CAPAC Members Welcome President Biden’s Latest Actions to Protect Asian Americans from Violence

Mar 30, 2021

Washington, D.C. — Today, President Biden announced additional actions to respond to the rise in anti-Asian violence and to address the inequalities Asian Americans, Native Hawaiians, and Pacific Islanders have faced throughout the coronavirus pandemic. These historic actions build on the President’s week one “Presidential Memorandum Condemning and Combating Racism, Xenophobia, and Intolerance Against Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders in the United States” by reestablishing the White House Initiative on Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders, providing $49.5 million to help AAPI survivors of domestic violence and sexual assault, creating a COVID-19 Equity Task Force Subcommittee on Structural Drivers of Health Inequity and Xenophobia, establishing a Department of Justice cross-agency initiative to address anti-Asian violence, launching new federally-funded resources to explore and celebrate the history and contributions of Asian Americans, and funding critical research to prevent and address bias and xenophobia against Asian Americans. Leaders of the Congressional Asian Pacific American Caucus (CAPAC) released the following statements welcoming the announcement:

Congresswoman Judy Chu (CA-27), CAPAC Chair:

“The pain and terror that Asian Americans have faced throughout the coronavirus pandemic was made substantially worse by Republican leaders, including former President Trump, who used xenophobic slurs like ‘China Virus’ and ‘Kung Flu’ to deflect blame from their own failed response to the pandemic. They put a target on the backs of Asian Americans across the nation while denying the rise of anti-Asian hate altogether. This resulted in a year of unchecked anti-Asian violence and bigotry, including over 3,800 reported hate crimes and incidents that culminated in the horrific shootings at three Asian-owned spas in Georgia earlier this month. But we know that was not the end of this plague of anti-Asian violence, which is why we must continue to unequivocally condemn and combat hate targeting our communities.

“We are fortunate that we now have a new President whose ongoing work with the AAPI community has been critical in our efforts to combat anti-Asian hate. President Biden issued an executive memorandum within his first week in office to combat xenophobia and discrimination targeting the AAPI community. He met with AAPI leaders in Georgia following the terrifying shootings this month. And today, he is taking additional actions to address anti-Asian violence and discrimination, including re-establishing the White House Initiative on Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders and providing critical funding, research, and resources to address anti-Asian bias and hate. Instead of stoking xenophobia, President Biden has made it a priority to stop it. Our government is not powerless in the face of historic bigotry and entrenched inequality, and we commend President Biden for his leadership to ensure that the safety and well-being of the AAPI community is prioritized.”

Senator Tammy Duckworth (IL):

“The AAPI community has endured a difficult, heart-wrenching year. We were the target of hateful, offensive rhetoric from the previous President. We experienced a spike in hate crimes, violent assaults and discrimination. And we are still mourning a mass shooting where members of our community were targeted. There is no doubt that our community is still at risk. I applaud President Biden for recognizing our community’s pain and taking concrete actions to protect AAPI individuals from violence and root out anti-Asian bias while also supporting the victims of hate crimes.”

Senator Mazie K. Hirono (HI):

“Racism is never far below the surface in our country, which is all too evident as the AAPI community has experienced escalating attacks and targeted violence during the pandemic. We must confront the systems that have allowed this hatred to fester and spread, and today’s clear demonstration of presidential leadership is a critical step forward.”

Congresswoman Grace Meng (NY-06), CAPAC First Vice Chair:

“I commend President Biden and Vice President Harris for announcing more steps to address the disgusting and unconscionable acts of anti-Asian hate and violence. For over a year, the Asian American community has been screaming out for help, especially in light of the tragic mass shooting in the Atlanta-area. The steps outlined by the Biden-Harris Administration will help with our ongoing fight to combat this bigotry and violence. I also thank the President for calling for a vote on the COVID-19 Hate Crimes Act that I and Senator Hirono introduced. I look forward to working with President Biden to stop this assault on the Asian American community and keep Asian Americans safe.”

Congressman Mark Takano (CA-41), CAPAC Second Vice Chair:

“This announcement indicates that the Biden Administration is committed to not only condemning the rise in anti-Asian hate, but also taking concrete steps to empower the Asian American community and prevent these crimes from happening. It is clear that the federal government needs to do more to support our community and provide resources to combat these crimes – these are comprehensive steps toward helping us achieve that. Now I look forward to passing the COVID-19 Hate Crimes Act and getting it signed into law. I’m grateful for the leadership of President Biden and Vice President Harris who are setting an example for the country by being responsible leaders, addressing the hate we’re seeing nationwide, and supporting the Asian American community.”

Congressman Ted Lieu (CA-33), CAPAC Whip:

“I thank President Biden for taking new actions to respond to the increase in acts of anti-Asian violence, including the rise of hate against Asian Americans during the COVID-19 pandemic. This is exactly the kind of leadership we need during this time and is in stark contrast to the former President, who sought to divide us by using racist phrases like ‘Kung Flu’ The coronavirus pandemic has caused incredible pain for so many Asian Americans, who have been attacked, harassed, and wrongfully blamed for spreading the virus. I am grateful to President Biden for his work to unite our country and look forward to working with his administration to address the needs of the AAPI community. At the end of the day, we are all Americans.”