CAPAC Chair Statement on Meeting with President Biden and Vice President Harris

Apr 15, 2021

Washington, D.C. — Today, the leadership of the Congressional Asian Pacific American Caucus (CAPAC) met with President Joe Biden and Vice President Kamala Harris in the Oval Office to discuss critical priorities for the Asian American and Pacific Islander (AAPI) community. Meeting attendees included CAPAC Chair Rep. Judy Chu, First Vice Chair Rep. Grace Meng, Second Vice Chair Rep. Mark Takano, Freshman Representative Kaiali‘i Kahele, Senators Tammy Duckworth and Mazie Hirono, and Rep. Doris Matsui. CAPAC Chair Chu issued the following statement:

“I am so grateful to President Biden and Vice President Harris for inviting CAPAC to the White House today. Amid this historic time for the country, including a dramatic spike in anti-Asian violence, it means so much to know that AAPI priorities are being heard and listened to at the highest levels of our government.

“Our meeting today was warm and addressed a number of urgent priorities, like the importance of passing the American Jobs Plan, combating anti-Asian hate crimes, addressing COVID-19 disparities, fixing our broken immigration system, increasing AAPI representation in senior government roles, prioritizing data disaggregation and language access, reauthorizing the White House Initiative on AAPIs, and reaffirming the federal government’s commitment to advancing Native Hawaiian rights.

“My CAPAC colleagues and I also thanked President Biden for his selection of Erika Moritsugu as Deputy Assistant to the President and AAPI Senior Liaison, praising both Erika’s qualifications and the President’s commitment to ensuring AAPI priorities are addressed.

“We also stressed the critical need to ensure that crimes like the shootings in Georgia are classified as hate crimes. To that end, the President reiterated his strong support for the AAPI community in addressing anti-Asian hate, including the work that the Department of Justice is doing to combat anti-Asian hate crimes, as well as his support for Senator Hirono and Representative Meng’s COVID-19 Hate Crimes Act which was advanced in the Senate on Wednesday.

“I am also pleased that we were able to discuss the importance of ensuring that AAPI history is included in educational curricula. We also underscored the importance of creating a Smithsonian Asian Pacific American History Museum to ensure that all Americans understand the rich history and contributions of the AAPI community. And we discussed the need to prioritize AAPI data disaggregation and language access as a critical component of the President’s strong commitment to advancing racial equity throughout the federal government.

“It was incredibly meaningful to be able to raise these priorities with President Biden and Vice President Harris and to know that we have strong allies in the White House. I look forward to our continued work together to advance the needs of AAPIs and all Americans.”