Fresh actions to curb anti-Asian violence

President Joe Biden will “appoint a permanent Director to lead the Initiative in the coordination of policies across the federal government impacting Asian American, Native Hawaiian, and Pacific Islander communities”, reports Asian Lite News desk.

The White House has announced new actions including additional funding and a cross-agency initiative to curb the alarming rise in violence and discrimination against Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders (AAPI) during the Covid-19 pandemic.

“Today’s announcements are additional steps in the Biden Administration’s work to advance equity for Asian American, Native Hawaiian, and Pacific Islander communities through a whole-of-government approach to racial justice,” the White House said.

According to a White House fact sheet, President Joe Biden will “appoint a permanent Director to lead the Initiative in the coordination of policies across the federal government impacting Asian American, Native Hawaiian, and Pacific Islander communities.”

As part of the initiative, the Civil Rights Division of the Justice Department reconvened its Hate Crimes Enforcement and Prevention Initiative with a focus on the surge in anti-Asian hate crimes in the country.

The FBI will also publish a new interactive page that documents hate crimes against the AAPI community and begin holding training events to educate agents on recognizing and reporting anti-Asian bias.

The Department of Health and Human Services is providing nearly $50 million from the American Rescue Plan to assist AAPI survivors of domestic violence and sexual assault.

The Covid-19 Health Equity Task Force, founded in January, has also established a subcommittee on Structural Drivers of Health Inequity and Xenophobia, the White House said. This subcommittee will be specifically focused on combating the surge in anti-Asian bias during the coronavirus pandemic.

The National Endowment for the Humanities also launched a virtual library to expand resources and provide information on Asian-American history.

Rallies against anti-Asian racism

Last week, thousands of people gathered at Chinatown Square in Chicago to protest against increasing crimes targeting persons of Asian descent and the savage killing of eight people, including six Asian women, in Atlanta.

People holding banners reading “Zero tolerance for racism”, “Stop Asian Hate”, “I stand with Asian-Americans”, “We need justice”, “Racial discrimination must end”, flocked to Chinatown Square on Saturday afternoon.

Local officials and district police chief, including President of the Cook County Board of Commissioners Toni Preckwinkle and Illinois State Representative Theresa Mah, joined them.

By organising the event, “we hope to be heard”, and to unite local residents under a common goal of building a safer and better Chinese community in cooperation with the local government and the police, Grace Chan, executive director of the Coalition for a Better Chinese American Community (CBCAC), told Xinhua in an interview.

CBCAC co-hosted the protest with the Chinatown Security Foundation.

Also in last week, hundreds of New Yorkers from different races rallied against racism and violence on Asian-Americans, according to the ANSWER Coalition, a protest umbrella group consisting of anti-war and civil rights organisations.

The protesters rallied and marched on Saturday in Flushing, a major Asian community in Queens borough.

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A number of speakers shared their personal stories about racism and violence, while participants chanted slogans for much of the time.

The rally in New York was held simultaneously with those from over 60 cities in more than 25 states across the US, all aiming to stop anti-Asian violence and China-bashing, said the ANSWER Coalition.

The Asian-American community suffers the brunt of the hatred fomented as a weapon of war, it added.

New Yorkers have held more than 10 rallies since the shootings in Atlanta, Georgia, on March 16, in which six Asians were killed.

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