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About the Policy Tool

How can this tool can be used?

The Policy Tool provides information on federal and state statutes to facilitate connections between the lived experiences of AAPIs and possible legal protections/prohibitions that may be available to the community.

Please click on the “Select the Jurisdiction” dropdown menu to look to the specific state or federal statutes for the most updated information regarding the law at issue.

The information presented should not be considered legal advice, and you should contact an attorney or conduct independent research to learn more about these laws and whether they apply to your particular situation or question.

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Policy Briefs

Beyond the Hashtags and Slogans: The Role of AAPIs in Police Reform 

Civil rights attorney Je Yon Jung writes about the intersections of the Black-led movement against police brutality and the critical role that AAPIs must play in uniting for police reform. The piece explores the historical underpinnings of policing and the pathway to policing in the United States today. It demystifies the legal and practical basis for the enduring lack of police accountability in courtrooms and our society and why the movement to “defund the police” is not as radical as some believe.

Cover of report: Beyond the Hashtags and Slogans: The Role of AAPIs in Police Reform

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Frequently Asked Questions

We have prepared a list of answers to help you navigate and understand this tool.

1. What is the purpose of the Policy Tool?

This tool highlights various civil rights statutes that may prohibit discrimination on a variety of group classifications, including race, color, ethnicity, religion, sex/gender, and disability.

2. What is the difference between civil and criminal statutes?

Civil rights statutes provide a basis for legal protections against discrimination that, if violated, may entitle someone to recover monetary damages or other relief, such as ordering someone from doing something that is prohibited. Criminal statutes, such as hate crimes, prohibit individuals from harmful acts against a person or property that is motivated by prejudice on the basis of race, color, ethnicity, sex/gender, religion, etc. Violation of these statutes are crimes and are typically enforced by government prosecutors. The penalty for a hate crime may involve incarceration, fines, and/or restitution, among other things.

3. What is an example of a civil rights violation?

Larry Landlord advertises that he prefers white women as tenants or Larry Landlord told a prospective Black male renter that he had nothing available for rent when, in fact, he did have an available unit that he rented to a white female tenant. Larry Landlord may be in violation of state and federal fair housing laws in both scenarios. Prospective renters who read Larry Landlord’s advertisement and/or the prospective Black male renter may bring a lawsuit against the landlord in state or federal court for housing discrimination and seek monetary damages and other injunctive relief.

4. What is an example of a hate crime?

A person vandalizes a Sikh temple with racial and religious slurs and/or a Sikh man with a turban is assaulted and beaten by a man who expressed his animosity towards immigrants. In both examples, whether or not the Sikh man was an immigrant or not, the person may be prosecuted for a federal hate crime and, in many states, a state hate crime.

5. How do I use the Policy Tool?

You can identify the relevant civil rights statutes by state and review the relevant statutory language. The tool provides a general summary of the statute, but it also provides a hyperlink directly to the state statute so that you can go to the complete and most updated statute. You can also view state statutes and with federal statutes, side by side, to compare and contrast their protections.

6. What is the difference between a Law and a Policy?

A policy is typically aspirational and goal-oriented. It is an outline of desired outcomes and goals. A law is a required act or prohibition from doing certain acts, such as discriminating against someone on the basis or race, color, ethnicity, religion, sex/gender, etc. A violation of that law can subject you to criminal and/or civil penalties. There are federal and state laws, and sometimes they overlap. They typically do not and cannot contradict each other, but if they do, there is an analysis to determine if federal law is supreme over state law.