On Thursday, President Joe Biden signed new legislation hoping to stem hate crimes against Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders.
“Hate can be given no safe harbor in America,” Biden, 78, said before signing the bill. “It can’t be dismissed like, ‘Oh, that’s just what happens.’ My sister Valerie and I talk about it all the time. We’ve got to speak up.”
“There are simple core values and beliefs that should bring us together as Americans. One of them is standing together against hate, against racism — the ugly poison that has long haunted and plagued our nation,” the president added, emphasizing how “proud” he was that “Republicans and Democrats stood up together to say something.”
According to PEOPLE, the Senate passed the COVID-19 Hate Crimes Act last month by an overwhelming 94-1 vote and the House by a 364-62 margin on Tuesday.
The new bill allows the Department of Justice the right to speed up reviews of reported hate crimes. The department will also create a national hotline so that people can report crimes.
The DOJ will appoint an official to oversee the efforts of the new legislation.
Under the new bill, there will be grants given to states to allow them to have similar hotlines, while also calling on the department and the Department of Health and Human Services to issue public information to bring attention to the rise of hate crimes since the coronavirus pandemic.
Hate crimes against Asian-Americans rose by 150% among major cities last year.
“History will remember this day and this moment when our nation took action to combat hate,” Vice President Kamala Harris said, speaking before Biden.
“This bill brings us one step closer to stopping hate, not only for Asian Americans but all Americans,” Harris added.