Reddit co-founder Alexis Ohanian on “flexible” work-life balance and the push for family leave

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Reddit co-founder Alexis Ohanian on

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In this episode of Facing Forward, Margaret Brennan talks with Alexis Ohanian – founder of Seven Seven Six and co-founder of Reddit, for a look at how COVID-19 has tore open existing social divides on tech, gender, work-life balance and more. 

Highlights

  • On Zoom culture post-COVID pandemic: “We’re going to start to see way better ways to do this kind of collaboration…the trend of flexible work is very much here to stay.”
  • On preserving Section 230: “You’re seeing Republicans and Democrats agreeing on something which these days is pretty rare. I do think, so as it extends to Section 230, I think Section 230 is a very, very, very important part of the Internet. And I would not advocate seeing that get destroyed.”
  • On the push for more family leave policies in the business and tech world: “Post COVID, gone are the days that we used to think there was like home life and work life.. I know I’m not doing my best work unless I know the home front is in a good place.

Download, rate and subscribe here: Apple Podcasts, Spotify and Stitcher

“Facing Forward”: Alexis Ohanian transcript

Producers: Richard Escobedo, Anne Hsu, Kelsey Micklas


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NEW YORK, NEW YORK – MAY 21: Alexis Ohanian attends The Wall Street Journal’s Future Of Everything Festival at Spring Studios on May 21, 2019 in New York City.

Tom Williams


MARGARET BRENNAN: You know, I think you’re our third UVA alum on the pod. 

OHANIAN: Okay–

MARGARET BRENNAN: And we’re like a new pod so–

OHANIAN: Sounds like a little bit of bias. We got one Wahoos doing big things. 

MARGARET BRENNAN: I was thinking about the very first time I met you was at a University of Virginia event for alums back in New York. And it was–

OHANIAN: Way back.

MARGARET BRENNAN: Yeah. And it was at this swanky, like, very buttoned-up midtown Manhattan club. And you sauntered in wearing headphones and a hoodie.

OHANIAN: That sounds about right. Very professional.

MARGARET BRENNAN: Which is like standard tech uniform, but I was like, what- what’s going to happen on this panel?

OHANIAN: Yeah. 

MARGARET BRENNAN: We were supposed to be talking about the future of media and then you rocked it and you took us in the social direction. And you talked about changing information flows. And that’s what fascinated me in your thinking. And then we started regularly talking about tech investing at that time. I wanted to start with you today on that sort of big picture thinking on trends because you’re good at this stuff. Do you think, given the year we’ve spent now in this pandemic, bizarro land, that, you know, Zoom meetings die by next year? Or have we permanently changed our relationship with technology?

OHANIAN: The way I think about it, Zoom meetings definitely don’t go away. And- and the way I’ve been describing it to folks is the pandemic accelerated tech adoption. What would have taken five years happened in five months. And- and that’s why you’re seeing the numbers you’re seeing out of tech companies. And- and that’s not just large evaluations. That’s huge gains in revenue. We’ve had companies just, you know, really, really benefit, frankly, from the fact that a whole lot of new people, millions of new people, learned for the first time at no cost to the companies about their services and about what they offered. And connecting us at work remotely is something that has been- it was kind of a niche thing for a while. There were examples of billion dollar businesses that were formed entirely remote. But now it’s really, really shifted everyone’s perception about what the office looks like. But the tools that we’re using right now, the Zooms and others, think of those as like Bronze Age tools. These are still really, really basic ways to do work in a distributed world. And the good news is now that so many people’s attention and livelihood is focused on it, those tools are going to get much better, much faster. And- and we’re going to start to see way better ways to- to do this kind of collaboration. And so, Zoom fatigue is real, and- and it’s a byproduct of the fact that we all got forced to do really high-level work with, like I said, Bronze Age technology. And- and that’s going to catch up, though. And so I definitely think the trend of at least flexible work is- is very much here to stay.

