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BTS joined White House Press Secretary Karine Jean-Pierre on Tuesday to share a heartfelt testimony against the devastating rise of Asian-targeted hate crimes in the United States, as AAPI Heritage Month comes to a close.
“Hi, we’re BTS. It is a great honor to be invited to the White House today to discuss the important issues of anti-Asian hate crimes, Asian inclusion and diversity,” RM began the group’s powerful message, with his six bandmates behind him, all dressed in sleek black suits.
“This AAPI Heritage Month, we join the White House to stand with the AAHPI community and to celebrate,” Jin continued, before Jimin added, “We were devastated by the recent surge of hate crimes including Asian-American hate crimes, but to put a stop to this and support the cause, we’d like to take this opportunity to voice ourselves once again.”
J-Hope took an opportunity to thank the superstar group’s devoted fan base, saying, “We are here today thanks to our ARMY, our fans worldwide who have different nationalities and cultures and use different languages. We are truly always grateful.”
Jungkook added, “We still feel surprised that music created by South Korean artists reaches so many people around the world, transcending languages and cultural barriers. We believe music is always an amazing and wonderful unifier of all things.”
To wrap up, Suga proclaimed, “It’s not wrong to be different, and equality begins when we open up and embrace all of our differences,” before V concluded, “Everyone has their own history. We hope today is one step forward to respecting and understanding each and every one as a valuable person.”
The compilation of hate crime data, published by the Center for the Study of Hate and Extremism earlier this year, revealed that anti-Asian hate crimes increased by 339 percent in 2021 compared to the year before, with New York, San Francisco, Los Angeles and other cities surpassing their record numbers in 2020.
Visit AACAP’s website here for more resources on how to uplift and support the AAPI community, and understand the weight of racism and xenophobia they face.
This story first appeared on Billboard.com.
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