US Vice President Kamala Harris in Wilmington, Delaware.
Leah Millis | Reuters
Vice President Kamala Harris responded on Friday to a surge 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 over 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 area 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 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, a time of cultural pride and celebration for millions of Asian Americans, the surge 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 the actions of leaders like former President Donald Trump, who repeatedly used terms like “Chinese virus” and “kung flu” to refer to the coronavirus, have sparked anti-Asian sentiments.
“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 anti-Asian hate incidents, as most of the incidents go unreported,” the study said.
Press secretary Jen Psaki said at a press conference at the White House on Monday following President Joe Biden’s response to recent violent attacks against Asian Americans and condemned discrimination against Asian Americans.
“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 Jan. 26.
“We appreciate President Biden’s order to demand better protection for the US [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-Pacific Islanders 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.