MARGARET BRENNAN: Do you think that there will be kind of a backlash, though, like that there’s, I mean, I was looking at some of the companies that you are investing in right now and this Dispo, is it- the disposable camera? And it looks like it sounds to me like it’s kind of like technology nostalgia for the 90s. That’s like delayed gratification, where you take a photo on an app, but then you wait until the next day to see what it looks like.

OHANIAN: Yeah, it’s- it’s- it’s anachronistic to think about this being the hottest trend in “Gen Z” right now. And it’s funny right because that generation has no idea what it means to take a photo and have to wait to get it developed. And yet, you know, we- we- we don’t feel, you know, we don’t miss it that much because it was kind of a pain. But the delayed gratification part, yeah, that’s- that’s actually a novel phenomenon for “Gen Z.” And- and the reason Dispo has had the success it’s had out the gate is because it’s part of a bigger trend, a- a reaction to the first wave of social media. You know, Instagram created a culture where people spend as much time or more time on their phones at events, taking photos, editing photos, perfecting photos than actually living in the moment. And- and I think we’ve seen the negative effects of that. And I’m grateful to be on the ground floor as an investor in a company that’s thinking really deliberately about how to build a healthier social network, how to build a place where yeah you can share photos of your friends, God bless, take photos, have fun. But you’re spending time with those people you care about and not living in your phone during those times. And that is the start of a much bigger trend. I think consumer social is- is clearly back. And more importantly, all of the people building it grew up for the last 15 years using the things that I and my generation built. And yeah, we got a lot of things right. We also got a lot of things wrong. And- and they’re now building way more intentionally because they’ve seen the good and the bad and the ugly of the first wave of social. And this second wave is going to absolutely be a healthier, more positive one, because the CEOs want it, because the CEOs- the founders demand it. And- and frankly, I think the user base does, too.

MARGARET BRENNAN: So you and your friends in your dorm room at UVA were far more productive. 

OHANIAN: Hancock.

MARGARET BRENNAN: You were in Hancock?

OHANIAN: Yeah. Hancock, first left. Everyone who didn’t go to UVA is like–

MARGARET BRENNAN: It was new dorms?

OHANIAN: No, it was old dorms. Come on.

MARGARET BRENNAN: That’s old dorms? Oh, I was in new dorms. I went for the AC, man. I don’t know how you all lived in old dorms.

MARGARET BRENNAN: But you were far more productive in your dorm room than I was, because you and your friends founded Reddit while you were undergrads. We know, fast forward to today, you have resigned from that board, but you are thinking about social media. And I want to pick up on this idea you’re talking about of being intentional. What do you think that means? What- what do you think of Reddit, what- what do you think of Reddit’s legacy in- in this space?

OHANIAN: Yeah, look, this is the reality of every one of those first generation social media platforms was- and our stories were all fairly similar, right? We all- we all look the same too but our stories were very similar in that none of us genuinely knew the scale and impact to which these platforms would have. And- and so we weren’t building intentionally. We were just building to, you know, make our parents proud or- or build something that we enjoyed working on every day. At least those were my motivations and- and have- have a career where we could dictate our own, you know, be our own boss. And that was the goal. That was it. And everything else was just gravy. And what has happened is, you know, 15 years later, these platforms have such a huge impact on our world, on- on elections, on society, on discourse, on- on everything. And a lot of unintended consequences. And so last year was a formative year for- for a lot of us, myself included, and it gave me a time to really reflect on what I wanted that legacy of mine to be for- for my daughter, frankly. That’s- that’s it’s easy- I know you like team- team, parent over here. Like, it’s such a crystallizing thing to- to- to then look at everything you’ve done and feel so proud for so many years and realize none of it really mattered because this little being is now everything. I- I want to make sure that the work that I’m doing is having a very positive impact and something that, you know, my daughter is super proud of. She’s going to have- she’s going to have lots of people her entire life telling her how amazing her mom is. And that’s- that’s great, rightly so. And- and what an impact she’s had. And I’m- I’m a very competitive person who wants, I want her to hear lots of amazing stories about the work that her dad has done, and how her dad made his money and and for her to be proud of all those things and to say, you know what, he’s- he’s put in the work to make this world a little better for me and lots of people like me. And- and that was it. I mean, that- I think I’m in many ways riding on a much bigger wave now because this next generation of CEO is just so much smarter, so much savvier and- and so much more aware of the implications of what they’re building.

