President Joe Biden and Vice President Kamala Harris are honoring the achievements of Asian Americans, Native Hawaiians, and Pacific Islanders Wednesday at George Washington University in Washington, D.C.
Visible Together is the theme of the all-day event featuring Biden-Harris Administration leaders, artists and community volunteers. More than 2,000 people were invited to the event, which featured panels and artistic performances in the nation’s capital. Harris is biracial Asian, the daughter of Indian and Jamaican parents.
Her mother, Shyamala Gopalan Harris, was from Tamil Nadu, India, and during the event the Vice President spoke kindly of her and how her heritage influenced her life.
“When I think of my mother’s story, I think how she was so comfortable, clear about where she came from, who she was,” said Harris. “She had a unique ability to really infuse in us a sense of pride, and a sense of understanding that we should not let anyone define our identity."
The kickoff to AANHPI Month in May pays tribute to the histories and cultures of the communities and encourages dialogue on issues these communities face. There are over 24 million Asian Americans, according to theU.S. Census.
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Asian Americans, Native Hawaiian and Pacific Islanders shape and strengthen the fabric of this nation,President Biden said in a statement. Their contributions include being business owners and caregivers, as well as serving in the military and on the frontlines.
President Biden addressed the increase in hate crimes against Asian Americans during the COVID pandemic.
"Attacks on Asian American women and elders have left too many families afraid to leave their homes and too many loved ones traumatized," President Biden said.
The administration's actions against anti-Asian hate crimes include the bipartisan COVID-19 Hate Crimes Law, making it easier for Americans to report bias crimes and to help state, local and tribal law enforcement agencies better track these acts.
"This month, we renew our work to put the American dream within the reach of all people, and we celebrate the vibrancy, contributions, and future of AANHPI communities across America," President Biden said.
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