BTS is coming back to the United States. After performing four back-to-back concerts in Las Vegas in April, the group is now scheduled to return to the States very soon. BTS is set to meet President Joe Biden on Tuesday, May 31, in honor of Asian American, Native Hawaiian, and Pacific Islander (AANHPI) Heritage Month. According to a statement issued by the White House on May 26, BTS and Biden will also raise awareness about the recent spike in anti-Asian hate crimes.
According to NBC News, who cited data by the Center for the Study of Hate and Extremism, anti-Asian hate crimes in the U.S. increased 339% percent from 2020 to 2021. The data reported New York City saw an increase from 30 anti-Asian hate crimes reported in 2020 to 133 last year. Meanwhile, anti-Asian hate crimes in San Francisco increased from nine to 60 reported crimes over the same period. The data also states that there were about 10,370 reported hate incidents between March 2020 to September 2021.
“President Biden has previously spoken about his commitment to combating the surge of anti-Asian hate crimes and signed into law the COVID-19 Hate Crimes Act in May 2021 to provide law enforcement with resources to identify, investigate, and report hate crimes and ensure that hate crimes information is more accessible to [Asian American, Native Hawaiian, and Pacific Islander] communities,” the White House said in a statement.
The White House press release also said that Biden and BTS will speak about “the importance of diversity and inclusion and BTS’ platform as youth ambassadors who spread a message of hope and positivity across the world.”
This isn’t the first time BTS has used their platform to address hate. After eight people were killed in a March 2021 series of shootings at three Atlanta-area spas, the group shared a message condemning Asian hate and also spoke about their own experience with discrimination. NPR reported six of the eight people killed in the shootings were of Asian descent.
“We have endured expletives without reason and were mocked for the way we look. We were even asked why Asians spoke in English,” BTS said in a statement on Twitter on March 29, 2021. “Our own experiences are inconsequential compared to the events that have occurred over the past few weeks.”
The group also noted the hate they’d received made them feel “powerless.” “We stand against racial discrimination. We condemn violence,” the group said. “You, I and we all have the right to be respected. We will stand together.”
For helpful resources on how to address and discuss anti-Asian hate crimes, visit Stop AAPI Hate.
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