Respect Equality

Harris urges the AAPI community to fight hate with votes

“It is not hyperbole to say what we do between now and November will determine the future of our nation, truly.”
Vice President Harris Getty Images

Story at a glance

  • The vice president on Friday headlined an event hosted by the AAPI Victory Fund, a political group that rallies Asian American and Pacific Islanders to vote.

  • The event marked AAPI Heritage Month and the one-year anniversary of the COVID-19 Hate Crimes Act that was signed into law by President Biden.

  • Harris said the U.S. is currently witnessing an “epidemic of hate” toward minority communities, referencing several recent mass shootings.

Vice President Harris is calling on Asian Americans to mobilize and show up at the ballot box for November’s midterm elections as she says the U.S. is currently witnessing an “epidemic of hate” toward minority communities, referencing the recent deadly mass shootings in several U.S. cities. 

The vice president on Friday headlined an event hosted by the AAPI Victory Power Fund, a political group that rallies Asian American and Pacific Islanders to vote. The event marked AAPI Heritage Month and the one-year anniversary of the COVID-19 Hate Crimes Act that was signed into law by President Biden.

Over the course of the pandemic, hate crimes against Asian Americans spiked. Data released earlier this year showed hate crimes against Asian Americans increased more than 300 percent in 2021 from the year prior. New York City alone saw a 395 percent increase in reported anti-Asian hate crimes in the first half of 2021 compared to 2020. 


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Lawmakers took action to curtail the attacks on the Asian community with the COVID-19 Hate Crimes Act, which was designed to improve hate crime tracking and reporting and increase support for local and state law enforcement. 

“It is impossible to ignore that we celebrate at a time when we are witnessing an epidemic of hate in our country. And we only need to look at the events of the last two weeks in Buffalo, Laguna Woods and in Dallas,” Harris said, citing the shooting at a Buffalo, N.Y. supermarket where authorities said the gunman targeted the area because it’s a predominantly Black neighborhood. In Laguna Woods, Calif., an Asian man opened fire during a lunch reception at a Taiwanese church in what police called a “politically motivated hate incident.” In Dallas, three people were wounded at a Korean-owned salon last week that federal officials are investigating as a hate crime. 

“We are seeing this hate manifest itself in violent acts. And I think we all are clear about the threat. There are people who believe that America is meant only for some and not for all, who scapegoat and attack people because of their race, because of their ethnicity, because of their gender. People who see diversity and inclusion as a weakness, not as the strength we all know it to be,” she said. 

The vice president said these tragedies require action at the ballot box to address “those fissures and failures in the system that might cause a lack of accountability for these horrendous acts.”

Harris, who is the first Asian American to serve as vice president, said Asian voters were the “margin of victory” during the presidential election in 2020 and noted progress made on voting rights, workers’ rights and women’s rights is at stake come November. 

“It is not hyperbole to say what we do between now and November will determine the future of our nation, truly.” 


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