It comes after a mass shooter killed eight in Atlanta last week, including six Asian American women, as well as local violence targeting Asian Americans. The alleged Atlanta gunman denied racism as a motive, and authorities were looking at "sex addiction" as a possible explanation.
King County Executive Dow Constantine said during a news conference Monday that the coronavirus pandemic had led to particular hardship for the Asian American and Pacific Islander communities in the area – and blamed it on "White supremacy" and former President Donald Trump.
"The shame of racist smears and slurs from the former president of the United States during this public health crisis clearly ignited some of what was simmering beneath the surface and made the systemic inequities and discrimination worse and helped fuel the rise of hate that we’re seeing in this community and across the nation today," he said. "White supremacy and hate cannot be tolerated in King County, in Washington state, anywhere within the United States of America."
To that end, he announced the funding.
"Today I’m announcing the first part of our American Rescue Plan funding, where we will provide $5 million dollars in grants to community-based organizations that will increase funding for anti-hate and bias response and support the Coalition Against Hate and Bias," he said.
The county encompasses the city of Seattle and much of its suburbs.
The funds will come out of more than $400 million in taxpayer money headed to King County as part of the American Rescue Plan, the latest COVID-19 relief package, which Congress passed along party lines, the Seattle Times reported this week.
Separately, Washington Gov. Jay Inslee condemned anti-Asian racist attacks, which he said have increased in the state over the past year.
"This violent hate is not new – our Black, Indigenous and other communities of color have been victims of this insidious brand of cultural violence and White supremacy for centuries – but it remains no less urgent to defeat it," Democratic Gov. Jay Inslee tweeted Monday.
Inslee’s remarks follow a separate spa shooting that left an Asian man injured in Renton, Washington, last week. Renton, a suburb of Seattle, also falls within King County.