MARAGARET BRENNAN: You know, I have- I have a two and a half year old son. I think your daughter’s a little older than that. 

OHANIAN: Olympia. Three. Yeah. 

MARGARET BRENNAN: FaceTime, you know, we rely on that right now to talk to grandparents and all that. But then I think about his interaction with technology. I mean, has- do you let Olympia use iPads? I mean, have you thought yet about what- what your child’s relationship with technology is going to be like?

OHANIAN: Yeah- yeah. And not surprisingly, if you talk to a lot of tech execs, especially those of us who have built product, especially consumer product, we’re all very reluctant to get our kids on there because we know these tools are developed to- to really prey upon human weakness. And I know that- that sounds– 

MARGARET BRENNAN: Ouch. 

OHANIAN: –very sinister. 

MARGARET BRENNAN: Yeah. 

OHANIAN: No, that sounds very sinister, but I- let me reframe that. It’s- the reality, though, is right, every push notification you’re getting is- is triggering a little dopamine hit to- to get you to want to come back. And that in and of itself is not a bad thing. What is so important, though, for a child’s brain is- and the reason why we’re really, really specific about, you know, iPad or iPhone usage is because I don’t want to put her baby brain under that- or I don’t want to expose her baby brain to those conditions–

MARGARET BRENNAN: Right. 

OHANIAN: –this early while it’s still developing. I have- I think as adults, it’s a very different discussion because adults make adult consequences, are brain or make adult decisions. Our brains are fully formed, et cetera. But when you start using those triggers on the brain of a kid, that’s where I- I don’t want- I don’t want those two to ever meet, simply because that kind of, I don’t know, those kinds of tools that drive engagement and drive, you know, taps, I don’t want- I don’t want messing with my kid’s head. I know at times in our household, my kid was- or my television was my sort of babysitter because my- my parents were busy working and doing stuff. But in hindsight, like that lean back experience, assuming the programming is age appropriate, not so bad. And I’m definitely guilty of being like, okay great, we can like Olympia, let’s put on Paw Patrol or Bubble Guppies. And- and the nice thing is because I know what that program is about, if I pass out for 20 minutes, I’m- it’s fine. Whereas and this is why, you know, we had- we had YouTube on the family iPad for a little bit. And I- I recently took it off because I was just like, I just can’t, is because, you know, that recommendation engine, that’s- right- that’s designed for adult brains. That’s designed to keep feeding us sort of more of exactly what we need. And- and you don’t know where that rabbit hole goes. 

MARGARET BRENNAN: Do you think then that like CEOs of tech companies should be held accountable for how their platforms are used? I mean, you- you see this in Washington gaining momentum across the aisle. You know–

OHANIAN: Yeah.

MARGARET BRENNAN: –Republicans complain about censorship. On the left you hear these complaints about the tech companies becoming too big and needing to break them up. Like what level of accountability should there be for- for CEOs and founders?

OHANIAN: Well, I think something is inevitable at this point because you’re right, you’re seeing Republicans and Democrats agreeing on something which these days is pretty rare. I do think, so as it extends to Section 230, I think Section 230 is a very, very, very important part of the Internet. And- and I would not advocate seeing that get destroyed. I do think when we’re talking about accountability and responsibility, at least when it comes to children, you have a really straightforward, I think a- a pretty much straightforward alignment. I think every CEO, or there- there aren’t many CEOs who I think can- can forever shake that responsibility. Because- because we’re talking about children here. And- and at the end of the day, this is- this is a platform that is not just distracting our kids, but educating our kids and informing our kids about the world. And there are real consequences to that. And- and they’re both, they’re- they’re good ones. And- and there are bad ones. And I think we’ve now- we’ve far- we’ve gone far beyond the period of like, aw shucks, we don’t know. We’re just this little startup. The role that technology companies are playing in our society is getting- it’s bigger and bigger every day. And- and so I think it’s absolutely inevitable. And I do think this is a part of the conversation that’s been put off for- for too long. And certainly when it comes to user safety, is- is really, really, really important.

