Pacific Islanders after a mass shooting this month that killed eight people, six of whom were Asian women, and marked an increase in hate crimes against Asian Americans in the past year. .
Authorities said on Tuesday they were reinstating the White House Initiative for Asian Americans and the Pacific Islands, and extended the first mandate of the intergovernmental partnership to respond to anti-Asian racism and violence, with a strong focus on gender-based violence against Asian Americans.
According to White House documents about the new actions, President Biden will also “appoint a permanent director to lead policies in a coalition government that affects the communities of Asia American, Native Hawaiian, and Pacific Island.” The initiative was first established during the Clinton administration, and has been reinstated and expanded by subsequent presidents.
Prior to Tuesday, the White House had done nothing to revive the Initiative on Asian American and Pacific Islanders, currently without direct staff at the Minority Business Development Agency (MBDA), where the program is located, or other organizations for which links should be appointed.
Some AAPI activists have argued that the program should be handed over to an organization better equipped to deal with health and public safety issues facing Asian Americans. The current action page on the MBDA website has also not been updated since Mr Biden took office, as it includes a picture of former President Donald Trump and his election, raising concerns that the current White House has never been fully interested in rebuilding it.
Under the measures announced Tuesday, the Department of Health and Human Services will also allocate $ 49.5 million to the American Rescue Plan’s “Community Services and Programs” program, which will help AAPI survivors of domestic violence and sexual abuse, who may face additional barriers to assistance, such as language barriers.
The COVID-19 Health Equity Task Force, established by Mr Biden in January, has also set up a sub-committee on Structural Drivers of Health Inequity and Xenophobia, the White House said. This sub-committee will focus on combating the growing bias against Asia during the epidemic.
The White House has announced a comprehensive program of cooperation between the Ministry of Justice to deal with violence against Asia, and the allocation of new funds from the National Science Foundation to invest in research “understanding, addressing and eradicating discrimination, discrimination and xenophobia. AAPI, “according to a White House fact sheet. The National Endowment for the Humanities has also launched a virtual library to expand resources and provide information on Asian-American history.
“Today’s declarations are an additional step in the Biden Administration’s mission to promote equality in the communities of Asia American, Hawaiian, and Pacific Island communities through the government’s comprehensive approach to racial justice,” the White House said.
Mr Biden spoke of the increase in crimes committed in the AAPI community during his first week in office, when he signed a high-level memorandum condemning discrimination, xenophobia, and intolerance among Asian Americans and Pacific Islands in the US Earlier this month, during his inaugural keynote address. Mr Biden condemned the violence against Asian Americans.
“Many times, we confront each other,” the president said. “Serious cases of hatred are directed at Asian Americans, who have been attacked, tortured, accused, and deported. Meanwhile, most of them, our American people, are in the news of this epidemic, trying to save lives, and yet, they are forced to live in fear for their lives as they walk the streets. “It’s not right, it’s not American, and it must stop.”
These speeches compare what his predecessor said in the presidential channel. Former President Donald Trump often referred to the coronavirus as the “Chinese virus” and the “Chinese virus,” and even used the racist term “kung flu” in campaign rallies. White House press secretary Jen Psaki said the former president’s language had contributed to the escalation of violence.
“I think there is no doubt that some of the hurtful remarks we have seen during the previous administration, we suspect – we call it COVID, you know, the ‘Wuhan virus’ or other things led to, you know, the Asian-American community’s views as inaccurate, unjust, raising threats to Asian Americans, and we see that across the country, “said Psaki.
While advocacy groups praised the management’s response, they also urged Mr Biden to take further steps to address the violence. Stop AAPI Hate, a group that has been following since the epidemic, urged him to increase human rights protection against discrimination, support various legal measures to focus on hate crime, and direct the US Attorney General to investigate and initiate public action against AAPI discrimination.
Representative Grace Meng, a New York Democrat, and Senator Mazie Hirono, a Hawaiian Democrat, introduced the COVID-19 Hate Crimes Act, which will provide a point to the Department of Justice to expedite the review of COVID-19 hate crimes.