The Biden administration on Tuesday announced a set of measures responding to rising anti-Asian violence, including deploying $49.5 million from COVID-19 relief funds for U.S. community programs that help victims.
White House officials said in a statement that the Department of Justice is also focusing on a rising number of hate crimes targeting Asian Americans.
“We can’t be silent in the face of rising violence against Asian Americans,” Biden wrote on Twitter. “These attacks are wrong, un-American, and must stop.”
The measures come after a shooting in Atlanta earlier this month left eight people dead, six of them Asian-American women.
The shooting stoked fears among those in the Asian-American Pacific Islander community, which has reported a spike in hate crimes since March 2020 when then-President Donald Trump began referring to the novel coronavirus as the “China virus.”
A man was recorded on video knocking the woman to the ground. He then kicked her several times while she was on the ground.
The woman was reportedly taken to NYU Langone Hospital in stable condition after the attack.
Security footage from a nearby building released by the New York City Police Department shows a security guard closing the door of the building instead of helping the woman.
The incident comes amid increased reports of violence against Asian Americans and as the NYPD is investigating another potential hate crime in which a man was recorded on video repeatedly punching and choking an Asian man on a Brooklyn subway car.
Reports of hate crimes against Asian Americans have increased dramatically in the past year. Stop AAPI Hate, a reporting center that tracked cases last year beginning March 19, soon after the novel coronavirus was declared a pandemic, said it received “over 2,808 firsthand accounts of anti-Asian hate” crimes during that time.
Biden’s new steps include $49.5 million of pandemic relief funds for “community based, culturally specific services and programs for survivors of domestic violence and sexual assault” as well as a new task force dedicated to countering xenophobia against Asians in healthcare.
The Justice Department is also planning new efforts to enforce hate crime laws and report data on racial crimes, the statement said.
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