WASHINGTON, D.C. (Oct. 8, 2015) — OCA – Asian Pacific American Advocates is extremely disappointed by Calif. Gov. Jerry Brown’s decision to veto Assembly Bill 176 regarding Asian American and Pacific Islander data disaggregation.
On Thursday, Gov. Brown issued a brief letter vetoing California State Assembly Bill 176. This bill would have required the collection of data on Bangladeshi, Hmong, Indonesian Malaysian, Pakistani, Sri Lankan, Taiwanese, Thai, Fijian and Tongan people, in addition to the already required data for other major Asian groups like Chinese, Japanese, and Indian.
Both state legislative bodies supported this legislation almost unanimously, and the Governor’s veto comes as a surprise to many. Several of OCA’s California chapters played an active role in pushing for passage of the legislation at the state level, while OCA continues to advocate for federal data disaggregation in national education policies.
“We are extremely disappointed with Governor Brown’s decision to veto this legislation, which would have set a positive example for other states and for our federal policies regarding the importance of Asian American and Pacific Islander data disaggregation,” said Lawrence Joe, OCA – Greater Los Angeles President. “By going against the recommendations of many of the institutions impacted by this legislation and ignoring the near-unanimous support of California’s elected representatives, Governor Brown has singlehandedly chosen to maintain the status quo, rather than equipping our policymakers and service providers with tools to better serve the needs of our ethnic-specific Asian American and Pacific Islander communities. We encourage the California State Legislature to continue advocating for the Asian Pacific American community and to push for data disaggregation next year in order to improve the effectiveness of education, housing, and other state services for our communities.”
“The Asian American and Pacific Islander community includes over 48 distinct ethnic groups, 100 languages, and encompasses some of the highest and lowest socioeconomic statuses and rates of poverty in the United States. Data disaggregation is pivotal to ensuring that our entire community has full access to the services and programs designed to address these very issues,” said Michael W. Kwan, OCA National President. “While the current state of data collection shows that East Asian Americans achieve high socioeconomic status, disaggregated data reveals that Pacific Islanders and Southeast Asians have poverty and educational attainment rates comparable with African Americans and Latino Americans. The struggles and needs of our communities are rendered invisible by lumping them all together. These datasets are necessary to ensure that our government can provide equal access to the education, health, broadband and housing services that our communities require to have the opportunity to fully achieve the American Dream.”
OCA – Asian Pacific American Advocates is a national organization of community advocates dedicated to improving the social, political, and economic well-being of Asian Pacific Americans (APAs).