After two years that saw a dramatic spike in crimes in the United States against Asian victims, President Joe Biden is proposing a “dynamite” next step in how to stop the targeted violence.
Next Tuesday, his guests will be smooth like butter.
The president will welcome K-pop superstars BTS — Bangtan Sonyeondan or “Beyond the Scene,” a White House press release noted — on Tuesday, May 31. The visit with the group that popularized the K-pop genre in the United State will be part of an effort to address Asian inclusion and representation.
The meeting will also address a recent rise in anti-Asian hate crimes in the wake of the pandemic.
“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 AA [Asian-American] and NHPI [Native Hawaiian and Pacific Islander] communities. President Biden and BTS will also discuss the importance of diversity and inclusion and BTS’ platform as youth ambassadors who spread a message of hope and positivity across the world. Additional details to follow,” the statement continued.
After one anti-Asian crime in 2021 when a man shot and killed eight people, six of whom were Asian, BTS tweeted “StopAsianHate #StopAAPIHate.” That tweet was the most retweeted tweet of 2021, according to Twitter
Anti-Asian crimes and other bias incidents have spiked in the U.S. during the COVID-19 pandemic. The Center for the Study of Hate and Extremism at California State University, San Bernardino, reported a 339% jump in anti-Asian hate crimes between 2020 and 2021, according to a report from NBC.
The announcement from Biden comes just a few days after he returned to the U.S. from his trip to Asia.