Home Politics California AANHPI Advocacy Coalition holds first-ever Advocacy Day

California AANHPI Advocacy Coalition holds first-ever Advocacy Day

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Over 50 California-based Asian American, Native Hawaiian and Pacific Islander organizations gathered at the State Capitol in Sacramento on Wednesday for a day of advocacy.

AANHPI legislators and leaders shared their legislative priorities in a brief press conference at noon. Afterward, organizations split up into 10 groups to work with the 37 assembly members, state senators and legislators that attended the advocacy day.

Asian Pacific Islander American Public Affairs (APAPA), a non-partisan, non-profit group dedicated to cultivating the next generation of AANHPI leaders, hosted the advocacy day in partnership with the other 50+ organizations that comprise the California AANHPI Advocacy Coalition. Several organizations in the coalition were not AANHPI-focused groups but attended as allies to the community.

“Although AANHPIs make up approximately 17% of California’s population, when it comes to representation and resources, we are very behind. It’s important that we’re seen at the State Capitol, not just after a hate crime incident, but to ensure our priorities are not forgotten” APAPA CEO Mary Yin Liu said in a press release. “Collectively, we aim to make a bold statement during Asian Heritage Month this year by mobilizing our diverse communities, and reminding Sacramento we’re not invisible.” 

California Assemblymembers Evan Low and Stephanie Nguyen spoke at the conference as well as California State Senator Aisha Wahab. Low and Nguyen both encouraged Asian Americans attending the advocacy to not be “so Asian” and ensure their voices are heard.

“When you go into the offices, don’t be so Asian,” Nguyen said. “Ask them, ‘What are you doing for my community? What are you going to do for my community? How are you going to help my community?’”

Low, who is also the chair of the CA Asian American Pacific Islander Legislative Caucus (CA-AAPILC), also suggested attendees ask legislators how their organizations could help legislators in their “respective environments.”

In May, as a part of AANHPI Heritage Month, the CA-AAPILC highlighted 18 bills for the 2024 legislative session. During Wednesday’s press conference, the caucus discussed three of those bills:

  • SB 1078 “would establish the Office of Language Access, within the California Health and Human Services Agency.” The office would ensure that individuals with limited English proficiency could access government and state resources.
  • SB 782 would require the Governor’s office to maintain a list of its appointments and vacancies. It would also require the office to collect and report aggregate demographic information of the appointments the office makes. According to the caucus, one of the goals of the bill is to hold the Governor’s office accountable for its stated commitment to diversity.
  • AB 2979 would ensure that payments received from the California Victim Compensation Board are exempt from state taxes. Victims of hate crimes are eligible to receive compensation from the board to cover the costs of things like mental health support, funeral expenses, healthcare, crime scene clean-up and various other services. Compensation is currently not subjected to federal taxes but California state law is more difficult to decipher.

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