Biden, Harris denounce hate crimes against Asians after Atlanta attack

Washington, Mar 19 (efe-epa).- United States President Joe Biden and Vice President Kamala Harris Friday condemned rising hate crimes in the American society during a visit to Atlanta, days after a white gunman killed eight people, most of them Asian-American women.

In his address from Emory University in Atlanta after meeting with Asian-American state legislators, Biden said the nation could no longer remain silent in the face of “skyrocketing” hate crimes against Asian-Americans.

People of Asian descent, he said, were “attacked, blamed, scapegoated and harassed (and) verbally assaulted, physically assaulted, killed” in the US since the pandemic began.

“Our silence is complicity. We cannot be complicit. We have to speak out. We have to act,” Biden said.

“We are learning again we have always known, words have consequences. It is the coronavirus, full stop.”

Biden, however, did not refer directly to his predecessor, Donald Trump, who used to call Covid-19 the “Chinese virus.”

“Hatred and violence are often hidden in plain sight. They are often responded to with silence, but that has to change, because our silence is complicity. We cannot be complicit, we have to act,” he stressed.

Biden and Harris landed in Atlanta to meet with Asian American leaders following the deadly shooting.

The two had already planned to visit Atlanta to speak about the benefits of the $1.9 trillion Covid-19 economic relief package recently signed into law.

However, the White House canceled the plan for a rally after the shootings on Tuesday.

Harris, in her address, said the shootings were a “heinous act of violence” as hate crimes and discrimination against Asian-Americans had risen dramatically over the last year and more.

In her speech, Harris, whose mother was an Indian and father a Jamaican, hinted that it was due to Trump’s racist language.

She said whatever the killer’s motive, some facts remain clear about the shooting.

“Six out of the eight people killed on Tuesday night were of Asian descent. Seven were women. The shootings took place in businesses owned by Asian Americans,” she recalled.

“Racism is real in America, and it has always been. Xenophobia is real in America, and always has been. Sexism, too,” she said.

The vice president said in the 1860s, as Chinese workers built the transcontinental railroad, there were laws on the books in America forbidding them from owning property.

In the 1940s, as Japanese American soldiers defended our nation, more than 120,000 Japanese-Americans were forced to live in internment camps – “an obvious and absolute abuse of their civil and human rights,” said the vice president.

She said Asian Americans were attacked and scapegoated in the US.

“For the last year, we have had people in positions of incredible power scapegoating Asian Americans. People with the biggest pulpits spreading this kind of hate.”

The suspect in the Atlanta shooting has admitted to authorities that he targeted three Asian massage parlors because he “blamed” them for his sex addiction and wanted to “eliminate the temptation.”

Related Articles

Back to top button