By Reena Bhardwaj
Washington [US], May 18 (ANI): Hosting a reception to celebrate the contributions and influence of Asian Americans, Native Hawaiian and Pacific Islander Americans to the history, culture, and achievements of the United States, President Joe Biden condemned the violence and hateful rhetoric toward minority communities.
In his address to the gathering, Biden appreciated Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders, that includes Indian Americans, for contributing to making America a diversified country.
Biden said, "You are doing the work to make real the promise of America, that every person is created equal."
Biden spoke out against rising hate crimes against Asian Americans during the COVID-19 pandemic and connected the issue more broadly to a shooting over the weekend in Buffalo, New York, where authorities said the gunman specifically targeted the neighbourhood because of its high density of Black residents.
"Hate can have no safe harbour in America. And every person deserves to be treated with dignity and respect," Biden said. "But you know, you have folks on television stations talking about the replacement theory, scaring the living hell out of people who don't have a whole lot of emotional stability."
Nearly 200 AAPI leaders and visionaries from across the country, including Indian Americans, attended the afternoon event at the Rose Garden, which featured remarks by the President, First Lady Dr Jill Biden, Vice President Kamala Harris and United States Trade Representative Ambassador Katherine Tai. Each one noted the hate crimes in America and decried racism and violence against minorities.
"This community is as diverse as the flowers of the Philippines, as rich as the silk of a kimono and as beautiful as the colours of the festival of Holi," Jill Biden said at the event.
Kamala Harris spoke of her mother who arrived in the US at the age of 19 from India. She said the beauty of our nation is represented by all of the people here today.
"Racism is real in America. It has always been. Xenophobia is real in America. Sexism is real too," Vice President Harris, who is the first Asian American to serve as vice president, said in remarks.
"We must always speak out against violence, against hate crimes and against discrimination whenever and wherever it occurs. And we must do everything in our power to end this epidemic of hate," Harris added.
"This month is about celebrating the contributions our families, friends, and leaders have made throughout this country's history. But it is also a time to reflect on the challenges that our communities are facing, especially in recent years," Ambassador Katherine Tai said.
This is the first time since the pandemic the AAPI Heritage Month reception has been held at the White House. In years past, Vice President Mike Pence made remarks, as did President Barack Obama.
Asian American and Pacific Islander (AAPI) Heritage Month is observed in the United States during the month of May and recognizes the contributions and influence of Asian Americans, including Indian Americans and Pacific Islander Americans to the history, culture, and achievements of the United States. (ANI)