MARGARET BRENNAN: And 230 is about basically protecting websites from- from third party postings. Right? Like you- you can’t be held liable for somebody else posting on that platform.

OHANIAN: It is- that is the act that makes all of the Internet work or- or the vast majority of the Internet, any- any site that has user-generated content. Even- even the comments section of your favorite sports website or sports blog, like requires it. And- and so I think there’s absolutely look, there’s- everyone talks about the scalpel versus the sledgehammer. Definitely not a sledgehammer situation, but I do think there are ways to- to build in more things that help- help do what I- I think most of these CEOs want, which is keep users safe and keep the platform open, but while still preserving the ability for people to feel like they can, you know, find a home there or- or find sort of basic safety there.

MARGARET BRENNAN: But you are still investing in- in social networking, right? You’re–

OHANIAN: I am. 

MARGARET BRENNAN: –you’ve got something called Realtime. I mean, is this just- even post pandemic, we’re going to be living on our phones to a certain extent?

OHANIAN: I think- I think it’s similar to the return to work, it’s going to be hybrid. They’re going to be people for whom the connections are never better and never stronger, totally digitally, because they’re able to find, you know, deep human connections over wonderful things, over silly things and actually find deep friendships. And then there are going to be- there are going to absolutely be apps, I mean Realtime is a good example, designed around making a connection and then- and then actually eventually bringing it to offline and actually giving you an excuse to meet up. And, you know, post- post pandemic, I’m expecting the next few years to be a huge boom when it comes to, you know, parties, events, gatherings. I think even just being in Melbourne, which was- was COVID-free for most of the time that we were there and being able to go out in the city, after a 14-day quarantine, but then being able to go out in the city freely, you just felt a buzz. People are going to be more motivated than ever to spend time with other humans. How they use that time and with whom they spend it, that is where the technology comes in. It does not replace human interaction. It just increases the likelihood of having good experiences.

MARGARET BRENNAN: I want to ask you about that, because you’re talking about travel to Australia for the Australian Open, and I’m jealous you were actually on a plane, but I’m going to take a quick break here. And we’ll be right back. 

OHANIAN: Alright. 

MARGARET BRENNAN: So, Alexis, stay with us. 

OHANIAN: Sure. 

*COMMERCIAL*

MARGARET BRENNAN: So, Alexis, do you play tennis?

OHANIAN: I do not play tennis. I’ve never played tennis before, never picked up a racket. 

MARGARET BRENNAN: Really?

OHANIAN: Really, really.

MARGARET BRENNAN: I was looking at- I was looking at Instagram. And there are these adorable videos of Serena Williams, your wife, with your daughter, who’s adorable, holding a tennis racket, which for me would be incredibly intimidating to pick up a tennis racket in front of Serena Williams. But I- I did wonder that if you ever played.

OHANIAN: I have never played and I have no intention of playing. I never even followed the sport. I didn’t- I thought it was a boring country club hobby. I did not think it was a real sport. And I was so, so, so, so, so, so wrong. I’ll fully admit it. And- and now I’m- I could not be a bigger fan. And not just because my wife. I mean, that’s a big part of it. But I- for, as someone who played team sports growing up and- and grew up in a very like American football household, and that was, you know, that was everything. I really slept on tennis for lots of reasons, not the least of which was I didn’t appreciate how incredibly demanding it is, not just physically, which it absolutely is, but mentally. You know, Olympia is getting her tennis lessons. And- and I promised that if she started playing, I would at least- I would at least do enough to keep up with her and be able to be a good tennis dad. But- but we’ll see. I’m trying to get her into football or soccer, and she loves kicking. And so- and that one I at least have some competency in. So we’ll see. We’ll see which way she goes.

