The announcements on Tuesday include reinstating and reinvigorating the White House Initiative on Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders (AAPI), with initial focus on anti-Asian bias and violence.
“We can’t be silent in the face of rising violence against Asian Americans,” Biden tweeted. “That’s why today I’m taking additional steps to respond-including establishing an initiative at the Department of Justice to address anti-Asian crimes. These attacks are wrong, un-American, and must stop.”
The announcement also include allocation of $49.5 million from the American Rescue Plan to a new grant programme for community-based, culturally-specific services and programmes for survivors of domestic violence and sexual assault who face additional barriers, such as language access barriers, to services and safety.
Biden, who during his prime time address had said anti-Asian violence and xenophobia was wrong and must stop, also announced to set up a Covid-19 Equity Task Force committee on addressing and ending xenophobia against Asian Americans and establishment of a Department of Justice cross-agency initiative to address anti-Asian violence.
“A harm against any one of us is a harm against all of us,” Vice President Kamala Harris tweeted.
The president and “I will not be silent which is why our administration is taking steps to address the rise in violence against the Asian American community, including an initiative to combat anti-Asian violence,” Harris said.
White House press secretary Jen Psaki told reporters that in the coming weeks, the administration will meet with AAPI leaders to hear their input in how it can play the most constructive role possible in the community.
Biden will name a high-level Asian American member of the AAPI community to a position in the White House, she said.
“That’s something we’re working to do through consultation with a range of officials and elected officials as well. That person will be a commissioned officer and will be working on both policy and outreach,” Psaki said.
“A big part of our effort has also been on taking actions to address the rise in anti-Asian violence and bias, and underscoring the commitment of our entire administration to working in partnership with the AAPI community,” she said.
“The President announced that DOJ has launched an agency-wide initiative to address anti-Asian hate crimes and acts of violence. DOJ is taking steps to strengthen hate crimes data, reporting on AAPI violence, improve law enforcement training so that local law enforcement agencies can better identify anti-Asian bias,” she added.