Vice President Kamala Harris, the first person of Asian descent to hold the office, opened the signing ceremony by thanking lawmakers for their work.
“To the members of our United States Congress on both sides of the aisle who helped pass the COVID-19 Hate Crimes Act, thank you,” she said. “Because of you, history will remember this day and this moment when our nation took action to combat hate.”
“Here’s the truth: Racism exists in America. Xenophobia exists in America, antisemitism, Islamophobia, homophobia, transphobia — it all exists,” she added. “And so the work to address injustice wherever it exists remains the work ahead.”
More than 3,000 violent incidents against Asian Americans have been reported since mid-March 2020.
“For centuries, Asian Americans, Native Hawaiians, Pacific Islanders, diverse and vibrant communities, have helped build this nation, only to be often stepped over, forgotten, or ignored,” Biden said at the ceremony in the East Room of the White House.
“I believe, with every fiber of my being, that there are simple, core values and beliefs that should bring us together as Americans. One of them is standing together against hate, against racism — an ugly poison that has long haunted and plagued our nation. Today I can say that because of all of you … you’ve taken that first step.”
“My message to all of those who are hurting is: We see you and the Congress has said, we see you. And we are committed to stop the hatred and the bias,” he said.
Incidents of hate against Asian Americans have seen a shocking spike over the last year. It’s wrong — and it’s un-American.
To all those who are hurting: we see you and we are committed to stopping the hatred and bias.