After a two-year spike in crimes in the United States against Asian victims, President Joe Biden is welcoming some “dynamite” visitors to the White House to discuss ways to stop that targeted violence.
On Tuesday, Biden is hosting K-pop superstars BTS — Bangtan Sonyeondan or “Beyond the Scene.” The meeting with the music group that popularized the K-pop genre in the United State will be part of an effort to discuss “Asian inclusion and representation, and addressing anti-Asian hate crimes and discrimination,” the White House said in a statement.
“We thank president Biden and the White House for giving us this important opportunity to speak about these important causes and remind ourselves what we can do as artists,” one of the band members said while speaking at Tuesday’s press briefing with new White House press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre. BTS attended the briefing and then met with Biden on Tuesday afternoon.
In 2021, a gunman shot and killed eight people at several Atlanta-area massage businesses, six of whom were women of Asian heritage. After that crime, BTS tweeted “StopAsianHate #StopAAPIHate.” That tweet was the most retweeted tweet of 2021, according to Twitter
Anti-Asian crimes and other incidents of bias have jumped in the U.S. during the pandemic. The Center for the Study of Hate and Extremism at California State University, San Bernardino, cited a 339% increase in such targeted harassment between 2020 and 2021, according to a report from NBC.
The BTS meeting with Biden comes a week after the president returned to the U.S. from his trip to Asia.