The White House celebrated Asian American and Pacific Islander Heritage Month with a reception at the White House Rose Garden. It’s the first time since the pandemic the reception took place in the White House, according to Ani News. Around 200 AAPI leaders were in attendance as well.
In their remarks, both President Joe Biden and Vice President Kamala Harris connected the rise in anti-Asian hate crimes during the pandemic to the Buffalo, New York shooting in which the shooter specifically targeted a predominantly Black neighborhood, reports The Hill.
Biden in particular urged that discussions around hate should also emphasize who is generating it. He also condemned the replacement theory, connected with the Buffalo shooter, which believes that White Americans are being replaced by minorities through immigration or birth.
“You have folks on television stations talking about the replacement theory,” Biden said, “they’re scaring the living hell out of people who don’t have a whole lot of emotional stability, taking advantage of the internet and other means by talking about how we’re going to be overtaken.”
Harris’ remarks spoke to unifying AAPI groups, especially in lieu of the month.
“We also know in tragic moments like this, that we are committed collectively to saying a harm against any one of us is a harm against all of us, and it is a harm against our nation,” Harris said.
Harris, who is of Jamaican and Indian heritage, is the first Asian American Vice President. During the reception, she also spoke of her mother, an Indian immigrant.
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