WASHINGTON — President Joe Biden condemned the violence Asian Americans have endured since the start of the coronavirus pandemic, saying “it is wrong, it is un-American and it must stop.”
Biden is lamenting an uptick of reports of “vicious” attacks and harassment against Asian Americans that’s been reported since the start of the pandemic one year ago.
Former President Donald Trump has repeatedly used xenophobic terms to refer to the virus that originated in China’s Wuhan province. Some critics say the former president’s language has stoked the violence against Asian Americans.
Biden addressed the nation on the one-year anniversary of the pandemic.
In New York, there has been a rise in anti-Asian bigotry, forcing the NYPD to launch a hate crimes task force.
“Every community suffered, but there’s been a particular pain, a particular horrible challenge faced by the Asian American community because on top of all the suffering from the coronavirus itself, on top of losing loved ones, losing businesses, people have had to confront horrible discrimination and hatred,” Mayor Bill de Blasio said during a press briefing in February.
“If you dare to raise your hand against a member of our Asian American communities, you will suffer the consequences,” he said.
The city launched a new “toolkit” that addresses anti-Asian hate, discrimination and bias.
The toolkit shows specific ways to send the right messages and resources to report bias crimes.
The Asian Hate Crime Task Force, consisting of 25 members who speak 11 different languages, is working with the community to address their needs and keep them safe.
The task force’s focus will be across the five boroughs, specifically at subway stations, which have seen a recent uptick in crime.
According to NYPD Deputy Inspector Stewart Loo, there were 28 COVID-related hate crimes in 2020, victims in 27 of the 28 incidents were of Asian descent.
The year before, there were a total of three anti-Asian attacks in the city, while there have been two anti-Asian attacks in 2021 so far.
Loo believed the numbers are definitely underreported.
Executive Director of the Asian American Federation Jo-Ann Yoo said just over 500 reports have been logged by the organization and they encourage more people to come forward with bias crimes.
The Asian American community had suffered discrimination and businesses saw the impact of the coronavirus, which was first reported in China, even before the virus was discovered in New York and the rest of the United States, the mayor said.
More recently, rallies have been held in support of Asian New Yorkers. The group Safe Walks NYC, who offer safe companionship to and from subway stops, has expanded to Chinatown in an attempt to provide security.