NEWS

President Biden does what Trump failed to do

By Henry Okoduwa

Blacks, Asian-Americans and all other people of colour living in the United States are in for better times as President Joe Biden Thursday signed into law a legislation aimed at combating the growing wave of hate crimes in the country.

The past administration of Donald Trump saw a renewed upsurge in race-related crimes as previously cherished values of communality amongst Americans of different colours irrevocably sunk to dismal depths.

The obvious lack of political will to deal decisively with the issue by the Trump administration had heated the polity and created tensions among the people until the dastardly killing of George Floyd by the police in Minneapolis last year brought it to an anti-climax.

New president, Joe Biden has been seeking ways to combat crimes originating from the hatred of people of other colours in a bid to heal the wounds of the Trump years.

Thursday’s signing into law of the legislation which stipulates jail terms for offenders therefore represents one of the boldest statements any government will make on the issue for many years.

The speed with which both houses of the legislature in Capitol Hill had deliberated on, and passed the bill gave signs that there was mutual need to break from the ugly past of racism in America.

According to a report published in influential US paper, Washington Times, the law gained prompt passage in the Senate and House of Representatives as a new wave of bias incidents and attacks were targeted at Asian-Americans in the wake of the coronavirus crisis.

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The Asians had had to bear the burden of being labelled as the harbingers of the deadly disease which has claimed the lives over 500,000 Americans till date.

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The virus, first discovered in Wuhan, China late 2019, had later spread globally, leading to an unprecedented three months lockdown in 2020.
But in announcing the law, President Biden said there was need for Americans to close ranks and fight racism in all its form.

“I believe with every fiber in my being that there are simple core values and beliefs that should bring us together as Americans,” Mr. Biden said while signing the bill into law at the White House.
“One of them is standing together against hate, against racism — [the] ugly poison that has long haunted and plagued our nation.”
“Today, I can say that because of all of you … you’ve taken that first step,” Biden added.

Vice President Kamala Harris, whose mother was from India also spoke.

“Here is the truth: racism exists in America. Xenophobia exists in America. Antisemitism, Islamophobia, homophobia, transphobia — it all exists,” Ms. Harris said. “And so the work to address injustice, wherever it exists, remains the work ahead,” she said.

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