Durbin: to the People of Atlanta and the AAPI Community, I am Standing with You

In the wake of the mass shooting in Atlanta last night, Durbin called on Congress to pass his Domestic Terrorism Prevention Act, as well as gun violence prevention measures

WASHINGTON – Following a shooting in Atlanta where a gunman murdered eight people—six of whom were women of Asian descent—in what appears to be an act of domestic terrorism, U.S. Senate Majority Whip Dick Durbin (D-IL), Chair of the Senate Judiciary Committee, today spoke out against hate crimes targeting the Asian American and Pacific Islander (AAPI) community in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic.  In a speech on the Senate floor, Durbin also advocated for passage of his Domestic Terrorism Prevention Act and gun violence prevention measures.  Durbin noted that next week, the Senate Judiciary Committee will hold a hearing on gun violence in America.

“While local and federal authorities are still investigating the gunman’s motives, we know that in the past year, it has been a perilous time for Asian Americans and those from the Pacific Islands, especially women… This palpable fear is proof of how dangerous racist stereotypes and demagoguery can be,” Durbin said.  “The sad reality is that racist fearmongering has always been a part of the American story.  Today we know by testimony from the FBI Director it is a growing danger to every American.  Intelligence analysts warn us that white supremacist and other far-right extremists are the most significant domestic terrorism threat facing the United States… I have introduced a bipartisan bill in the Senate that would give law enforcement the resources to address this threat.  It’s called the Domestic Terrorism Prevention Act.”

Durbin continued, “Last night’s attack near Atlanta was a mass shooting, a uniquely American threat.  Next week, the Senate Judiciary Committee, which I chair, will hold a hearing on gun violence in America… how many times have we seen images in communities like we did last night of another mass shooting?  America is better than this.  We need to take action to reduce the number of gun deaths in this nation.”

Durbin concluded, “To the people of Atlanta, to members of the AAPI community all across America: we are standing with you.  We are grieving with you.  We’ll do everything in our power to protect you.”  

Video of Durbin’s remarks on the Senate floor is available here.

Audio of Durbin’s remarks on the Senate floor is available here.

Footage of Durbin’s remarks on the Senate floor is available here for TV Stations.