MARGARET BRENNAN: So what was it like traveling mid-pandemic? I mean, literally across the world? The Australians take quarantine very seriously, right?

OHANIAN: Very seriously. And- and credit to the- the Australian Tennis Organisation. They did a heck of a job and they were, you know, chartering flights for all the players and families and teams. And so, yeah, we had a long flight from L.A. and then settled into 14 days of quarantine in Adelaide with a bunch of the other players and our teams and stuff. And so, yeah, we were, you know, had a three year old in- in a hotel room for a couple of weeks. But Olympia was great. And frankly, I don’t- I don’t mind- I don’t mind quarantine that much, because as long as I have an Internet connection and my computer, it’s basically- it’s basically my life anyway. But she- she was a trooper. And- and yeah the payoff, kudos to the Australians because the payoff was, you know, you come out, you breathe- you breathe air walking around outside. No one’s got to wear a mask and everyone is, you know, healthy and safe. And that first night out, I’ll- I remember I went to a Greek restaurant and it’s just, like I said, everyone just buzzing and- and I- it makes me optimistic for once we finally wipe this thing out. The next few years should be really, really, I think, roaring as folks are already comparing it to the Roaring Twenties or potentially comparing it to the Roaring Twenties of the 1920s. I absolutely am seeing it. And- and it was just nice for the first time to be in a stadium full of people, watching a sport, and it was- it was an exhibition in Adelaide, and, yeah, it just felt it felt so wonderful to be back and and I- I know and I can’t wait to- I wish I could have bottled up that feeling and given it to everyone because it’s- there- there is light at the end of the tunnel and we’re close. And I just can’t wait for it.

MARGARET BRENNAN: Yeah, well they- they take it very seriously there.

OHANIAN: Yes.

MARGARET BRENNAN: I mean, for you, I’ve read where you said you would rather be known as Olympia’s dad and Serena Williams husband versus the founder of Reddit. 

OHANIAN: That’s right. 

MARGARET BRENNAN: And you’ve been an advocate for families and that’s important for us, particularly on this podcast. I want to ask you, though, when it comes to the companies you decide to invest in, do you require them to have specific standards of paid leave, for example?

OHANIAN: You know, okay, so we- not yet. We actually have something that we’re- we’re working on. The new fund is only a- really only a few months old. But we’re working on a document that would be a version of this kind of covenant where- where we would, you know, upon investing say, look, this is a thing that we’re asking you to sign too. Now, the companies we invest in tend to be very, very early stage. So like there’s two founders. And so in reality, there isn’t really a need for any paid policy because there’s no employees and it’s just the two founders. And frankly, the company may not even be around in another year. 

MARGARET BRENNAN: Right.

OHANIAN: But one of the things we expect, certainly once a company has raised a series A, which is around the time when they’ve now- they’ve got product market fit, they’re in a growth stage, they’re able to raise usually a few million dollars and they have real money in the bank is when we actually sit down with them and start working on this. One of the ways we knew we could support our companies from day one was actually- so 1% of every dollar that we invest in a company we set aside for them to use for any family care needs. And I think we’re still the only venture fund that does this. I hope- hope one day we’ll be one of many. We set aside 1% of our investment as dollars that are coming from us, as well as from our investors who have committed to this as well, and that 1% of dollars can be used for any family care needs. We know that that investment is worth it because, you know, family is- is so fundamental to so much of what we do. And- and we can’t expect a founder to do their best work if they’re struggling with those things. And if we take care of them in their earliest days, our bet is they’re also going to be way more inclined to take care of their employees as their company starts growing. 

MARGARET BRENNAN: That’s a huge point- decision to make in the beginning, in the inception, because one of the things we hear, I’ve- I’ve heard it from lawmakers, I’ve heard from female lawmakers that, you know, the constituents they represent were small business owners, can’t afford to do these things. They just can’t afford what a big corporation could for their own employees. And then it becomes, well, then kick it to the federal government and then we continue talking about it. But it doesn’t actually get legislated broadly. I mean, do you think that it has to come down to the private sector or would you object to a federal mandate? You know, like what a federal mandate really hurt some of the innovation that you’re talking about because these startups can’t afford it on day one?

