The Biden administration on Tuesday announced a set of measures in response to rising anti-Asian violence, including deploying nearly US$50 million from Covid-19 relief funds for US community programmes that help victims of hate crimes, reports Reuters.
“We can’t be silent in the face of rising violence against Asian Americans,” US President Joe Biden wrote on Twitter. “These attacks are wrong, un-American, and must stop.”
The measures come after shootings at Atlanta spas earlier this month left eight people dead, six of them Asian-American women. The shooting suspect has denied that he acted out of hate, saying that he felt guilty over his sex addiction.
Nevertheless, the shooting stoked fears among those in the Asian-American community, which has reported a spike in hate crimes since March 2020 when then-president Donald Trump began referring to Covid-19 as the “China virus” and “kung flu”.
Biden’s new steps include forming a new task force dedicated to countering xenophobia against Asians in healthcare. The Department of Justice is also planning new efforts to enforce hate crime laws and report data on racial crimes, the statement said.
In New York City on Monday, security video footage captured an unidentified black man attacking a 65-year-old Asian woman on a Manhattan city street in broad daylight, then stamping on her repeatedly, while shouting “You don’t belong here”, and anti-Asian insults.
Onlookers captured on the video, stood by as the woman was brutally assaulted.
A day earlier, video captured a black man beating an Asian man senseless on the subway, the New York Post reports. In that incident, bystanders filmed with their phones and yelled at the attacker to stop but failed to step in as the victim was choked unconscious.
In other cities, elderly Asian citizens have been pushed to the ground, beaten and robbed.
New York City mayoral candidate Andrew Yang, the son of Taiwanese immigrants, said on Tuesday the woman who was beaten in the Manhattan attack could have easily been his mother.
“Like so many people, I woke up to a horrifying video of an Asian woman being horribly beaten for no other reason than her race.”
Yang again called on NYC Mayor Bill de Blasio to “fully fund” the anti-Asian Hate Crimes Task force.