By Louis Chan, AsAmNews National Correspondent
Vice President Kamala Harris “rededicated” the Biden administration in the fight for racial equity and access to government services during a virtual briefing with Asian American and Pacific Islander community leaders and other invited guests today, January 20.
The day marked the one year anniversary of the inauguration of Joe Biden- an historical day highlighted by the swearing in of the first Asian American and African American Vice President.
“When we took that stage and took that oath, it was the oath we all took together to make sure we are a government for all people and that we fight for equality of all people,” said Harris.
She emphasized this was not only the end of the first year, but the beginning of the second.
This is a “rededication of what we started and will continue to grow.”
The end of year one, however, follows the disappointment of the administration of not being able to pass a voting rights bill and Biden’s build back better agenda in the Senate.
The day began with a release of a fact sheet outlining all that the President has done to benefit the Asian American Pacific Islander community in its first year.
That includes the passage of the COVID-19 Hate Crimes Act into law in May, the signing of a presidential memorandum on racial equity on Biden’s first day in office, and the translation of information about hate crime reporting into six Asian languages (Chinese, Japanese, Korean, Punjabi, Tagalog, and Vietnamese).
Harris acknowledged wounds from the rise of anti-Asian hate run deep and that more needs to be done.
“It hits so deep not only in terms of the violence, but in terms of the fear. Grandmothers and grandfathers being afraid to leave their home and walk to the market. There’s still a lot of work to be done in that regard. The ideals we hold dear are fought for. We have to stand up and be vigilant.”
Linda Shim, a special assistant in the White House, called the Biden Administration the “most diverse in U.S. history” while Erica Moritsugu, deputy assistant to the President, declared “We’re wonderfully represented.”
She said the President had “Demonstrated a commitment to empowering and uplifting AAPIs.”
On day 1 of the administration, 2 million COVID tests were administered each day. That’s since been increased to 15 million, according to Krystal Ka’i, the Executive Director of the White House Initiative of Asian Americans, Native Hawaiians and Pacific Islanders.
She said those who have been vaccinated against COVID are 17 times less likely to be hospitalized and 20 times less likely to die.
Harris added that 210 million people are now vaccinated, including tens of millions who have received boosters.
The Vice President also said the White House had decreased unemployment of Asian Americans from 6.8% in January 2021 to 3.6% in December while creating 6 million new jobs.
She said the child tax credit has reduced child poverty in half.
Republicans also released a statement this morning to AsAmNews.
“One year in, the American people are clearly worse off because of Joe Biden and Democrats in Congress. From rising prices to spiking crime to surging COVID cases, people across the country are paying the price for Biden’s failed policies. Americans deserve better, but Biden doesn’t care.”
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