AAPI groups,victims & advocates join White House hate summit

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Joe Biden mingles with the crowd at the United We Stand summit against hate

By Ti-Hua Chang, AsAmNews Staff Writer

President Joe Biden repeated his promise to ban assault weapons when he addressed the United We Stand Summit at the White House on Thursday . The summit focused on how, …to counter the destructive effects of hate-fueled violence on our democracy …” During the summit relatives of the victims of hate crimes spoke.  Many of their relatives were killed by White supremacists in mass shootings in Buffalo, Atlanta and El Paso.

Biden also called on raising the minimum pay to $15 an hour for national service positions and to, “ … hold social media platforms accountable for spreading hate and fueling violence.”

One common theme of the summit was that in our deeply divided country, Americans should remove themselves from social media and meet in person to talk and listen to each other.

Two weeks ago the President said, “Donald Trump and MAGA Republicans represent an extremism that threatens the very foundations of  our republic.“ Today he only condemned Nazis and White supremacists and did not mention Republicans.

FIVE CIVIL RIGHTS ORGANIZATIONS REQUESTED THE WHITE HOUSE HOLD THE SUMMIT.

One of the civil rights organizations requesting the summit was Asian Americans Advancing Justice. Reverend Al Sharpton’s National Action Network was another.

SPEAKERS INCLUDED EXPERTS, VICTIMS, ADVOCATES AND TOP BIDEN OFFICIALS

The summit featured hate crime experts, victims of White supremacists, those fighting bigoted violence  and administration leaders including Vice-President Kamala Harris, Attorney General Merrick Garland and Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas.

RELATED: Kamala Harris kicks off White House Summit on Hate

The Vice President said, “ Years from now, our children and our grandchildren, they’re going to ask, ‘What did you do at that moment? What did you do to protect our communities?’”

Secretary Mayorkas announced a $20 million grant to fight what he termed “targeted violence.”  Mayorkas said his department will give the money to 43 local community organizations. He mentioned that for the first time Black colleges and LGBTQ+ organizations would be among the groups funded.

KEY SPEAKERS: FORMER WHITE SUPREMACIST, NYC HATE VICTIM

A former White supremacist said social media is used to organize and reach disaffected youth, giving them a sense of belonging and bigoted direction.

One victim speaking was Vilma Kari.  In March of last year, the then 65-year-old Filipino American woman was stomped in New York City as she walked to church. Kari’s attacker, said to her, “ You Asian, you don’t belong here.” Kari is still reluctant to leave her apartment. But with her daughter she formed AAP (I Belong) to combat hate.

Kari believes critical to combating hate is teaching Asian American history in schools so all Americans  learn of AAPI contributions and view Asians as human.

Atlanta organizer Phi Nguyen said after the murders of 10 people there, eight of them Asian women; her organization had to deal with not only emotional pain, but also physical pain and economic pain. She concluded that local groups needed the federal government’s help to cope.

BI-PARTISAN REPUBLICANS AND LOCAL ADVOCATES ATTENDED

The most bi-partisan element of the summit was the panel from the U.S. Conference of Mayors. Two Republican Mayors shared the stage with three Democratic mayors. 150 U.S. Mayors renewed a 2017 pledge to combat hate extremism and bigotry. This is just over 10% of the 1407 members of the U.S. Conference of Mayors.

Also on the local level, the Interfaith Council, YMCA and Habitat for Humanity announced plans to have 10,000 people work to spread the theme of a United America. Though one Buffalo activist said America is not prepared for domestic terrorism.

POLITICAL MOTIVE FOR SUMMIT?

Political Science Professor Thomas Halper of Baruch College, says these summits rarely change minds though they can encourage those already working for change. On YouTube the highest number of views was just over a mere 450. Halper suspects a political motive saying,  “Anytime you have a meeting like this less than two months before the midterm elections there has to be a reason.”   

All ethnicities and LGBTQ+ people were represented at the summit

The Democratic party has depended on the votes of people of Color to win national elections.  In the last two presidential elections most White voters went Republican.

Here is the full recorded version of the summit.

This story is a project of “The Stop The Hate campaign and is made possible with funding from the California State Library (CSL) in partnership with the California Commission on Asian and Pacific Islander American Affairs (CAPIAA). The views expressed on this website and other materials produced by Asian American Media, Inc. do not necessarily reflect the official policies of the CSL, CAPIAA or the California government. Learn more at capiaa.ca.gov/stop-the-hate.

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