A recent surge in attacks against Asian Americans earned a Friday comment on Twitter from Vice President Kamala Harris.
“Hate crimes and violence against Asian Americans and Asian immigrants have skyrocketed during the pandemic,” Harris tweeted. “That’s why our Administration has taken actions to address these xenophobic attacks. We must continue to commit ourselves to combating racism and discrimination.”
Last week, videos of recent attacks on older Asian Americans in California’s Bay Area spread across social media. They included one of a 91-year-old man being pushed from behind and landing facedown on a street in the Chinatown neighborhood of Oakland, and another showing 84-year-old Vicha Ratanapakdee violently shoved to the ground in San Francisco.
Ratanapakdee later died, the San Francisco Chronicle reported.
Oakland native Harris tweeted on Lunar New Year, most commonly associated with the Chinese New Year.
The vice president was not the only politician to comment on the hate crime issue.
“Especially in the days leading up to Lunar New Year, a time of cultural pride and celebration for millions of Asian Americans, the increase in attacks in Chinatowns in particular has had a chilling effect on our community,” Rep. Judy Chu, D-Calif., chair of the Congressional Asian Pacific American Caucus, said in a statement Thursday.
White House press secretary Jen Psaki was asked Monday about President Joe Biden’s response to the recent violent attacks against Asian Americans.
“He has been outspoken and making clear that attacks — verbal attacks, any attacks of any form — are unacceptable and we need to work together to address them,” Psaki said, per CNBC.
Biden signed an executive order Jan. 26 targeting xenophobia against Asian Americans.
Advocates have said increased anti-Asian sentiments have been fueled by the actions of leaders such as former President Donald Trump, who continually referred to the coronavirus in terms such as the “Chinese virus.”
“Across the country, there were more than 2,500 reports of anti-Asian hate incidents related to COVID-19 between March and September 2020,” a recent study by the Asian American Bar Association of New York and Paul, Weiss, Rifkind, Wharton & Garrison LLP found.
“And this number understates the actual number of anti-Asian hate incidents because most incidents are not reported.”
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