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Vice President Kamala Harris on Wednesday condemned the yearlong spike in anti-Asian hate and urged the Asian American community to harness its political power.

What she's saying: "When we saw the targeting, when we've seen the hate, when we've seen the viciousness of it all ... As a member of this community, I share in that outrage and grief, and I believe we have an opportunity now to turn that pain into action," the country's first Asian and Black vice president said at the AAPI Victory Alliance's unity summit.

  • The reporting center Stop AAPI Hate has received over 6,600 reports since March 2020, but that number falls short, Harris said, pointing to her experience working on hate crimes reports as California's attorney general.
  • She also condemned the current slew of GOP-led voting restrictions, which she said will "suppress" Asian Americans' right to vote.
    • AAPI voter turnout jumped by 46% between 2016 and 2020, and used vote-by-mail at a higher rate than any other group, USA Today reports.
  • "We have an opportunity to ... transform our nation's future," she added, encouraging the community to mobilize its power.
"And it is what I call American aspiration. It is the ability to see what can be, unburdened by what has been. It is the determination, not only to dream, but to do."

Hillary Clinton, who also spoke at the event, said that seeing the community respond to anti-Asian hate has given her hope.

  • "Facing adversity can break you, it can discourage you, it can depress you, it can make you feel like there’s nothing you can do, but that’s not what I’m seeing," she said.
  • "I’m seeing a real coming-together, not only of the community itself, but the allies — people who are standing up, speaking out, voting on behalf of what should be obvious, which is a fair, just, equal, inclusive America."

The big picture: Congress this week sent the COVID-19 Hate Crimes Act to President Biden's desk, which Harris applauded in her remarks on Wednesday.

Go deeper

Updated May 18, 2021 - Politics & Policy

House sends anti-Asian hate crimes bill to Biden's desk

Asian Coalition of Massachusetts organizer Fiona Phie takes a moment of silence after placing an offering to honor those who have experienced violent anti-Asian hate crimes. Photo: Erin Clark/The Boston Globe via Getty Images

The House voted 364-62 on Tuesday to pass the COVID-19 Hate Crimes Act and send it to President Biden's desk, who has said he will sign the measure into law.

Why it matters: Introduced by Rep. Grace Meng (D-N.Y.), the bill is Congress' first substantial effort to address the rise of anti-Asian hate this past year, which has included stabbings, sexual assault and elder abuse.

Updated 15 mins ago - Politics & Policy

Congress passes $2.1B Capitol security funding bill

U.S. Capitol police officers testify during a House select committee hearing on the Jan. 6 Capitol riot on July 27. Photo: Andrew Caballero-Reynolds/Pool via Xinhua

A $2.1 billion Capitol security funding bill is heading to President Biden for his signature after the House and Senate passed the legislation on Thursday.

Why it matters: The legislation provides funding for the Capitol Police, the National Guard and other agencies to cover the costs incurred during the Jan. 6 riot.

Biden details new vaccination initiatives as COVID cases surge

Joe Biden. Photo: Anna Moneymaker/Getty Images

President Biden detailed several new initiatives on Thursday to get more Americans vaccinated and slow the spread of the Delta variant.

Why it matters: The plan outlines aggressive next steps from the federal government as COVID-19 cases surge across the country due to the contagious Delta variant and as demand for vaccines has tapered off.