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Sapho Flor, 34, left, and Tiff Lin, 32, embrace during an anti-Asian hate vigil at Chinatown’s Madison Park in downtown Oakland, Calif., on Tuesday, March 23, 2021. (Jane Tyska/Digital First Media/East Bay Times via Getty Images)

President Biden, Vice President Harris and other White House officials met this afternoon with members of the The Asian American Foundation (TAAF), a newly formed philanthropic group aimed at fighting racism against Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders, Axios has learned. 

Why it matters: Violent attacks against Asians — lighting victims on fire, stabbings, stompings, assaults with hammers — have continued to rise this year even with more national attention.

Driving the news: President Biden today signed the COVID-19 Hate Crimes Act into law, which directs law enforcement to better identify anti-Asian racism and track specific crimes for more data collection.

In attendance at today's meeting were Deputy Assistant to the President and AAPI Senior Liaison Erika Moritsugu, White House Public Engagement Director Cedric Richmond and Domestic Policy Advisor Susan Rice.

  • Sonal Shah, president of TAAF, and members of the group's board discussed with the White House how they plan to distribute the funds across three goals — education, data and research, and fighting back against AAPI hate.
  • TAAF Advisory Council members Lisa Ling and Daniel Dae Kim, representatives from the Anti-Defamation League, MacArthur Foundation and other TAAF partners attended virtually.

Meanwhile, TAAF also says it has now raised over $1 billion in total philanthropic contributions, representing an additional $750 million in the two weeks since its launch.

The big picture: The U.S. has a long history of anti-Asian racism dating back centuries and of leaving out Asian American history from school programs and textbooks.

  • An 1854 California Supreme Court ruling barred Asian people from testifying in court against a white person. The Chinese Exclusion Act of 1882 was the first major law targeting specific immigrants.
  • During a press conference Tuesday, Congresswoman Judy Chu, chair of the Congressional Asian Pacific American Caucus, acknowledged the work that President Biden's administration has done, but also said she would like to "see every level of government issue an apology for the Chinese Exclusion Act."

Go deeper

Biden recess plan omits Afghanistan

Photo: Andrew Caballero-Reynolds/AFP via Getty Images

The White House is downplaying Afghanistan in outside-the-Beltway events during the August congressional recess, hoping voters will pay more attention to President Biden's big spending plans.

Why it matters: Democrats privately fear political blowback, even though the White House insists voters aren't talking about the Kabul calamity.

Jan. 6 panel subpoenas "alternate" Trump electors

Rep. Bennie Thompson (D-Miss.) addresses the media after a House Jan. 6 select committee hearing in July 2021. Photo: Tom Williams/CQ-Roll Call, Inc via Getty Images

The House select committee investigating the Jan. 6 attack on Friday announced subpoenas for more than a dozen people who led groups of "alternate electors" for former President Trump.

Why it matters: Slates of fake electors organized by pro-Trump forces in the wake of the 2020 election have come under intense scrutiny in recent weeks around the one-year anniversary of the attack.

Swastikas found outside Union Station in Washington, D.C.

People walk through Union Station on Jan. 16 in Washington, D.C. Photo: Spencer Platt/Getty Images

Drawings of swastikas appeared etched around the entrance to Union Station in Washington, D.C., on Friday morning.

Driving the news: "An investigation is underway with Amtrak Police and the Metropolitan Police Department after swastikas were reported on the exterior of Washington Union Station on Friday," Amtrak spokesperson Kimberly Woods said in a statement to Axios.