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VP Kamala Harris celebrates 1 year in office with Asian American and Native Hawaiian leaders

AP Photo/Matt Rourke

Jan. 20 marks the one-year anniversary of the swearing-in of the first black Asian female vice president, Kamala Harris.

The White House Initiative on Asian Americans, Native Hawaiians, and Pacific Islanders celebrated the historic first.

Native Hawaiian Krystal Kaʻai is the executive director of the initiative. Erika Moritsugu also from Hawaiʻi, and she serves as the senior liaison and Asian American outreach director for the White House.

At an AA and NHPI stakeholder event, Harris spoke on xenophobia, stating, "It’s been extraordinary, you know? Grandmothers, grandfathers being afraid to leave their home, or to walk to the market, or be with their friends — what it has meant in terms of actual acts of extreme violence. There’s still a lot of work to do in that regard."

"Our administration signed into law the COVID-19 Hate Crime Act which I actually sponsored as a senator, and that was of course to respond to the spike in anti-Asian violence and xenophobia, but there’s still a lot of work to do," Kamala said.

The Biden-Harris administration has shown support for Native Hawaiian initiatives. That includes backing the ‘Umeke ‘ai Waimea Nui program and establishing the Native Hawaiian Community Consultation Standards under the Department of Interior.

They also transferred the former NOAA Pacific Tsunami Warning Center on O‘ahu back to the Hawaiian Home Lands Trust.

Zoe Dym is a news producer at Hawaiʻi Public Radio.
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