OHANIAN:  I would- So I was- I was campaigning for, and really happy to see that we got 12 weeks of paid family leave for federal workers– 

MARGARET BRENNAN: Yes, that was big. 

OHANIAN: –that was when President Trump signed that, and that was huge. I really would love to see this be something that- that is an option for- for any American, not just, you know, federal employees. I do think the private sector is going to have to keep pushing this forward and showing certainly in all the companies that can afford it should be feeling the social pressure at this point to be offering it. And that’s not just to moms, but also to dads and not just for, you know, sort of childbirth, but also for adoption. And I think we’re going to get there pretty quickly over the next few years because, you know, top talent has so much leverage in this market and all of the most valuable employees are, you know, they’re- they’re now pretty well exposed to paid family leave policies. So that I think it’s going to be very hard to get top talent at a large firm unless you offer the same. So I think we win the day there. And then yeah, from the- from the smaller businesses, you know, a firm like ours can do things like this in order to provide opportunities for early stage companies that can’t afford it. And- and my hope is, is that there is some solution that comes from, you know, a federal policy that actually makes it accessible for all so that the burden is not on the small business owner, but- but actually it comes as a government benefit. And I think one of the reasons why you’re seeing millennials be so slow with- with having children comes back to this, just the financials of it, having the economic security–

MARGARET BRENNAN: Right.

OHANIAN: –to feel like it’s time to have a kid like that’s real. 

MARGARET BRENNAN: Right. 

OHANIAN: And I try to, you know, I think about this even within my own firms, where, like I’m pushing even the men to take full advantage of their paid family leave policies, because I want to see them supporting their partners in a way that makes sense for their families so that they can do the best work they can do when they’re at the office. I- I think gone- especially now post-COVID, gone are the days that we used to think there was like home life and work life. Like you bring your home problems to work, you bring your work problems to home. And the idea that men were immune from this was a farce, right? I know that- I know that it matters just as much to them. And so that’s why I’ve been such an advocate for the paternity leave side, because it’s- it’s just it’s fundamental. I know I’m not doing my best work unless I know the home front is in a good place. And- and I’ve seen it time and time again now with employees, both both men and women.

MARGARET BRENNAN:  And lastly, you wore a T-shirt the other day that got a lot of attention. It said “greatest athlete” with the word “female” crossed out. I loved it. Why’d you wear it? Do you think the gender qualifier diminishes achievement?

OHANIAN: Yeah, I think- I mean, why I wore it was Nike sends me merch and sometimes I like it and I wear it. And, you know, I- I’ve never been a stranger to courting controversy. And look, I think- I think when we’re- we- one of the things I love about the sport is the fact that we can, as- as much of a level playing field as it is, sports fans, we still get to have these endless debates and discussions about all of this stuff, which is wonderful. I do think the qualifier is a problem simply because if we’re really talking about greatness, it’s a pretty insulting thing to qualify it with- with gender. To say, you know, we’re, it would be, I mean, if- if we’re OK with that, then we have to- if the next time someone mentions like, oh, Elon Musk is the greatest entrepreneur of our generation, they need to say Elon Musk is the greatest male entrepreneur of our generation. And why does that feel uncomfortable? Because I guess as a society, we’ve decided that it’s OK to just generalize. And- and so then why should sport be any different? If we want to- if we want to talk about greatness, we should consider it across the board. And, you know, I- I like, I guess on some level, I really- I really have a front row seat to what it has taken Serena for at least, you know, the last five years to do what she does and do it so well. And- and it just feels- it feels like an insulting qualifier, because at the end of the day, we’re talking about humans being great at that sport. And I really, I want- I want my daughter to live in a world, I want everyone’s daughters to live in a world where we don’t put an asterisk on it or we don’t find some way to say, well, look, OK, but this is different–

MARGARET BRENNAN: Right. 

