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Biden announces $49.5M in grants to address Asian American xenophobia

By
Zarrin Ahmed
People gather and hold signs during an ANSWER Coalition Anti-Asian Violence rally in the Chinatown neighborhood of Washington, D.C., on Friday. Photo by Leigh Vogel/UPI
People gather and hold signs during an ANSWER Coalition Anti-Asian Violence rally in the Chinatown neighborhood of Washington, D.C., on Friday. Photo by Leigh Vogel/UPI | License Photo

March 30 (UPI) -- The White House on Tuesday announced steps to address growing violence against Asian Americans, including a $49.5 million grant program for survivors of sexual assault and domestic violence in Asian American, Native Hawaiian and Pacific Islander communities.

"Across our nation, an outpouring of grief and outrage continues at the horrific violence and xenophobia perpetrated against Asian American communities, especially Asian American women and girls," read the announcement from President Joe Biden.

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Among the promised actions: reinstating the White House Initiative on Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders; establishing a COVID-19 Equity Task Force committee; and establishing a Department of Justice cross-agency initiative to address anti-Asian violence.

Additionally, the National Endowment for the Humanities will launch a virtual library of resources for educators, civic leaders, arts and humanities institutions and families to explore Asian American history. The National Science Foundation will invest $33 million to fund over 100 research grants.

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Reports of harassment and violence against Asian Americans have spiked since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic a year ago.

New York City police are investigating two assault cases this week. In one, an Asian woman was stomped on the head. In the other, an Asian man was punched and choked on the subway.

On March 16, eight people, including six Asian women, were killed in a mass shooting at massage spas in the Atlanta area.

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Stop AAPI Hate, a hate crimes watchdog, said it has received more than 2,800 reports of firsthand experiences with racism from Asians and Asian Americans in the past year.

Biden said in January that the federal government played a role in "furthering these xenophobic statements through the actions of political leaders" who made references to the pandemic by geographic origin in China.

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