President Biden meets with AAPI leaders to discuss rise in hate crimes, discrimination

WASHINGTON, DC — From coast to coast, hate crimes against the Asian American and Pacific Islander (AAPI) communities are on the rise, with cities seeing a spike in attacks since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic.

President Biden met with AAPI leaders Thursday to discuss this alarming surge in hate incidents.

“We think about all the pain during this pandemic with the rise in hate crimes, harassment, bullying and other forms of bias against Asian Americans,” said Biden.

Biden said he met with some of the AAPI leaders previously as well after the March shootings at Asian-owned spas in Atlanta.

“The discussion was very raw,” said Biden. “It was powerful and a common theme was Asian Americans feeling unsafe.”

Our Washington News Bureau asked Satjeet Kaur, Executive Director of the Sikh Coalition, whether the discussion with President Biden included the legal challenges for prosecutors working to prove that a crime was racially motivated and whether the Biden administration intends to push for changes.

King County prosecutors in Washington state did not file hate crime charges in the February attack against a woman in Seattle’s Chinatown district and said that hate crime charges can be difficult because motive must be proved before prosecutors can file the charges.

“One thing we have to understand is that hate crimes should not require a singular motive of bias,” said Kaur. “Oftentimes with crimes you have multiple reasons as to why that happened and so we need to close the federal loophole and that was absolutely discussed.”

According to the Center for the Study of Hate and Extremism at California State University, hate crimes against the AAPI communities reported to police jumped 146 percent last year.