Co-Chairs of the White House Initiative and President’s Advisory Commission on Asian Americans, Native Hawaiians, and Pacific Islanders Issue Joint Statement to Support AA and NHPI Communities
WASHINGTON – Today, United States Trade Representative Katherine Tai and Health and Human Services (HHS) Secretary Xavier Becerra, Co-Chairs of the White House Initiative on Asian Americans, Native Hawaiians, and Pacific Islanders (WHIAANHPI) and President’s Advisory Commission on Asian Americans, Native Hawaiians, and Pacific Islanders (PACAANHPI), issued a joint statement on the one-year anniversary of the tragic Atlanta spa shootings on March 16, 2021, in which a gunman targeted three separate Asian-owned businesses in Georgia and killed eight people, including six women of Asian descent.
“We share our deepest condolences with the families of the victims of the senseless shootings that shook our nation one year ago. The tragedy in Atlanta not only left families without their loved ones, but also further shook an entire community that was already facing escalating instances of anti-Asian violence, which disproportionately targeted women. At the onset of the pandemic, Asian Americans were increasingly met by racism and anti-Asian sentiment, which left many feeling scared to leave their homes because of safety concerns. That is unconscionable. It is unacceptable. And we will not stand for it.
“The Biden-Harris Administration is committed to fighting anti-Asian bias and gender-based violence, and ensuring that Asian American, Native Hawaiian, and Pacific Islander families recover from the multiple crises they’ve been confronted with. Under our leadership, the White House Initiative and President’s Advisory Commission continue to coordinate a comprehensive federal response to address these issues and advance equity, justice, and opportunity for AA and NHPI communities. Together, we will work to ensure that our nation lives up to its founding ideals, and that the American Dream is within reach for every AA and NHPI family.”
According to a recent study by the Center for the Study of Hate and Extremism, the number of reported anti-Asian hate crimes across a dozen of America’s largest cities increased 339 percent over the past year. In particular, AA and NHPI women have been disproportionately targeted throughout the pandemic, with nearly three in four AA and NHPI women reporting that they experienced racism or discrimination over the past twelve months, according to a new survey by the National Asian Pacific American Women’s Forum. Because those statistics are based upon reported incidents and not all victims report, these statistics likely underrepresent the scale of the problem.
Statistics alone—even ones as stark as these—do not capture the devastating impact that anti-Asian hate and gender-based violence have had on AA and NHPI communities.
The White House Initiative on Asian Americans, Native Hawaiians, and Pacific Islanders is charged with driving an ambitious, whole-of-government agenda to advance equity, justice, and opportunity for AA and NHPI communities. Part of that agenda is improving safety, access to justice, and violence prevention for AA and NHPI communities, including by preventing, addressing, and better tracking acts of hate and bias. The President’s Advisory Commission on Asian Americans, Native Hawaiians, and Pacific Islanders is similarly committed to addressing and ending anti-Asian bias, xenophobia, racism, and nativism. The Commission works to advise the President on policies, programs, and initiatives to prevent, report, respond to, and track anti-Asian hate crimes and hate incidents.