ST. PAUL, Minn. (Dec. 17, 2015) Over 150 community leaders, policymakers, and government officials gathered at Metropolitan State University’s Saint Paul Campus on Dec. 14 for the Coalition of Asian American Leaders’ event titled, “CAALIgnites.”
The event’s primary goal is to ignite partnerships between the community and systems leaders to ensure Asian Minnesotans are included and supported to achieve their full potential.
“Despite the size of the pan Asian community, the population remains invisible and nebulous because the story of each group is treated as a uniform narrative. The reality is that recognizing the differences help to shape conversations that seek to address issues unique to each immigrant community and American experience,” says Marcq Sung, CAAL executive team member.
Dr. Bruce Corrie, associate vice president for University Relations and International Programs at Concordia University—Saint Paul, and co-chair of CAAL, said that “Fundamental community recommendations have emerged from our deliberations over the past year; there is power in aggregation of voices in the pan Asian community, but our policies and programs can be more effective if we disaggregate data and gather more information. There are differences in historical and economic experiences of the various Asian ethnic groups, but politically we are all seen as Asian Americans.”
“We can no longer be invisible and silenced in equity agendas on education and economics,” shares Dr. Rose Chu, associate professor, School of Urban Education, Metropolitan State University and CAAL executive team member.
The event aimed to raise awareness about the unique needs of Minnesota’s diverse Asian American population. For the first time, the community collectively called on its leaders and systems to work on four key recommendations:
• increase resources to the community,
• collect better data that can be disaggregated and shared publicly,
• advocate for policies and programs designed by the community, and
• support the civic leadership of the community.
“This inaugural event represents the culmination of thoughtfully engaging Asian America leaders on issues of utmost importance to the vitality of region and the future,” says Dr. MayKao Hang, president and CEO of Wilder Foundation and co-chair of CAAL.
“All projections indicate that our state’s future will depend more and more on populations of color,” Hang added. That means we have to do more, and do better, to make sure our students are succeeding in education, and ensure families are economically secure,” said CAAL Director Bo Thao-Urabe. “We know that Minnesota does very well as a whole, but has alarming disparities between Whites and all populations of color. We want to work hard with our allies to dramatically move the dial for all communities, including Asian Americans.”
The Coalition of Asian American Leaders (CAAL) was created by community leaders to harness the collective power of Asian Minnesotan leaders to advance equity to improve the lives of the community. CAAL creates spaces for leaders to connect with each other, learn about issues and develop skills, and take action on common issues together. To learn more about CAAL, please visit www.caalmn.org or follow CAAL on twitter @CAALMN.