Joint Statement by HHS Secretary Becerra and Ambassador Tai on the Two-Year Anniversary of the Atlanta Spa Murders
Co-Chairs of the White House Initiative and President’s Advisory Commission on Asian Americans, Native Hawaiians, and Pacific Islanders reaffirm the Biden-Harris Administration’s commitment to combat anti-Asian hate and gender-based violence
Today, Health and Human Services Secretary Xavier Becerra and U.S. Trade Representative Ambassador Katherine Tai issued a joint statement marking the two-year anniversary of the 2021 Atlanta spa murders, in which eight people, including six women of Asian descent, were killed by a gunman who targeted three Asian-owned businesses.
“Two years ago, eight lives were stolen in a string of shootings in Atlanta that heightened fears for Asian Americans already grappling with anti-Asian sentiment. On this somber anniversary, our hearts are with the families and loved ones of those who were impacted by these senseless acts of gun violence, and we share in the grief that remains fresh for many in the Atlanta community.
“The heinous murders were a national tragedy – one that not only brought visibility to the pain of Asian American, Native Hawaiian and Pacific Islander (AA and NHPI) communities, but also placed a spotlight on the violence, racism, and misogyny that Asian women across this country disproportionately experience. In response, the Biden-Harris Administration recently released its first-ever national strategy to advance equity, justice, and opportunity for AA and NHPIs that includes new commitments from federal agencies to combat anti-Asian hate and discrimination. Moreover, the White House Gender Policy Council released a progress report on the National Strategy on Gender Equity and Equality, which outlines the strides made to improve women’s health, education, economic security, and safety.
“From Atlanta to Monterey Park, we have met too many community members shaken by acts of mass violence. And the effects of trauma from these incidents can often persist for decades. This Administration remains committed to providing culturally and linguistically appropriate resources, including mental health support, as part of our long-term efforts to advance safety, inclusion, and belonging for AA and NHPI communities. We continue to be inspired by local leaders and advocates working to build a future without fear, and who demonstrate the resilience of the AA, NHPI, and Atlanta communities.”
Following the 2021 Atlanta spa murders, the Biden-Harris Administration took swift action to combat anti-Asian violence and gender-based violence, including through:
- The reinvigoration of the White House Initiative and President’s Advisory Commission on AA and NHPIs, which has paved the way for the development of a whole-of-government strategy to address the rise of violence and discrimination—including gender-based violence;
- The appointment of the first-ever White House Asian American, Native Hawaiian, and Pacific Islander Senior Liaison;
- The release of the Administration’s first-ever national strategy to advance equity, justice, and opportunity for AA and NHPI communities;
- Increased funding to support AA and NHPI survivors of domestic violence and sexual assault through the American Rescue Plan, and the strengthening the Violence Against Women Act;
- The enactment of the bipartisan COVID-19 Hate Crimes Act, issuance of a memoranda from the Attorney General to improve efforts to combat hate crimes, and the appointment of the first hate crimes coordinator within the U.S. Department of Justice;
- The convening of a United We Stand Summit at the White House to counter the corrosive effects of hate-fueled violence on our democracy and public safety;
- The publication of joint guidance around hate crimes by the U.S. Department of Justice and U.S. Department of Health and Human Services; and
- Executive and legislative actions to reduce gun violence, including the signing of the Bipartisan Safer Communities Act, which ushered in the most significant gun safety reforms in 30 years.
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