Maryland invests $5 million to tackle hate crimes against Asian communities

Lieutenant Governor of Maryland, Aruna Miller addressing the gathering on May 22, 2024, in Rockville, Maryland. PHOTO: T. Vishnudatta Jayaraman, News India Times

Rockville, Maryland: Lieutenant Governor of Maryland, Aruna Miller has declared that Maryland state has allocated over $5 million to combat the increasing hate crimes targeting Asian communities. She emphasized that Asian Americans are among the fastest growing population with more than 400,000 of them residing in the state.

Speaking at the 2024 Asian Pacific American Heritage Month celebration, “Advancing Leaders through Innovation” hosted by the Maryland Governor’s Office of Community Initiatives (GOCI), on May 22, 2024, Miller noted, “Even today we have Asian hate taking place. It’s almost risen 150 per cent in the state of Maryland. So, we have to combat these types of things. We have to right the wrongs. I can tell you in the Moore-Miller administration, we have invested over $5 million to combat hate in the state of Maryland, and we need every one of you to help us get there.”

Lieutenant Governor of Maryland, Aruna Miller, holding the Governor’s Proclamation recognizing May 2024 as the Asian Pacific American Heritage Month, with Cabinet members, APAA and SAAA Commissioners, County representatives, and government officials on May 22, 2024, in Rockville, Maryland. PHOTO: T. Vishnudatta Jayaraman, News India Times

Reflecting on the diversity in the Moore-Miller administration, she said, “We are so proud to have the most diverse cabinet in Maryland’s history, and I believe it’s the largest AAPI cabinet that we have in the nation.” She went on to recognize AAPI cabinet members, and Maryland leaders in the audience such as Secretary of State, Susan Lee, Secretary of Department of Labor, Portia Wu, Secretary of Commission of Higher Education, Sanjay Rai, Dean of Robert H Smith School of Business, University of Maryland, Prabhudev Konana, Dean of the University of Maryland College of Computer, Mathematical and Natural Sciences, Amitabh Varshney, and others.

“You all did something pretty significant in 2022. You elected the first black Governor in Maryland’s history, and you also elected the first Asian American immigrant woman for Lieutenant Governor,” Miller told the gathering. “Here’s the thing that many of you may not know when you elected Governor Moore and me. You sent the nation the first Gubernatorial ticket with two people of color ever elected in the history of the United States.”

Maryland stands out as the “most diverse state in the mid-Atlantic region,” Miller pointed out, crediting the 400,000 AAPI community members for their contributions to this diversity.

Maryland cabinet members, county representatives, and elected officials with Lieutenant Governor of Maryland, Aruna Miller on May 22, 2024, in Rockville, Maryland. PHOTO: T. Vishnudatta Jayaraman, News India Times

In his video message, Governor of Maryland, Wes Moore, said the Governor’s Office of Community Initiatives and Commission on Asian Pacific American Affairs [APAA] and South Asian American Affairs [SAAA] were formed “to help connect Marylanders to promote unity and understanding and also collaboration.” He further added that “In order to leave no one behind, we need to bring everyone together… We recognize the profound economic contributions and rich heritage that our Asian American and Pacific Islander communities share with all of us.”

Secretary Rai underscored that the partnership between the community, higher education institutions, and the government has led to exceptional outcomes for the residents of Maryland and Montgomery County. He further conveyed, “We are here to recognize the breadth and depth of talent serving Maryland with cultural roots from Asia and the Pacific Islands. There are so many wonderful and talented leaders serving with distinction and professionalism in the state of Maryland.”

As Secretary of Higher Education, Rai, noted, “We are singularly focused on leveraging higher education as a powerful tool to propel people forward and leave no one behind. Our agency is committed to addressing the numerous problems that far too long have hampered students’ success, institutional growth, and the creation of a cohesive workforce that is the fabric of Maryland’s vibrant economy.”

Secretary Wu said, “Our job is to create and foster opportunity and growth for all Marylanders and to help them connect to good jobs to help businesses, find the skilled workforce they need, and ensure safety in the workplace…” adding there are over 200,000 Asian American workers in the state of Maryland. According to her, the “incredibly diverse workforce” is a huge contributor to Maryland’s economic growth.

Kids performing Bhangra, a Punjabi folk dance, on May 22, 2024, in Rockville, Maryland. PHOTO: T. Vishnudatta Jayaraman, News India Times

She also thanked all the community organizations and volunteers for their service to the community, and for helping “preserve our cultures” and serving as a tool to pass on those values to future generations.

Montgomery County Executive, Marc Elrich recounted his visit to India and other Asian countries at the end of 2023, adding the County is actively working to attract Asian companies to the United States. He highlighted the strong technical presence and bio presence in Asia and emphasized that many people are eager to access US markets.

“We’ve been going abroad and telling people why they should come to Montgomery County and why this is the best place to locate… So, we take inclusion seriously here. We take opportunity for everybody seriously, and we believe that if we all work together, we’re gonna rise together,” adding he will be visiting India and other Asian countries again next year.

President of Montgomery College, Rockville, Jermaine Williams, Mayor of Rockville, Monique Ashton, Executive Director of GOCI, Rev. Lawrence Walker, Administrative Director of APAA and SAAA at GOCI, Christina Poy, Chair of Governor’s Commission on APAA, Yang Yu, and Commissioner, Governor’s Commission on SAAA, Arti Bhatt also spoke at the event where cultural performances representing India, China, Myanmar, Philippines, Hawaii, and Cambodia were presented.



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