US Vice President Kamala Harris in Wilmington, Delaware.
Leah Millis | Reuters
Vice President Kamala Harris responded on Friday to the recent spike in violent attacks against Asian Americans.
“We must continue to fight against racism and discrimination,” said Harris on Twitter.
Videos of recent attacks on elderly Asian Americans in California’s Bay Area have spread on social media over the past week.
One video showed a 91-year-old man being pushed from behind and ending up face down on the street in the Chinatown neighborhood of Oakland, Harris’ hometown.
Another video showed 84-year-old Vicha Ratanapakdee who was forcibly knocked to the ground in San Francisco. He later died, the San Francisco Chronicle reported.
Harris’ comments come on the New Year celebrations as the Covid pandemic and fear of violence dampened the Christmas festivities.
Other politicians have taken note of the problem.
“Especially in the days leading up to the New Year celebrations, a time of cultural pride and celebration for millions of Asian Americans, the rise in attacks in Chinatowns has particularly shaken our community,” said Judy Chu, D-Calif., Chairman of the Caucus im Asia-Pacific Congress said in a statement Thursday.
Hate incidents and violence against Asian Americans have increased during the Covid pandemic. Proponents say anti-Asian sentiments were fueled by the actions of leaders such as former President Donald Trump, who repeatedly referred to the coronavirus with terms like “Chinese virus” and “kung flu”.
“There were more than 2,500 reports of hate incidents against Asia related to COVID-19 across the country between March and September 2020,” a recent study by the Asian American Bar Association of New York and Paul, Weiss, Rifkind, Wharton & Garrison LLP found.
“And that number underestimates the real number of hate incidents against Asia, as most of the incidents go unreported,” the study said.
Press Secretary Jen Psaki said the president condemned discrimination against Asian Americans when asked about President Joe Biden’s reaction to recent violent attacks against Asian Americans during a briefing at the White House on Monday.
“He has spoken out and made it clear that attacks – verbal attacks, attacks of any kind – are unacceptable and we must work together to address them,” said Psaki.
Biden signed an executive order against xenophobia against Asian Americans on January 26th.
“We applaud President Biden’s executive order, which calls for greater protection for the government [Asian and Pacific Islander] Community as a result of racism and xenophobia related to the pandemic, and we thank those who show solidarity with the API community, “the Legislative Caucus of California Islanders in the Asia-Pacific region said in a statement Thursday.
“But it is not enough to simply reject racism, xenophobia and violence. We have to draw attention to these injustices and protect one another,” said the caucus.