Sacramento, Calif. (Jan. 26, 2015) — On Monday, the Southeast Asia Resource Action Center (SEARAC) joined Assemblymember Rob Bonta and members of the Asian and Pacific Islander, Latino, and African American Legislative Caucuses to celebrate the introduction of Assembly Bill 176 (AB 176), a bill that would require the California Community Colleges system and the California Department of Public Health to collect and report on disaggregated data for at least 16 Asian and five Pacific Islander sub-groups.
This new legislation mirrors the national advocacy efforts of the All Students Count Campaignand builds upon California’s already trailblazing standards for data collection by including two key systems that touch the lives of Southeast Asian Americans (SEAAs) and other historically underserved populations on a regular basis.
SEARAC Executive Director Quyen Dinh noted, “If passed, AB 176 would help reveal the rich diversity of experiences within California’s community college and public health systems, allow policy makers to make targeted interventions where needed, and give communities better tools to advocate for their specific needs and strengths.”
Often masked by the “model minority myth,” a misconception that all Asian Americans excel and face no obstacles, SEAA community members have endured devastating education and health disparities in the absence of critical information about the challenges they face. U.S. Census data reveals that two in three Cambodian, Hmong, and Laotian adults over the age of 25 have never attended college, compared with only one in three Asian American adults overall. However, this Census data is collected too late for school systems, like community colleges, to intervene and prevent these disparities from growing.
AB 176 is an important step towards ensuring policy makers see and understand distinct patterns across California’s diverse Asian American and Pacific Islander (AAPI) communities. The bill would require the community college and public health systems to collect and report disaggregated data for all major AAPI groups including, but not limited to, Asian Indian, Bangladeshi, Cambodian, Chinese, Filipino, Hmong, Indonesian, Japanese, Korean, Laotian, Malaysian, Pakistani, Sri Lankan, Taiwanese, Thai, Vietnamese, Fijian, Hawaiian, Guamanian, Samoan, and Tongan.
For more information about nationwide efforts to advocate for disaggregated data, see the All Students Count Campaign Tumblr.
The Southeast Asia Resource Action Center (SEARAC) is a national organization that advances the interests of Cambodian, Laotian, and Vietnamese Americans by empowering communities through advocacy, leadership development, and capacity building to create a socially just and equitable society. Find out more at www.searac.org.