Meng Joins President Biden at the White House as He Signs Her COVID-19 Hate Crimes Act into Law
May 20, 2021
Congresswoman stands by the President’s side as he signs her bill; measure seeks to help combat the rise in anti-Asian hate
WASHINGTON, D.C. – This afternoon, U.S. Rep. Grace Meng (D-Queens) joined President Biden at the White House as he signed her COVID-19 Hate Crimes Act into law. The measure, which Congress passed with overwhelming and bipartisan support – 364 to 62 in the House on Tuesday and of 94 to 1 in the Senate last month – aims to help combat the ongoing hate and violence against Asian Americans.
“I am truly heartened by this moment,” said Meng. “It is an incredible feeling to see my legislation become the law of the land, and I am so proud to have championed this issue of fighting for the safety of Asian Americans. Earlier this week, I said that by passing my bill, Congress had the Asian American community’s back. Today, President Biden further demonstrated that he has backs of Asian Americans as well. I am incredibly grateful for the extraordinary leadership that the President has provided. Since the beginning of his administration, he has made protecting the Asian American community a top priority; not just with words but with actions. He is a great friend and ally of the Asian American community and it has been an honor to partner with him to combat this problem. I thank him for having me by his side during this signing ceremony and for being such a strong and vocal supporter of my bill. As we commemorate this signing, let us not forget the pain and struggles of the past year and the fear and terror that the Asian American community has been forced to endure, and remember all those who have been impacted by these heinous and racist attacks. For too long, Asian Americans have been seen as invisible and silent. We’ve often been viewed as foreigners and outsiders. But we are as American as anybody else in this country, and we will be invisible no more. I remain hopeful that by continuing to work with the President, colleagues in government, leaders of other communities and so many other partners, we will stop Asian hate!”
The bill signing took place in the East Room of the White House. After the event, Meng was presented with a pen that the President used to sign her legislation.
The COVID-19 Hate Crimes Act, which Meng reintroduced in March with Senator Mazie Hirono (D-HI), would among other things, create a position at the Department of Justice to facilitate expedited review of COVID-19 hate crimes, encourage more reporting of incidents in multiple languages, and help make different communities feel more empowered to come forward and report these incidents. It would also direct federal agencies to work with community-based organizations to raise awareness of hate crimes during the pandemic.
Meng noted that she is also pushing additional efforts to break down stereotypes and negative perceptions of Asian Americans including an initiative to promote the teaching of Asian Pacific American history in schools across the United States.