Congresswoman fights back against Anti-Asian hate

By Raymond Nava

leaders united—House speaker Nancy Pelosi (left) sits with Rep. Judy Chu during a talk at East Los Angeles College in 2019.

Congresswoman Judy Chu has recently been an outspoken voice in the aftermath of recent attacks on Asian Americans. 

Chu spoke out strongly after a mass shooting at three Asian spas in Georgia that took the lives of eight people, six of which were Asian Americans. 

Chu has recently been in the news for fiercely speaking out against the recent wave of attacks on Asian Americans, most significantly the shooting at three Asian spas in Georgia that killed 8 people. 

In the aftermath, Chu said she strongly believed that the attack was a hate crime, noting that the gunmen’s first attack was at a business called “Young’s Asian Spa” and said he could have chosen any other place in his vicinity but chose to drive miles out and target two other Asian spas. 

Though Chu may not have widespread national name recognition, she’s been a fixture in Southern California for many years. 

Chu has held local office in her early career in addition to 20 years as a college psychology professor, 13 of which were spent at East Los Angeles College teaching Introduction to Psychology and Psychological Aspects of Human Sexuality. 

Chu currently represents the 27th District which covers ELAC.

Chu was elected to the Monterey Park City Council in 1988. While she was serving on the city council, she continued to teach at ELAC and during her bid for a second term, she said she would continue to teach at the campus regardless of if she was reelected or not. 

Chu also said if she was reelected, she would make sure ELAC and Monterey Park would continue to have good relations, showing her dedication to the college. 

Chu won her bid for a second term. During her time on the city council she also served as Mayor of Monterey Park.

Chu would later go on to be elected to the House of Representatives from what was then the 32nd District in 2009 in a special election. 

Chu faced Republican Betty Chu in what was dubbed the “Chu-Chu Runoff” by Judy Chu’s campaign consultant. 

Both Chu’s were related by marriage, as Betty Chu was married to Judy Chu’s first cousin, though both hardly knew or liked each other according Judy Chu’s campaign consultant. Judy Chu defeated Betty Chu on Nov. 3, 2009. 

At the time of her election, she was the first Chinese American woman elected to the seat.  Wong told ELAC Campus News at the time that Chu’s win “sounds good because she is Asian and I think she would help.” 

Chu testified at a House Judiciary Subcommittee hearing on discrimination against Asian Americans on March 18. 

At the hearing, Chu put part of the blame for the rise in anti-Asian American attacks on former President Donald Trump. Chu said Trump used racial slurs such as “Wuhan virus,” “kung flu” and “China plague.”

Chu also believes that even though Trump is no longer president, she said the continued rise in attacks are the aftermath of a whole year of his anti-Asian-American rhetoric. Chu herself is no stranger to racist Anti-Asian attacks. 

Throughout the ‘90s, Chu had been the target of what she called “libelous statements’’ from Frank Arcuri’s publication “The Citizen’s Voice,” some of which included anti-Asian sentiment.

In a speech Chu gave on the floor of the House of Representatives on March 19, Chu noted that since the pandemic started last year, about 3,800 hate crimes against Asian Americans have been reported. 

She said while they initially started as just “dirty looks and verbal assault,” they quickly escalated into violent assaults that in some cases have led to deaths. 

At the conclusion of her speech, Chu said “We must work together to stop Asian hate.”

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