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President Biden condemned the recent anti-Asian violence on Friday after meeting with Asian American Pacific Islander (AAPI) leaders in Atlanta, three days after a deadly shooting killed eight people, six of whom were Asian women.

What they’re saying: “Words have consequences,” the president said at a press conference, implicitly referring to former President Trump and other officials’ use of the terms “China virus” and “kung flu,” among others. “It’s the coronavirus. Full stop,” Biden added.

  • Asian Americans have been “attacked, blamed, scapegoated and harassed,” he said. “They’ve been verbally assaulted, physically assaulted, killed. It’s been a year of living in fear for their lives.”
  • “The conversations we had today with AAPI leaders and that we’re hearing all across the country is that hate and violence often hide in plain sight,” Biden added. “It’s often met with silence.”
  • “That has to change, because our silence is complicity,” he said. “We have to speak out. We have to act.”

“Racism is real in America,” added Vice President Kamala Harris. “And it has always been. Xenophobia is real in America, and always has been. Sexism, too,” said Harris.

  • “The president and I will not be silent. We will not stand by. We will always speak out against violence, hate crimes and discrimination, wherever and whenever it occurs.”
  • “For the last year we’ve had people in positions of incredible power scapegoating Asian Americans,” said Harris, “people with the biggest pulpits, spreading this kind of hate.”

The big picture: Discrimination against Asian people has escalated over the past year, with Stop AAPI Hate tracking nearly 3,800 self-reported hate incidents.

  • More than 183 organizations, led by AAPI groups, delivered a letter to Biden Friday urging him to commit $300 million to addressing anti-Asian hate.

Go deeper… Atlanta: Asian American fear and anxiety

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