OHANIAN: –because of blank. And I want to live in a world where- where, you know, little boys have posters of Alex Morgan on their wall and think she’s great and have a poster of her right next to a poster of Messi. And, you know, what Serena and Venus have done for sport at a time admittedly before I was watching tennis, you know, put them on the walls right alongside male counterparts and- and, you know, in many ways exceeded. And I think that’s- it’s a- in- in- in many ways, it’s still one of these last frontiers where sports still for all of its advantages, for all of the progress that it’s made, still has these hang ups. And yeah, I like wearing T-shirts that upset people on Twitter and excite people on Twitter. And let’s keep the conversation going on it because, yeah, I- I don’t want to see that qualifier.

MARGARET BRENNAN: Well, amen. And we appreciate it. So much more we could talk to you about, Alexis, but I know you got to run. Thank you for your time–

OHANIAN: Got to have me back sometime, MARGARET. Anytime.

MARGARET BRENNAN: Yeah, we’d love it.

*COMMERCIAL*

MARGARET BRENNAN: AND A QUICK LOOK AT AN IMPORTANT BUT UNDERREPORTED STORY. AROUND THE COUNTRY ASIAN-AMERICANS ARE REPORTING A SPIKE IN HATE CRIMES BUT IN SOME STATES IT IS STILL HARD TO PROSECUTE THEIR ATTACKERS.

A HANDFUL OF STATES INCLUDING WYOMING, ARKANSAS, INDIANA AND SOUTH CAROLINA STILL DON’T HAVE ANTI-BIAS LAWS ON THE BOOKS, ACCORDING TO THE ANTI-DEFAMATION LEAGUE. NOW AT THE FEDERAL LEVEL THERE IS NEW PRESSURE TO CLOSE THESE LEGAL LOOPHOLES. 

*TAKE SOT*

REPRESENTATIVE JUDY CHU: RIGHT NOW, THE ABILITY TO FIGHT HATE CRIMES IS VERY UNEVEN ACROSS THE DIFFERENT JURISDICTIONS. 

*END SOT*

CALIFORNIA CONGRESSWOMAN JUDY CHU, A DEMOCRAT WHO CHAIRS THE ASIAN PACIFIC AMERICAN CAUCUS, IS ADVOCATING FOR A NEW LAW THAT WOULD ALLOW THE DEPARTMENT OF JUSTICE TO GIVE GRANTS TO STATES AND LOCAL GOVERNMENTS TO IMPROVE THE WAY HATE CRIMES ARE TRACKED AND REPORTED.

THE RECENT BRUTAL DEADLY ASSAULT ON AN 84-YEAR-OLD THAI AMERICAN MAN IN SAN FRANCISCO HAS BROUGHT RENEWED ATTENTION TO THE ONGOING ISSUE.

*SOT*

VICHA RATANAPADKEE’S DAUGHTER BELIEVES IT WAS A HATE CRIME. HE WAS VIOLENTLY SHOVED IN BROAD DAYLIGHT… AND LATER DIED. A 19-YEAR-OLD HAS SINCE BEEN CHARGED WITH MURDER.

“STOP AAPI HATE,” AN ADVOCACY GROUP THAT TRACKS THESE CASES, SAYS MORE THAN THREE THOUSAND INCIDENTS HAVE BEEN REPORTED SINCE THE PANDEMIC BEGAN IN MARCH OF LAST YEAR. LAST MONTH PRESIDENT BIDEN ISSUED AN EXECUTIVE ORDER CALLING FOR THE FEDERAL GOVERNMENT TO BEGIN COLLECTING DATA ABOUT INCIDENTS DIRECTED AT ASIAN AMERICANS AND PACIFIC ISLANDERS.

IT’S A STEP THAT COULD MAKE A BIG DIFFERENCE FOR THE ASIAN AMERICAN COMMUNITY… AND POTENTIALLY FOR ALL COMMUNITIES OF COLOR.

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This article is sourced from CBS News

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