HOUSTON - President Joe Biden signed several executive orders Tuesday to promote racial equity. One of those directives aims to stop racism against the Asian American and Pacific Islander community.
Biden’s directive issues guidance on how the Justice Department should tackle the heightened number of anti-Asian attacks.
Advocates say anti-Asian bias has risen during the pandemic.
Back in April, an unidentified woman targeted a racist and unprovoked rant at Sammi Tran and her husband.
The couple says they were simply loading up a moving truck outside their Upper Kirby restaurant Vietopia when the woman rolls by with a shopping cart and yells at them to get out of the country.
The incident was captured on video. The woman can be heard saying "I mean it! Get out of our country. Get out! You! Get out of the United States, ugly whore. Get out!"
"At that time, that had happened, I’m not even going to lie, I noticed it even more of people being mean to us just because we’re Asian," Tran said.
Tran said she noticed an uptick in racist attitudes towards her and her business, particularly during the beginning of the pandemic. She reports a loss of nearly 80% of sales at one point and adds that the xenophobic incidents happened even while she was doing mundane things like running errands.
"Even at the grocery store, my daughter was with me one day and she’s like mom that lady’s looking at us really ugly," Tran said.
"I think everybody was so frustrated and you know, mad at all of us because we’re Asian and it came from Asia, the virus," Tran continued.
However, Tran wasn’t the only victim.
In just the first three months of the pandemic from March to June, more than 2,100 anti-Asian American hate incidents related to coronavirus were reported across the U.S., by advocacy groups.
On Tuesday, President Joe Biden signed several executive orders hoping to put an end to that xenophobia.
Gordan Quan is a former Houston city council member and pioneer in Houston’s Asian American community. He was the first Asian American to serve as Houston City Council member at-large and mayor pro-tem.
Quan says the President sets the tone and Biden's recognition that there is a problem is a solid start.
"While there may not be a number of recorded episodes, I think there still was an aura or air of concern. As you know, the Chinese consulate in Houston was closed because of fear of spying," Quan said. "If the President says it’s important and he says we look at hate crimes, we look at xenophobia, we look at discrimination, I think that will be impacting people in a broad way. Even if you don’t have a lot of prosecutions. As long as they know that that’s a priority, that makes a difference."
Biden’s directive also offers more resources to track hate crimes against the Asian American and Pacific Islander community.