On Monday, President Joe Biden officially signed a bill seeking to create a commission to study the feasibility of a museum dedicated to the AAPI community.
Upon signing the “Commission To Study the Potential Creation of a National Museum of Asian Pacific American History and Culture Act,” or H.R. 3525, into law, Biden proclaimed that generations of AAPI individuals “have literally shaped the history and the contours of this country.” As the bill’s name suggests, the initiative will set up a commission dedicated to reviewing the potential costs of the proposed National Museum of Asian Pacific American History and Culture. The commission will also consider where in Washington the museum will be built and whether it would be a part of the Smithsonian Institution.
“It’s about time for a national museum to capture the courage, the character, the imagination and, maybe from my perspective, looking at it from a little bit from a distance, the dreams and the heart and the soul of the generations of our fellow Americans that came before you,” Biden said.
Biden also recalled last year’s killing of six Asian women in Georgia, which he called “a symbol of anti-Asian hate in America today.”
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“Today it’s clear that the battle for the soul of America continues,” he said. “That’s why a museum like this is going to matter so much. Museums of this magnitude and consequence are going to inspire and educate. More than anything else, it’s going to help people see themselves in the story of America.”
Vice President Kamala Harris similarly highlighted the bill’s importance and personal significance to her.
“Growing up, my mother made sure that my sister Maya and I learned of the important, glorious history of Asian Americans, Native Hawaiians and Pacific Islanders in America,” she said. “Because that, of course, is part of the history of America.”
“To teach this history is to help all of us as Americans understand where we come from, and to teach this history is to help us understand who we are,” Harris added.
Rep. Grace Meng (D, NY-6), who proposed the bill in Congress, took to Twitter to celebrate the signing.
“I am ecstatic & overjoyed at this historic moment & honored & proud to have championed this crucial effort, especially after fighting for this legislation in Congress over the past 7 years. Asian Americans & Pacific Islanders have shaped our nation since its founding,” she wrote in a Twitter thread.