In the United States we celebrate Asian-Pacific American Heritage Month in May. It is particularly important that we highlight it this year, given the horrific rise in anti-Asian violence since the start of the pandemic, which can only be attributed to ignorance and bigotry. The U.S. government strongly condemns this recent wave of violence, and on April 22 the U.S. Senate overwhelmingly passed legislation to address this disturbing trend. The House of Representatives is considering a similar law, after which a reconciled version approved by both Houses can be signed into law by President Biden. As Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer said, “By passing this bill, the Senate makes it very clear that hate and discrimination against any group has no place in America. Bigotry against one is bigotry against all.”
Sadly, anti-Asian discrimination and violence is not new in the United States, and we must acknowledge it and redouble our efforts to end it once and for all. We can do this by being allies and advocates when we see anti-Asian racism and prejudice sentiment and stepping in to stop it. And we can celebrate the vast contributions that Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders have made to our country over two centuries, from building the Transcontinental Railroad to countless contributions in art, culture, science, academia, security, business, and cuisine. I encourage everyone to take time in May to celebrate the rich diversity that the AAPI community has brought to the United States and to each of our lives.