April 6, 2021
Washington, D.C. — President Joe Biden announced Wednesday additional action steps to respond to the growing number anti-Asian hate crimes and hate incidents, as well as ways to better protect the Asian American, Native Hawaiian, and Pacific Islander (AANHPI) communities. Provisions of the announcement include instituting a multi-faceted Department of Justice initiative to address anti-Asian violence, creating a COVID-19 Equity Task Force committee to work toward ending xenophobia against Asian Americans, and establishing a fund for AAPI survivors of domestic violence and sexual assault.
Asian Americans Advancing Justice, an affiliation of five independent Asian American civil rights organizations, releases the following statement:
“We applaud the actions the Biden Administration is taking to better protect and serve the AAPI community. Many of these steps are what our organizations have been advocating for long before the COVID-19 pandemic. While the January 26 Presidential Memorandum acknowledging and condemning the harm caused by harassment and discrimination against AAPIs was an important first step, we are heartened to see tangible results arise from President Biden’s week one promises.
The global pandemic has exacerbated anti-Asian and xenophobic sentiments felt by members of the Asian American community for decades. From the incarceration of Japanese Americans during World War II to the racial targeting of Arab, Middle Eastern, Muslim, and South Asian people following 9/11, the scapegoating and gaslighting of our experiences as Asian Americans throughout history is nothing new.
President Biden’s action step of translating important hate crimes information into Chinese, Japanese, Korean, Tagalog, and Vietnamese is a move in the right direction to eliminate language access barriers and provide transparency with Limited English Proficiency individuals in the AAPI community.
Re-establishing the White House Initiative on Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders, providing funding for community-led solutions, as well as investing in better data and research on our communities will be important in addressing racial equity in the long-term. We are grateful to see that the Biden-Harris Administration has been listening closely to the demands of AAPI civil rights organizations to re-examine how the federal government collects data and addresses the hate incidents, hate crimes, and harassment AAPIs are experiencing.
At the same time, we want to call back to mind the need to confront and uproot the systems of white supremacy that feed into the historic targeting, over-policing, and criminalizing of communities of color in the U.S. We also reiterate the importance of increased awareness of Asian American history, which is fundamentally American history, and the expansion of hate crimes information translations into additional AAPI languages.
The Asian Americans Advancing Justice affiliation appreciates the commitment from the Biden Administration to protect Asians and Asian Americans, and will continue to work to advance the needs of our communities.
We encourage impacted individuals to keep sharing their experiences of hate on StandAgainstHatred.org, which not only allows us to better inform hate crimes response and prevention efforts, but also connect victims with legal assistance and resources.”