tv President Biden Signs COVID-19 Hate Crimes Act CSPAN May 23, 2021 1:48pm-2:16pm EDT
a.m. eastern he takes questions from the senate appropriations committee. then at 2:15 p.m. eastern the senate foreign relations committee. watch them live on c-span on c-span.org or listen on the free radio app. >> c-span is your unfiltered view of government. >> broadband is a force for empowerment. that is why charter has invested billions in infrastructure upgrading technology, empowering opportunity in communities big and small. charters connecting us. charter communications supports c-span along with the other providers, giving you a front-row seat to democracy. president biden and vice president harris held a bill signing ceremony for the covid-19 hate crimes act which
instructs the justice department to review hate crimes targeting asian-americans and pacific islanders. the legislation was passed with wide bipartisan support. [applause] vice president harris: good afternoon everyone. let my -- me start by saying all of the leaders here, thank you. thank you. thank you to the members of our united states congress on both sides of the aisle who helped pass the covid-19 hate crimes act. thank you. [applause] and a special thanks to senator mazie hirono.
[applause] and congresswoman grace meng. [applause] for leading this incredible effort. i know you did not do it alone. there are many more i could name , a couple of whom i will. senator tammy duckworth. [applause] senater richard blumenthal. [applause] senator jerry mccarron. [applause] congresswoman judy chu. [applause] congressman don buyer --byer. [applause] and congressman fred upton. [applause]
because of you, history will remember this day. and this moment. when our nation took action to combat hate. thank you all. around this time last year, when i was in the senate, senator hirono and senator duckworth and i introduced a resolution in the united states senate condemning the rise of anti-asian sentiment in our country. at that time, more than 1100 anti-asian hate incidents had been reported since the start of the pandemic. today, that number is more than 6600. i'm talking about incidents where businesses are being vandalized in our biggest cities and in our smallest towns. i am talking about a 61-year-old man getting kicked in the head. two elderly women being stabbed
while waiting for the bus. eight people in atlanta getting shot on a tuesday night. this violence did not come from nowhere. none of it is new. in my life, my lived experience, i have seen how hate can pervade our communities. i have served in the justice system, in the legislative branch, and in the executive branch. i have seen how hate can impede our progress. i have seen how people uniting against hate can strengthen our country. those here today are united. this bill brings us one step closer to stopping hate, not only for asian americans, but for all americans. it will expedite the justice
department's review of hate crime, every type of hate crime. it will designate an official active department to oversee the effort and expand efforts to make the reporting of hate crime's more accessible at the local and state level. but after the president signs this bill today, our work will not be done. here is the truth. racism exists in america. the no phobia exists in america. -- zeno phobia -- xenophobia exists in america. the work to address injustice wherever it exists remains the work ahead. my fellow americans, it is my great honor to mention and say to you what you already know. we have a president of the united states in joe biden who
was committed to this work. he is determined. i have a quote from him "give hate no safe harbor." firsthand, i have seen that his actions match those powerful words. it is my great honor to introduce the president of the united states, joe biden. [applause] president biden: thank you. thank you. progress is possible. we are moving. good afternoon everyone.
from the beginning of my have pain -- i have said from the beginning of my campaign, you would call me and tell me to keep it up, it was about bringing people together by uniting the country. we need to unite people, one nation, one america. that was the thing i was often criticized about. saying, how can unite the country? we must united. i saidi said it again when i spt gettysburg. i am confident we can do this and so much more. i believe with every fiber of my being that there are simple core values and beliefs that should bring us together as americans. one of them is standing together
against hate. against racism. the ugly poison that has haunted and played our nation. today i can say that because of all of you sitting in front of me, you have taken that first step, this important step. i would like to think congress and the members here today, democrats and republicans, who came together to get the covid-19 hate crimes act on my desk. well, autodesk i am about to sign on. -- on a desk i am about to sign on. [laughter] i want to thank the majority leader schumer and speaker pelosi for your leadership. i also want to thank the leader from the state of kentucky for letting it go forward. most of all, senator hirono,
senator tammy duckworth who helped deliver this 94 to one vote. you get involved, tammy. you do not screw around. [laughter] state representative grace meng and judy chu helped deliver a 364 to 62 vote in the house of representatives. that is incredible. i also want to thank republican congress for their leadership including senator moran and senator collins. i also want to thank all of the folks here today who were involved whether in the congress or not supporting this effort. thank you. we have a lot more to do. we simply have not seen this kind of bipartisanship for much too long in washington.
you are showing that our democracy can work and deliver for the american people. after the mass shooting in atlanta, the vice president and i went down to atlanta to meet with asian americans. it was a raw and emotional visit. we heard about the pain, the fear, the anger, and all that existed in the community. they felt visible. -- invisible. not seen. too many asian americans have been waking up this morning this past year genuinely fearing for their safety. just opening the door and walking down the street. and safety for their loved ones. the moms and dads who cannot let their kids out the door to go to school without worrying they will be attacked, blamed, scapegoated, harassed during the pandemic.
