Asian Wisconzine Section/Heidi M. Pascual
Asian American News
APIAVote's Statement on Biden-Harris Administration’s First 100 Days
WASHINGTON, DC - On Wednesday, April 28th, President Biden addressed a joint house of Congress and the Nation on his first 100 days in office. Executive Director Christine Chen of Asian and Pacific Islander American Vote (APIAVote) issued the following statement:
“In June 2020, then presidential candidate Joe Biden made history by speaking directly to Asian American and Pacific Islander (AAPI) communities at APIAVote's Presidential Town Hall. There he committed to making sure AAPI voices and interests were included in his administration and that he would work to ensure the right and accessibility to vote for all people.
After President Biden’s first 100 days, we applaud the appointments of Ambassador Katherine Tai as the 19th U.S. Trade Representative, and Erika Moritsugu as Deputy Assistant to the President and Asian American and Pacific Islander Senior Liaison. We also celebrate that of the Administration’s approximately 1,500 appointments, 15 percent identify as Asian American or Pacific Islander. These are significant steps in making the Biden-Harris administration look like America.
We share in the Biden-Harris administration’s support for the COVID-19 Hate Crimes Bill and ask the House to quickly pass this legislation, because like President Biden said, we need to, ‘protect AAPIs from the vicious hate crimes we’ve seen this past year.’ Asian American owned small businesses have experienced an outsized burden due to anti-Asian sentiments and health related lockdowns. We commend the Biden-Harris administration’s extension of loans to keep small businesses open and their workers employed through the American Rescue Plan.
Echoing President Biden’s call for action on the passage of H.R. 1, the John Lewis Voting Rights Act, we strongly encourage Congress to protect the sacred right to vote for all our communities. For AAPI communities, H.R. 1 is an important legislation that preserves the voting access and options that were developed amid a global pandemic, such as expanded options to vote by mail and vote early. With over 70 percent of all Asian Americans utilizing one of these two options in the 2020 general election, AAPI voter turnout was 59 percent, ten percentage points higher than in 2016 according to just released Census data. In supporting H.R. 1, President Biden is taking positive steps towards making good on his promise to AAPI communities.
However, it is important to remember that this progress is due in part to the leadership of our Asian American and Pacific Islander Members of Congress like Senators Mazie Hirono and Tammy Duckworth who took a stand to demand AAPI representation in the administration’s Senior Cabinet. Their courage and influence reminds us that an important part of our democracy is to hold our elected officials accountable. Towards this end, we applaud the steps made toward re-authorization and expansion of the White House Initiative on Asian American and Pacific Islanders (WHIAAPI). This includes focusing on improving the quality of life and economic opportunity of AAPIs through increased access and participation in Federal programs where they may be underserved, and advancing relevant research and data collection for Asian Americans and Pacific Islander populations. This would restore the focus to be on underserved AAPI communities.
APIAVote and our partner-network of community based organizations look forward to working with our elected officials and the Biden-Harris administration to continue to ensure that the voices and interests of AAPIs are included and addressed.”
AAPI Victory Alliance on the Killing of Four Sikh Americans in Last Night’s Mass Shooting at a Fedex Facility in Indianapolis
Washington, DC -- On April 15, one month to the day since the mass shooting in Atlanta that targeted AAPI victims, four Sikh Americans were among eight innocent lives taken by another deranged gunman in a country that refuses to do anything to stop this from occurring.
AAPI Victory Alliance Executive Director Varun Nikore issued the following statement:
“Our hearts bleed for all of the families of the victims of yet another senseless massacre that has become a daily occurrence in this country. Four Sikh Americans were among the eight victims of the mass shooting in Indianapolis, exactly one month to the day since the Atlanta shootings, which explicitly targeted our AAPI communities. In Sikh culture, death is a progression of the soul through a journey from God. We pray that the souls of these victims are at peace and back with the Creator.
“To the families of Jasvinder Kaur, Amarjit Sekhon, Jaswinder Singh, and everybody else affected by this senseless tragedy, our hearts go out to you. The AAPI community stands with you. Justice must be served and we will not stop fighting until every single gutless person, politician, and lobbying group is held responsible for continuing to allow these tragedies to happen. Additionally, the AAPI Victory Alliance demands an immediate investigation into whether or not these shootings were racially biased.
“Most importantly, enough is enough. It’s time to come together and end Hate and gun violence once and for all. We will invest significant resources into toppling those who seek to destroy our families, communities, and identity. The senseless gun violence that we’re seeing in this country is reflective of all of the spineless politicians who are beholden to the gun lobby. Period. End of story. They will be hearing from us — instead of offering thoughts and prayers, it’s time to mobilize for direct action and vote them out. That is what we’re doing today. We will end the violence, only when we have leaders who have the guts to do so.”
COVID-19 Hate Crimes Act passes in the Senate. NCAPA Calls for Further Community Investment Outside of Law Enforcement
Washington, DC—The National Council of Asian Pacific Americans (NCAPA) issued the following statement regarding the passage of Senator Hirono’s S.937 COVID-19 Hate Crimes Act. This afternoon, the bill passed in the Senate with a 94-1 vote. Hirono’s bill improves methods of data collection, review, and response to COVID-19 related hate crimes. This bill comes on the heels of recent tragedies that have harmed Asian American communities, including a mass shooting at an Indianapolis FedEx facility last week that took the lives of eight people, four of whom were Sikh, and the Atlanta shootings last month.
With the recent mass shootings in Indianapolis and Atlanta, our communities are reeling. Our hearts go out to the families who have lost loved ones to senseless and avoidable violence. While passage of the COVID-19 Hate Crimes Act and the Jabara-Heyer NO HATE Act are important steps towards making long-overdue improvements to the government's response to hate crimes, it takes place during an incredibly difficult time for the country.
Protection is paramount. However, we recognize that as Asian American communities are calling for action to stop hate and violence, these calls are happening against a backdrop of police violence against communities of color — especially Black and Brown communities.
We have been humbled by the solidarity and support many have shown in response to anti-Asian hate. But it is difficult to celebrate a system that is willing to respond to violence against Asian Americans, while continuing to perpetuate violence against other communities, including those within our own.
The indiscriminate killing of people of color at the hands of police must stop. Then we need a deeper commitment to invest in our communities, outside of law enforcement based solutions, so that we can address the sources of violence, not just the aftermath.