Obama acknowledges rising hate crimes in America
Washington: US President Barack Obama has acknowledged that over the last decade, a number of people from the South Asian origin -- particularly those from Hindu, Muslim and Sikh communities -- have been subject to hate crimes in the country.
"In the last decade, South Asian Americans -- particularly those who are Muslim, Hindu, or Sikh -- have too often faced senseless violence and suspicion due only to the colour of their skin or the tenets of their faith," Obama said in a proclamation to declare May as the Asian American and Pacific Islander (AAPI) Heritage Month.
The President further noted that with irrepressible determination and optimism, Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders have prevailed over adversity and risen to the top of their fields -- from medicine to business to the bench.
The US is recognising this year as the 25th anniversary of the Civil Liberties Act of 1988 and the 70th anniversary of the Chinese Exclusion Act's repeal.
"But even now, too many hardworking AAPI families face disparities in health care, education, and employment that keep them from getting ahead," he said, adding his Administration remains committed to addressing those disparities.
"Through the White House Initiative on AAPIs, we are working to ensure equal access to Federal programs that meet the diverse needs of AAPI communities. We are standing up for civil rights, economic opportunity, and better outcomes in health and education," he said.
Acknowledging that meeting the challenge being faced by the AAPI community in the US will not be easy, Obama said the history of the AAPI community shows how with hope and resolve, it can overcome the problems being faced.
"We can reaffirm our legacy as a Nation where all things are possible for all people. So this month, as we recognise Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders who are fulfilling that promise in every corner of our country, let us recommit to giving our children and grandchildren the same opportunity in the years ahead," Obama said.
Every May is observed in the US as AAPI Heritage Month.
"We remember a time 170 years ago, when Japanese immigrants first set foot on American shores and opened a path for millions more," he said.
"We remember 1869, when Chinese workers laid the final ties of the transcontinental railroad after years of backbreaking labour."
"And we remember Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders who have made our country bigger and brighter again and again, from Native Hawaiians to the generations of striving immigrants who shaped our history -- reaching and sweating and scraping to give their children something more. Their story is the American story, and this month, we honour them all," he said.
Obama acknowledged that for many in the AAPI community, that story is one also marked by lasting inequality and bitter wrongs.
"Immigrants seeking a better life were often excluded, subject to quotas, or denied citizenship because of their race. Native Hawaiians and Pacific Islanders endured decades of persecution and broken promises."
"Japanese Americans suffered profoundly under internment during World War II, even as their loved ones fought bravely abroad," Obama said.