May 1, 2017
WASHINGTON – Today, the Asian & Pacific Islander American Health Forum, National Council of Asian Pacific Americans, Southeast Asia Resource Action Center and Asian Americans Advancing Justice | AAJC issued the following joint statement in support of detailed race and ethnic data standards in federal data collection. The organizations led a nationwide mobilization effort to submit more than 3,600 public comments from 47 states and U.S. territories to the White House Office of Management and Budget (OMB) in support of updated standards that include more details on Asian Americans, Native Hawaiians, and Pacific Islanders. The groups also led a joint community letter signed by 247 national, state and local organizations, representing a diverse spectrum of health, justice, civil rights and social services organizations.
Having greater access to meaningful data is essential to improving the health and wellbeing of Asian Americans, Native Hawaiians, and Pacific Islanders. OMB sets the standards for collecting racial and ethnic data for all federal agencies, covering topics on everything from healthcare, education, housing, transportation and civil rights, and will inform the 2020 Census. This was the first time in 20 years that OMB considered revisions to the data collection standards. It is anticipated that OMB will issue final recommendations in 2017.
Joint statement below:
“For the first time in 20 years, we have the opportunity to call for more inclusion of Asian Americans, Native Hawaiians, and Pacific Islanders in federal data collection. Data informs the allocation of major policy decisions, funding in federal programs and will determine our representation in Congress. While we have come a long way from simply checking the “Other” box, the current racial and ethnic categories in federal data are not representative of all our communities. By not being included, our communities are misrepresented in major policy and program decisions and often are left out or underfunded as a result.
Members of Asian American, Native Hawaiian, and Pacific Islander communities come from more than 100 countries and speak more than 56 languages – this diversity must be included. Federal data should be detailed enough to reflect our unique histories and cultures, as well as the different challenges that impact our health, housing, education, and economic experiences.
Joining together in collective advocacy, the Asian & Pacific Islander American Health Forum, National Council of Asian Pacific Americans, Southeast Asia Resource Action Center and Asians Americans Advancing Justice| AAJC coordinated thousands of comments from the communities and families across the country who will benefit from more detailed data collection.
Our request for input and comments resonated strongly with our communities for both personal and policy reasons, as many of our advocates know all too well the implications of being left out of the decision-making process. The more than 3,600 public comments submitted are varied in their breadth and depth, and demonstrate that Asian Americans, Native Hawaiians, and Pacific Islanders want to be represented at every level of their government.”