Administration

Biden touts push for Asian Pacific American museum

Associated Press/Patrick Semansky

President Biden on Monday signed legislation to study the creation of a National Museum of Asian Pacific American History and Culture, saying efforts to establish the museum come at a “critical time” for the United States.

“Today, it’s clear that the battle for the soul of America continues, that’s why a museum like this is going to matter so much,” Biden said at the White House.

“Museums of this magnitude and consequence are going to inspire and educate. More than anything else, it’s going to help people see themselves in the story of America,” he added.

The president noted that it’s been one year since the Atlanta spa shootings that killed eight people, including six women of Asian descent, and 80 years since the incarceration of Japanese Americans during World War II in internment camps. Bill sponsors have also previously spoken about violent attacks against Asian Americans amid the COVID-19 pandemic, saying the museum idea has taken on added significance in recent years.

“It comes at a critical time,” Biden said at the bill signing on Monday.

Biden called the bill, which was sponsored by Rep. Grace Meng (D-Calif.) and Sen Mazie Hirono (D-Hawaii), “long overdue.”

It will establish a commission made up of members appointed by the House and Senate majority and minority leaders. The commission will study the cost of such a museum, whether it should be part of the Smithsonian, and how best to engage Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders during its creation.

“I look forward one day to visiting the national museum of Asian Pacific American History and Culture with all of you,” Biden said.

The president also said he was focused on having an administration that looks like America.

“To teach this history is to help all of us as Americans understand where we come from and to teach this history is to help us understand who we are,” Vice President Harris, who is the first person of South Asian descent to become vice president, said at the event.

Last month, Biden and Harris held a celebration for Asian American, Native Hawaiian and Pacific Islander Heritage Month at the White House, during which they condemned violence and hateful rhetoric toward minority communities.

Tags AAPI heritage anti-Asian hate crimes Asian American Grace Meng Joe Biden Kamala Harris

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