President Joe Biden condemned anti-Asian violence in a speech in Georgia on Friday, days after a gunman killed eight individuals ― six of whom had been ladies of Asian descent ― at three Atlanta-area spas.
“We have to change our hearts. Hate can have no safe harbor in America,” Biden mentioned in a speech at Emory University. “It must stop ― and it’s on all of us together to make it stop.”
The president additionally known as for the immediate passage of the COVID-19 Hate Crimes Act, which is geared toward defending victims of coronavirus-related hate crimes. In an earlier assertion, Biden said the legislation would assist handle “the ongoing crisis of gender-based and anti-Asian violence that has long plagued our nation.”
Emory University is positioned a brief distance from two spas the place a gunman opened hearth on Tuesday. The shooter allegedly drove to the locations after first attacking one other spa in Acworth, Georgia.
A 21-year-old native man has been charged with capturing 9 individuals, eight fatally, within the rampage.
Xiaojie Tan, Soon Chung Park, Daoyou Feng, Hyun Jung Grant, Suncha Kim, Yong Ae Yue, Delaina Ashley Yaun and Paul Andre Michels had been killed within the assault. The ninth sufferer, Elcias Hernandez-Ortiz, is hospitalized and in important situation.
Biden and Vice President Kamala Harris met with Asian American community leaders ― together with Georgia state legislators Bee Nguyen, Marvin Lim, Michelle Au, Sheikh Rahman and Sam Park ― earlier on Friday to discuss the shootings and handle a latest deluge of hate crimes in opposition to Asian Americans and Pacific Islander people throughout the nation.
More than 3,700 racist incidents in opposition to AAPIs have been reported within the U.S. over the previous 12 months, based on Stop AAPI Hate, an AAPI advocacy group.
In his remarks, Biden expressed alarm at this “skyrocketing spike” of “documented hate against Asian Americans.”
“Too many Asian Americans have been … worrying, waking up each morning over the past year feeling that their safety and the safety of their loved ones is at stake,” Biden mentioned. “They’ve been attacked, scapegoated and harassed, verbally assaulted, physically assaulted, killed.”
“Hate and violence often hide in plain sight,” he added. “It’s often met with silence. That’s been true throughout our history and that has to change. Our silence is complicity. We cannot be complicit. We have to speak out. We have to act.”
The president has been unequivocal in his excoriation of anti-Asian violence, calling such assaults “un-American” in an announcement earlier this week.
His remarks on the problem distinction starkly with the anti-Asian rhetoric touted by his predecessor, former President Donald Trump, who has repeatedly referred to COVID-19 because the “China virus” and “kung flu.”
Harris, who’s the primary Black and first Asian individual to carry the workplace of vp, has been equally vocal about denouncing xenophobia and racism.
“Everyone has the right to go to work, to go to school, to walk down the street and be safe ― and also the right to be recognized as an American,” Harris mentioned in remarks delivered earlier than Biden’s on Friday. “Not as the other. Not as ‘them.’ But as us. A harm against any one of us is a harm against all of us.”
As The Atlanta Journal-Constitution noted, Biden and Harris had deliberate to attend a drive-in rally in Atlanta on Friday night to rejoice the latest passage of the $1.9 trillion coronavirus reduction package deal. They canceled the rally, nonetheless, so they might meet with Asian American leaders.
Biden and Harris additionally visited the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, which is headquartered in Atlanta, to debate the nation’s battle in opposition to COVID-19.
Biden reminded Americans in his speech at Emory to proceed to put on masks, apply social distancing and to “get vaccinated when it’s your turn.”
“I need all Americans to keep doing their part,” he mentioned.
Calling all HuffPost superfans!
Sign up for membership to grow to be a founding member and assist form HuffPost’s subsequent chapter