President Joe Biden signed the Coronavirus Hate Crimes Act at the White House on Thursday, criticizing Americans for being racist or complicit in racism.
During the ceremony, Biden celebrated the racial diversity of America, pointing out that the country was founded on the Declaration of Independence.
“We’re unique among all nations in that we are uniquely a product of a document — not an ethnicity, not a religion, not a geography, of a document,” Biden said. “Think about this, I’m being literal. Uniquely a product of a document.”
Biden signed the bill at a ceremony with several congressional Democrats who successfully pushed forward the bipartisan measure through Congress.
The president sternly condemned Americans for remaining silent in the face of rising hatred in their country.
“Every time we’re silent. Every time we let hate flourish, you make a lie of who we are as a nation,” he said. “I mean it literally.”
Biden urged Americans to realize the depth of hatred that still exists in the country and asked everyone to speak out.
“I mean this from the bottom of my heart, hate can be given no safe harbor in America, I mean it. No safe harbor. Can’t be dismissed,” he said.
Vice President Kamala Harris also spoke at the signing event.
“This violence, it did not come from nowhere and none of this is new,” she said.
Harris recalled how she experienced hate throughout her career in the legislative branch, the Congressional branch, and even the executive branch.
“Here is the truth. Racism exists in America. Xenophobia exists in America. Anti-semitism, Islamaphobia, homophobia, transphobia, it all exists,” she said. “And so the work to address injustice wherever it exists remains the work ahead.”