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Biden hosts Lunar New Year celebration days after Monterey Park shooting

President Biden on Thursday hosted a Lunar New Year celebration at the White House, offering support for the Asian American community days after a gunman in California killed 11 people during festivities for the holiday.

The president and first lady Jill Biden hosted dozens of people in the East Room of the White House for a reception, where the president acknowledged both the desire to celebrate and the ongoing mourning in the Asian American community.

“For all the progress, this community has experienced profound hate, pain, and violence and loss,” President Biden said. “As I’ve said before, hate can have no safe harbor in America. No person deserves to be treated in a hateful way.”

Biden was speaking less than a week after a gunman in Monterey Park, a predominantly Asian American neighborhood in Los Angeles, killed 11 people at a dance studio who were celebrating the Lunar New Year.

In a video released Thursday by the White House, Biden spoke with Brandon Tsay, a 26-year-old who is credited with disarming the gunman in Monterey Park, and thanked him for his courage.

The president during the reception held a moment of silence in honor of the victims. He also recounted a conversation with Rep. Judy Chu (D-Calif.), who told the president that Thursday’s celebration should go forward and not to “give in to fear and sorrow.”

Chu is the chair of the Congressional Asian Pacific American Caucus.

The Monterey Park shooting is the latest instance of violence against the Asian American community. Hate crimes against Asian Americans has been on the rise since the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, which originated in China.

Since early 2021, a gunman in the Atlanta area killed several Asian women, multiple people were shot at a California church in an incident authorities said was motivated by political hatred against Taiwan and a man in New York City allegedly attacked seven Asian women within a two-hour period.

Biden noted that there have been efforts during his administration to improve recognition and support for Asian Americans, including legislation to study the creation of a National Museum of Asian Pacific American History and Culture, as well as a bill to combat the rise in hate crimes against Asian Americans stemming from the pandemic.

“We cannot be silent,” Biden said Thursday. “I will not be silent.”

Source: The Hill

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