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Biden announces new actions to combat anti-Asian violence

President Biden announced a slate of new actions Tuesday aimed at addressing the nation's rise in anti-Asian violence.

Why it matters: The move comes nearly two weeks after deadly shootings that left eight dead, including six Asian women, and after a year of Asian American Pacific Islander (AAPI) communities' calls for help from the government.

Details: The new actions include a Department of Justice cross-agency initiative focused on responding to hate crimes.

  • The DOJ will initiate community outreach to address gaps in hate crimes reporting while the FBI will publish a new interactive hate crime page dedicated to anti-Asian hate crimes. The DOJ also updated its hate crimes website accessible in Chinese, Korean, Tagalog and Vietnamese.
  • The FBI will work to improve data collection and prior reporting systems, and hold nationwide civil rights training events with state and local law enforcement on recognizing anti-Asian bias — an issue the community has spoken out about.

The administration will allocate $49.5 million from the American Rescue Plan to a new grant program for community-based, "culturally specific" services for survivors of domestic violence and sexual assault, particularly those who face barriers like language access.

A new COVID-19 Equity Task Force will work to address and end xenophobia against Asian Americans. It will make recommendations to the president to "eliminate health and social disparities" that result in higher rates of infections and deaths, especially for groups like Pacific Islanders and Native Hawaiians.

  • A subcommittee will provide policy guidance on the federal government's response to anti-Asian xenophobia and bias.
  • In addition, the National Science foundation will be tasked with conducting "critical research" to understand and end discrimination against AAPIs.

The White House will also reinstate its Initiative on Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders, which Asian American groups had advocated for. It will focus on coordinating across federal agencies to combat anti-Asian bias, "especially anti-Asian violence at the intersection of gender-based violence."

The backdrop: The Center for the Study of Hate and Extremism at California State University found that anti-Asian hate crimes reported to police in America's largest cities jumped nearly 150% in 2020.

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