On Wednesday, Vice President Kamala Harris will deliver the keynote address at the Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders Victory Alliance solidarity summit.
Harris, the first South Asian-American vice president of the United States, will give the keynote speech at 6 p.m. EDT. The simulated summit is the first of its kind for the AAPI Victory Alliance.
“The AAPI Victory Alliance couldn’t be more thrilled that our favorite daughter, Vice President Kamala Harris, will deliver the keynote address for our first-ever unity summit,” AAPI Victory Alliance Executive Director Varun Nikore said in a statement. “Vice President Harris is an inspiration for all of our AAPI children who now know the sky’s the limit and you can be anything in this country that they strive for.”
During the interactive summit, dubbed “From Victory to Unity,” which takes place during AAPI Heritage Month, Harris will deliver remarks on her own heritage.
According to an AAPI Victory Alliance announcement, the virtual event will also feature other prominent persons in politics and popular culture to comment on the AAPI community’s rising presence and harnessing that strength despite an increase in anti-Asian hate crimes.
Asian Americans, who represent the fastest growing population in the country, voted at higher rates in the 2020 election than in the past, CNN reported.
“AAPIs are rising. As the fastest growing group in the country, we witnessed a 46% increase in turnout from 2016 to 2020 despite a rise of hate and violence against our communities,” Nikore said. “This isn’t just a conference, it is a recognition of all that we have worked hard for and achieved. We are here, we are rising, and we are proud to be AAPI Americans.”
Harris will be joined by former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, and celebrities Tan France and Simu Liu.
The event will also feature dialogue between eight senators of color, including Sens. Cory Booker, D-N.J.; Mazie Hirono, D-Hawaii; Tammy Duckworth, D-Ill.; Raphael Warnock, D-Ga.; Alex Padilla, D-Calif.; Catherine Masto Cortez, D-Nev.; Ben Ray Lujan, D-N.M.; and Robert Menendez, D-N.J., to show unity, the Washington Post reported.
Anti-Asian hate crimes in 16 of the country’s largest cities and counties have increased 164% since the same period last year, from 36 to 95 crimes, according to a report by the Center for the Study of Hate and Extremism. The increase follows a historic surge last year when hate crime increased 146% across 26 of the largest jurisdictions in the United States. Hate crimes first spiked last year as the COVID-19 pandemic broke out in March and April and political and online stigmatizing of Asians increased.
During a March visit to Atlanta, President Joe Biden observed a “skyrocketing spike” in crime and racial rhetoric directed at Asian Americans. The city was the location of a series of spa shootings that killed eight people, including six people of Asian origin and two White people. Robert Aaron Long, a White 21-year-old man, has been charged with the killings, which rocked Korean neighbourhoods despite an increase in hate crimes.
Following the March 16 spa shootings in Atlanta, Harris and Biden met with Asian American community leaders in a show of cooperation and encouragement.