President Joe Biden on Monday signed a bill on Monday establishing a commission to study the creation of a National Museum of African American History and Culture. Photo by Tasos Katopodis/UPI | License Photo
June 13 (UPI) -- President Joe Biden on Monday signed a law that may lead to the establishment of a National Museum of Asian American and Pacific Islander History and Culture.
Biden said the legislation, which will examine what steps must be taken to establish the museum and whether to make it part of the Smithsonian Institution was "long overdue" during the signing at the White House.
"It's about time for a national museum to capture the courage, the character and the imagination ... the dreams and the heart and the soul of the generations of our fellow Americans who came before you and all of you," he said.
The president added the process set out in the law would be similar to the one that established the National Museum of African American History and Culture.
"Museums of this magnitude and consequence are going to inspire and educate," he said. "More than anything else, it's going to help people see themselves in the story of America -- a story that makes us a better America and it's made us a better America."
Biden said the signing of the bill came at a "critical time" noting the killings of eight people, including six Asian women, at three Atlanta massage parlors last year and the 80th anniversary of 120,000 Japanese Americans incarcerated during World War II.
Vice President Kamala Harris introduced Biden, recalling that her mother ensured that she and her sister "learned of the important, glorious history of Asian Americans, Native Hawaiians, and Pacific Islanders in America because that, of course is part of this history of America."
She noted that American history also includes "some of our country's darkest moments," such as the Chinese Exclusion Act, internment of Japanese Americans, the murder of Vincent Chin, discrimination of South Asian Americans after 9/11 and "today's epidemic of hate" that is fueling violence against Asian communities.
"By equipping people with knowledge and historical context, then we can fight ignorance, dispel misinformation and work toward a future where all people can live without fear and a future where all people -- all people can help write the next chapter of American history," she said.