Biden brings K-pop group BTS to White House to raise awareness of anti-Asian hate crimes
Overall hate crimes increased 38.6%, from 2020-2021, while anti-Asian hate crimes rose 223.7% over the same period, California State University study shows
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President Biden has brought K-pop supergroup BTS to the White House to raise awareness about the rise in Asian hate crimes.
"A lot of our Asian-American friends have been subject to real discrimination," Biden told the group during the meeting Tuesday. "Hate only hides. When good people talk about it and say how bad it is, it goes down."
The leader of the group, RM, who is BTS' only fluent English speaker, while at the White House expressed his gratitude for the Biden White House last year signing into law the COVID-19 Hate Crimes Act, which allowed people to more easily report acts of hate through online resources and access to multiple language options.
"We just want to be a little help and we truly appreciate the White House and the government's trying to find solutions," RM said.
The law was passed during the surge of anti-Asian hate crimes amid the pandemic, which started in China.
Overall, hate crimes from 2020-2021 increased 38.6%, while anti-Asian hate crimes rose 223.7% over the same period, according to a California State University study.
Ahead of the meeting with Biden, the group made an appearance at the daily White House press briefing, which drew over 300,000 viewers on the White House's YouTube livestream.
Press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre said the group — beyond being "Grammy-nominated international icons" — also plays an important role as youth ambassadors, promoting a message of respect and positivity.
Before introducing the band — to a fan-like response from reporters — she touted the administration's whole-of-government approach to combating racism, xenophobia and intolerance toward Asian-American, Native Hawaiian, and Pacific Islander communities.
"It's a great honor to be invited to the White House today to discuss the important issues of anti-Asian hate crimes, Asian inclusion, and diversity," RM said.