The White House announced on Tuesday new plans to address the rise of anti-Asian violence reported throughout the country.
Leaders speak out about the rise of anti-Asian violence: In the wake of the Atlanta shootings on March 16 which took the lives of eight people including six Asian women, Asian American lawmakers and activists gathered for a congressional hearing held by the House Judiciary Committee.
- Congresswoman Judy Chu of California and Grace Meng of New York testified that former President Donald Trump’s rhetoric fueled racist attacks against people of Asian descent, according to CBS.
- Trump had put “a bull’s eyes on the back of Asian Americans across this country, on our grandparents, on our kids,” Meng said.
- Meng also reintroduced a bill addressing anti-Asian American hate crimes in February.
- Senator Tammy Duckworth added, “Blaming the AAPI community for a public health crisis is racist and wrong.”
- Congressman Steve Cohen, the chair of the Subcommittee on the Constitution, Civil Rights, and Civil Liberties, noted that “anti-Asian hate did not begin with the COVID-19 pandemic, and it will not end when the pandemic is over. All the pandemic did was exacerbate latent anti-Asian prejudices that have a long and ugly history in America.”
- President Joe Biden also addressed the attacks in the aftermath of the shooting.
- “Too many Asian Americans have been walking up and down the streets and worrying, waking up each morning the past year feeling their safety and the safety of their loved ones are at stake,” he said in a statement. “They’ve been attacked, blamed, scapegoated, and harassed. They’ve been verbally assaulted, physically assaulted, killed…”
- Acknowledging that racism against the AAPI community is “often met with silence,” Biden encouraged Americans to speak out and act on these issues.
The details: In a fact sheet released by the White House on Tuesday, the Biden administration laid out new actions to combat the violence and “advance safety, inclusion, and belonging for all Asian American, Native Hawaiian, and Pacific Islander communities.”
- Biden will reinstate the White House Initiative on AAPI which will expand upon the original mandate to combat “anti-Asian violence at the intersection of gender-based violence” by meeting with AAPI leaders and organizations to foster community engagement.
- Biden will also appoint a director to coordinate policies that affect AAPI communities.
- $49.5 million from the American Rescue Plan at the Department of Health and Human Services will be allocated to fund programs that help AAPI survivors of domestic violence and sexual assault.
- Stemming from Biden’s Memorandum condemning AAPI xenophobia from his first week in office, the Department of Justice (DOJ) will establish an agency-wide initiative to address anti-Asian violence.
- Actions taken by the DOJ so far include but are not limited to re-initiating community outreach programs, publishing a page that highlights anti-Asian hate crimes on the FBI’s Crime Data Explorer website, updating the DOJ hate crimes website to be more accessible in the four most spoken AAPI languages, partnering with organizations to increase awareness of these crimes and training law enforcement to recognize and report anti-Asian bias.
- The National Endowment for the Humanities will launch a virtual bookshelf that celebrates Asian Americans’ contributions and provides resources to learn about the United States’ history of anti-Asian discrimination and racism.
- The National Science Foundation is supporting more than 100 grants costing over $33 million dollars to further research that will address racism against AAPI communities.
The StopAAPI organization said that 3,795 incidents of anti-Asian racism were self-reported to the center from March 19, 2020, to Feb. 28, 2021.