â€œThe reason we are strong, the reason weâ€™re who we are is because weâ€™re diverse with so many talents,â€ says Biden
President Joe Biden and his Indian American Vice President waxed eloquent about the beauty and strength of America as a diverse nation of immigrants with many talents.
â€œAs you all know, my mother arrived in the United States at the age of 19, from India,â€ recalled Harris at a reception to celebrate Asian American, Native Hawaiian, Pacific Islander (AANHPI) Heritage Month in White House Rose Garden on May 17.
As is her wont, Americaâ€™s first vice president of Asian and African heritage gave a shout out to her mother saying, â€œIt is true, there is something we all know: that we must always honor the mothers, the aunties, the chithis, (tamil for aunts) all of them.â€
Read: Biden naming 4 Indian Americans to presidential body on AANHPI communities (December 21, 2021)
â€œAnd when I think about the work that we are all doing, the work we are doing as an administration, led by our President, in terms of not only living the values but standing on the shoulders of so many who imagined that we would all be here.”
â€œAnd who know that when we talk about the beauty of who we are as a nation, as the United States of America, it is represented by all of the people who are here today and all those who are proud that we stand here today together,â€ Harris said.
Calling it â€œa great celebration for so many reasons of so many things,â€ she said. â€œBut it is also impossible to ignore that we gather mere days after a horrific act of hate in Buffalo, New York, targeting Black Americans.â€
Recalling her remarks last year in Atlanta where she went with the president to mourn the murder of eight people, including six who were Asian American women, Harris said, â€œAnd, sadly, what I said then remains true now.â€
â€œRacism is real in America. It has always been. Xenophobia is real in America. It has always been. Sexism too,â€ she said.
â€œI said last year and I sadly say again today: We have had people in positions of incredible power in our country scapegoating, people with the biggest pulpits spreading this kind of hate. This requires â€” these moments â€” sadly, tragically require us to ask, â€œWho are we as a nation? And what do we stand for?â€
â€œAnd we also know in tragic moments like this that we are committed collectively to saying: A harm against any one of us, is a harm against all of us, and it is all harm against our nation, â€œ Harris said amid applause.
â€œAnd we must do everything in our power to end this epidemic of hate,â€ Harris said giving a call to â€œremain committed to the ideals that make this nation great. That we remain committed to the notion that a harm against any one of us is a harm against all of us.â€
â€œBut that is an extension of a most profound belief, which is that we are in this together as one nation undivided,â€ she said. â€œSo today we celebrate all those ideals when we celebrate the great people of this nation who have paved a path for so many of us to be where we are today.â€
Speaking on the occasion, Biden said, â€œYou represent a simple truth: There is no single Asian American, Native Hawaiian, or Pacific Islander identity.â€
â€œIt doesnâ€™t exist. The diversity of cultures, the breadth and achievement that has shaded and shaped so many, strengthened the fabric of this country in ways that you canâ€™t measure. I donâ€™t think â€” I donâ€™t know how you can measure it,â€ he said.
â€œThe fastest-growing demographic in the United States that has also gotten us through the pandemic as frontline and essential workers,â€ Biden noted.
â€œAnd you have powered our economic recovery: An unemployment rate in a community thatâ€™s fallen from 6.6 percent since we got in office to 3.1 percent â€” for Asian Americans,â€ he said amid applause. â€œEntrepreneurship in the community has risen â€” with you all, itâ€™s risen the fastest rate in over a decade.â€
â€œWhere members of the community were once tokenized as villains on the movie screens, you now light them up as superheroes,â€ Biden noted.
â€œLook, weâ€™re working to fix our immigration system to reflect our values and the truth that legal immigration defines who we are as a nation â€” who we are as a nation. Thatâ€™s why weâ€™re so darn strong,â€ he said.
â€œBottom line is weâ€™re doing the work to make real the promise of America for every American â€” a promise that holds that every person is created equal and deserves to be treated equally throughout their lives.â€
â€œThatâ€™s how weâ€™ve got to think about our fellow Americans. The reason we are strong, the reason weâ€™re who we are is because weâ€™re diverse with so many talents. So many,â€ Biden said.