living in fear for their lives just walking down the street. grandparents afraid to leave their homes even to get vaccinated for fear of being attacked. small business owners targeted and gunned down, students worried about two things: covid-19 and being bullied. documented incidents of hate against asian americans has seen a shocking spike. let alone the ones that have never been reported. gutwrenching attacks on some of the most vulnerable people in our nation the elderly, low-wage workers, women. they are attacked simply walking outside are just waiting for a bus. asian american women have suffered twice as much harassment as asian american men. the conversation we had in atlanta is what we are hearing across the country. all of this hate hides in plain
sight. it hides in plain sight. often, it is met with silence. silence by the media, silenced by our politics and silent fire history. for for centuries asian americans, native hawaiians, pacific islanders, diverse and vibrant communities have helped build this nation only to be often stepped over, forgotten or ignored. and all have lived here for generations but still considered by some, the other. the other. it's wrong. it's simply, to use the phrase, it's simply un-american. my message to all of those who are hurting is, we see you. the congress has said, we see you. and we are committed to stop the
hatred and the bias. my first week in office i signed a presidential memorandum directing federal agencies to combat the resurgence of xenophobia. not just one, every agency. attorney general garland, deputy attorney general monaco, assoc. ag gupta are all here today. the department of justice is strengthening its partnership with the community to prevent these crimes. in addition to its other work to take on violent extremism and domestic terrorism. and with the new law, this new law, the department of justice and our entire administration is going to step up. right now this is a critical problem of hate crimes being underreported. it stems from two challenges. first, there's a lack of resources and training for state and local law enforcement to accurately identify and report hate crimes to the f.b.i. secondly, for more people and communities of color, there are language and cultural barriers on how to communicate what's happening to them. this law is going make a
difference. for example, the department of justice will issue clear guidance for state, city, and tribal, and law enforcement agencies, on how to establish online reporting of hate crimes. it will work with the department of health and human services to raise public awareness of covid-19 hate crimes that occurred during pandemic. there will also be a devoted official at the department of justice whose sole job is to expedite the review of hate crime reports. and thanks to two families here today, who will help state and local governments ensure hate crime information is more accessible to the public. the family of heather heyer, a civil rights activist whose life was taken standing up to nazis marching against the shadows of vengeance in charlottesville, and the family of a proud son,
khalid jabara, of an immigrant family, who was gunned down in front of his home here in america, in the united states of america, by a neighbor fueled by hate. khalid jabara. both families share profound grief. and they've shown incredible courage to turn their pain into purpose. i hope you'll not be offended. i ask both families to please stand. [applause] i want to thank you. i want to thank you for being here. because i know it's hard. no matter how celebratory it is, a law being changed, when you have to show up at something
memorializing your family. it's like, you got the news 10 seconds ago. it's the hardest thing to do. i know from experience it takes enormous courage. but i hope, i hope, that every day that's passed, the memory of your son and daughter brings a smile to your lips before it brings a tear to your eye. because i promise you, a lot of people understand who have gone through similar things. it's hard. so i really mean it when i say, thank you. thank you for being here. it takes a lot of courage. [applause] because of you the amendment named in honor of khalid and heather is now law. to make sure that hate crimes are more accurately counted and
reported and, hopefully, leading to a continued focus on ending these crimes. it will provide resources to create specialized hate crimes units. it will also help states create hotlines for hate crimes at state and local levels that will be accessible for people with limited english proficiency. and it provides resources for training for state and local law enforcement, to identify, investigate, and report these heinous crimes. of all the good the law can do, we have to change our hearts, we have to change the hearts of the american people. hate can't, i mean this from the bottom of my heart, hate can be given no safe harbor in america. i mean it. no safe harbor. it can't be dismissed like, well, that's just what happens.
my sister, valerie, and i talk about it all the time. you got to speak up. speak up and speak out. it's on all of us. all of us together, to make it stop. my message is, to all those who think this doesn't matter to them, or this is not a problem, look around, look in the mirror. look in the eyes of your children. every one of us are lessened, every one of us are lessened and we are all hurt by this hate. it has a way of seeping through the cracks in the communities and children who it wouldn't have crossed their mind. words have consequences, as the senator knows. he preaches it. he understands it. consequences. but silence is complicity. silence is complicity.
and we cannot be complicit. we have to speak out. we have to act. that's what you've done. and i can't thank you enough. i'm proud today. i'm proud today of the united states. i'm proud today of our political system, the united states congress. i'm proud today, that democrats and republicans have stood up together to say something. let me close with this. grief, as we all know, is universal. but so is hope. so is love. sounds corny, but it really is. it really is. and hope and love can be contagious. we are the united states of america.
we are a good and decent people. we are unique among all nations, in that we are uniquely a product of a document, not an ethnicity, not a religion, not a geography - of a document. and think about this. i'm being literal. uniquely a product of a document that says, we hold these truths to be self-evident. that all men and women are created equal, endowed by their creator with certain inalienable rights, including life, liberty , and the pursuit of happiness. every time we are silent, every time we let hate flourish, we make a lie of who we are as a nation. i mean it literally.
we cannot let the very foundation of this country continue to be eaten away like it has been in other moments in our history and happening again. i looked at this law that you all passed as maybe the first break, the first significant break on a moment in our history that has to be turned around. not democrat or republican. has to be turned around. as a consequence, we should do what is required by the obligations of this democracy. by our faith in god and our faith in each other. to do justice, to love mercy, to walk humbly. and as fellow human beings and
fellow americans, remember, we are unique in all of history as a nation. this is the united states of america, for god's sake. may god bless you all, particularly those who pushed this through and continue to push it. i'm going to sign this bill. which is a great honor. i don't know who's calling but tell them we're busy. [laughter] i was going to say, unless it's my sister, but she's here. senator hirono, senator duckworth, congresswoman grace meng, congresswoman judy chu, congressman don beyer, senator richard blumenthal, and senator moran, but i don't think he can be here today. actually, i should put the table down in the middle of all of you and sign it down there. but thank you, thank you, thank you.
pres. biden: thank you. [applause] all right. pres. biden: thank you. [applause] all right. thank you. vp harris: congratulations. pres. biden: after i walked out of my grand pop's house, he said, joe, keep the faith. my grandma said, no, joe, spread the faith. [indiscernible] [applause] [captions copyright national cable satellite corp. 2021] [captioning performed by the national captioning institute, which is responsible for its caption content and accuracy. visit ncicap.org]
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