“It would be the easiest bill in the world to run in only a few minutes, yet Senate Democrat Leadership repeatedly refused to bring the bill forward for a vote.” Said Linda Yang, Director of Washington Asians For Equality, “It was a long overdue bill, yet, Senate Democrat leadership blocked the bill not once, but twice, this past session. We advocated our position based on merits of the bill and on equity, a fair standard that they themselves set as an achievable objective for this session when battling racism. They simply do not want to make the Chinese American history bill into the law. This is deeply puzzling to us, considering the national media attention to anti-Asian violence that has exploded in our country this year”. Yang went on to say, “How can this be seen as anything more than an extension of the anti-Asian racism that Asians have been experiencing for generations now? While national efforts to combat anti-Asian racism and violence were being led by both Democrats and Republicans, Senate Democratic leadership here in Olympia was missing in action and could not even bring themselves to pass this one simple bill to begin to address the problem of anti-Asian racism.”
Early this year, Senator Wagoner sponsored SB 5264. The bill has zero fiscal impact, and was passed out of committee unanimously. Yet, Senate Democrat Leadership sat on it for 37 days and the bill eventually died at cutoff on March 11th.
After Washington Asian For Equality fiercely blistered Senate Democrats in the media for stalling SB 5264, while swiftly passing HB 1016, making Juneteenth a legal holiday bill, Senate Democrat leadership pulled SB 5264 from X file pile on April 14th, and gave everyone the impression that they would do the right thing and bring this bill forward. Yet, despite daily reminder emails to Senator Andy Billig, Senator Marko Liias, and all legislators, Senate Democrat Leadership sat on SB 5264 again, for 11 days, and let the bill die at Sine Die.
Democrat leadership in Olympia claimed that passing the Chinese American history month bill would divide Asian Americans and African Americans, yet, they had no problem passing HB 1016, making Juneteenth a legal holiday while ignoring the bill that supports Asians. “That was double standard.” Said Linda Yang. “They were just finding excuses to block this Asian bill.”
Democrat leadership also claimed that the Chinese American history month did not need to be written into the law and suggested the Asian community should settle with a Senate resolution, or an Executive Order. “If that is the case, why did the legislature passed SB 6313 and made disability history month into the law?” Linda continued saying. “They lack the respect to the Chinese American community, they think the community should settle for less. We feel that they are practicing bias without even realizing it. This has been going on for a very long time and in the past Asians were always silent when these things happened to them. The Senate Democratic leadership is where this bill was killed in the 2021 legislative session and there must be some accountability. Their inaction and disrespect are deeply disappointing and frustrating to us”.
“This was not the first time we experienced Asian bias from the Senate Democratic leadership. We are calling this out now because this has to stop “, said Kan Qiu, President of American Coalition For Equality. “Organizations such as League of Women Voters of Washington also support this bill. Senate Democrat Leadership put their anti-Asian bias on display. And now they need to provide the general public and Chinese American community an answer and closure.”