Biden, Harris visit spotlights Asian Americans’ influence Arizona Atlanta Democrats Korean Senate


For Asian Americans 2020 was a year of political success and newfound influence. But it was also a time of vulnerability to racist assaults.

That painful dichotomy will be on display Friday when President Joe Biden and Vice President Kamala Harris, the first person of South Asian descent to hold national office, visit Atlanta just days after a white gunman killed eight people, most of them Asian American women, in three metro-area massage parlors. The killings come after a spike of anti-Asian violence nationally.

The presidential trip was planned before the shooting, as part of a victory lap aimed at selling the benefits of pandemic-relief legislation. But Biden and Harris will instead spend their visit consoling a community whose growing voting power helped secure their victory in Georgia and beyond.

As the fast-growing racial demographic in the U.S. electorate, Asian Americans’ political influence was felt across the country. In California two Korean American Republican women made history with their congressional victories. The Congressional Asian Pacific American Caucus, typically dominated by Democrats has its largest roster ever, including Asian American and Pacific Islander members and others who represent significant numbers of Asian Americans.

“We’re becoming increasingly more visible and active in the political ecosystem,” said Georgia state Sen. Michelle Au, a Democrat who represents part of the growing, diversifying suburbs north of the city. Yet, Au said, “What I’ve heard personally, and what I have felt, is that people sometimes don’t tend to listen to us.”



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