“I was outraged and quite frankly shocked at how bad it had gotten,” said Governor Larry Hogan in a conversation with journalist Angie Goff on an episode of her “Oh My Goff” show. The governor was also joined by First Lady Yumi Hogan and daughter Jaymi Hogan for the conversation about the rise in hate against the Asian American community during Asian American and Pacific Islander Heritage Month.
“There is no question that you are right that a lot of people in the wider community who are not a part of the Asian community were not paying much attention to discrimination against Asians. They didn’t realize the things that you all have contended with your whole lives,” said Governor Hogan.
Yumi Hogan is the first Korean American first lady in any state and the first Asian first lady in the state of Maryland. She said, “I have been here in the United States for over 41 years, I am the first generation...I came to the United States for the American Dream—this is not the American Dream. In the future, we should all together make America stronger by understanding other cultures.”
Jaymi said that as a child, she did not want to be the butt of jokes so she would make them first. “...We grew up with that and it’s from when we were children...all the way to now we continue to see it. But I think what has changed is our response, our response has evolved.” She said Asians have often been conditioned to keep their heads down, work hard, and not deal with any of it.
Governor Hogan spoke about the actions his administration is taking in Maryland to make sure people are willing to come forward and report crimes they see against the Asian community.
Baltimore has a population of ~609,000 and of those 2.6 percent are Asian. Last month, Governor Hogan announced he formed a statewide workgroup to develop strategies, recommendations, and actions to address the rise in violence and discrimination against the Asian American community.
“We just appointed a workgroup that will study Asian hate crimes and talk about real solutions about what we can do to fix it with additional laws, additional prosecutions. It is not just going to be talking. We want to come up with a real substantive list of direct actions we can take,” he said.
Governor Hogan’s workgroup is in line with what the federal government is also doing.
On Thursday, April 22, the Senate expanded a bill that was originally passed to focus on hate crimes against the Asian Americans because of COVID-19. The amendments made to the bill address the rise in violence against Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders.
One change that comes with this bill is the Justice Department is required to make it one of their employee’s sole responsibility for the next year to track all hate crimes.
“I’m hoping that more people will listen to us talking, pay more attention to some of the things. I’m sick of people saying that’s not true, there’s no discrimination, nobody’s picking on Asians. They have to listen and start paying more attention,” urged Governor Hogan.