Assemblymember Judy Chu

Today, we interviewed California Assemblymember Judy Chu who pioneered a number of hate crimes legislation to protect the rights of Sikh, Arab, and Muslim communities in California since September 11, 2001. She spoke with knowledge and eloquence about how lives have changed for many minorities who now fear discrimination in their own neighborhoods.

She remembers learning about the internment of Japanese Americans during World War II in college as a student of Asian American Studies. Her awareness of the power of fear and hysteria in times of war made her quick to respond to the hate crimes that swept the country after September 2001. We talked about the hate crimes bills she has passed, which expand the rights of hate victims and demands accurate reporting and tracking of hate crimes.

“When there is a war, there will be fear and hatred. As long as there is a war in Iraq, as long as there are incidents against Americans, then targeted groups have to be very careful. Sixty years ago, 120,000 Japanese Americans, US citizens by and large, were sent to concentration camps. No case of espionage was found. Yet nobody stood up for them. It is our policies that engender this hatred and violence. That’s why it’s the responsibility of government to be as proactive as possible and make sure that innocent people are not victimized.”

She concluded, “Injustices happen when good people do nothing.”