May 20, 2022 - Politics & Policy

Kamala Harris: U.S. must end “epidemic of hate”

Photo of Kamala Harris sitting at a table with her hands folded in front of her
Vice President Harris speaks about reproductive rights while meeting virtually with abortion providers in the Eisenhower Executive Office Building in Washington, D.C. on May 19, 2022. Photo: Oliver Contreras/Sipa/Bloomberg via Getty Images

The U.S. must mobilize against a growing "epidemic of hate" amid record-breaking hate crimes, Vice President Harris said Friday at an event celebrating Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders (AAPI).

Why it matters: Her remarks come after three Asian businesses were targeted in shootings in Dallas and a white man killed 10 people, most of whom were Black, in a Buffalo supermarket.

What she's saying: "It is impossible to celebrate and ignore that we celebrate ... at this moment in time where I do believe we are witnessing an epidemic of hate in our country," Harris said at the AAPI Victory Power Fund rally on Friday. "We only need to look at the events of the last two weeks."

  • "There are people who believe that America is meant only for some and not for all, who scapegoat and attack people" because of their race, ethnicity or gender, she added. "We are witnessing again and again the terrible human cost of this hate."
  • "We know that we need to address those fissures and failures in the system that might cause a lack of accountability," she said, citing the COVID-19 Hate Crimes Act's provisions such as language support.
  • "We must mobilize in support of the notion that a harm against any one of us is a harm against all of us. And we must organize against those who seek to incite violence ... Each of us here has an important role to play."
  • Turning out to vote will be key to ensuring AAPI voices are heard at all levels of government, Harris noted. "It is not hyperbole to say what we do between now and November will determine the future of our nation."

The big picture: Americans continue to wrongly blame people of Asian descent for the coronavirus. A greater percentage harbored distrust of their loyalties now compared to last year.

  • Meanwhile, nearly seven out of 10 Black Americans say police treatment has gotten worse in the past year. Roughly the same percentage believe police shootings of Black and brown youths have worsened in that time.

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