Democratic presidential candidate Elizabeth Warren has released “A Working Agenda for Asian Americans, Pacific Islanders and Native Hawaiians.”
Warren prefaces her remarks by saying, “We need to collect comprehensive disaggregated data if we are going to make big structural changes so that our democracy works for everyone. This document is a work in progress and will continue to be updated based on input and insight from Asian American, Native Hawaiian, and Pacific Islander (AAPI) activists, community leaders, organizers, policy experts, and stakeholders.”
The introduction reads as follows:
“More than 75 years after Fred Korematsu went to the Supreme Court to fight for the human rights of the 120,000 Japanese Americans who were unconstitutionally incarcerated, we are still failing to guarantee true equality for Asian Americans, Native Hawaiians, and Pacific Islanders.
“Throughout his campaign, Donald Trump demonized communities of color, immigrants and Muslims. Hate violence against Muslims, Sikhs, and other South Asians spiked after the 2016 election. The Trump Administration has funneled Asian American asylum-seekers into detention, deported Southeast Asian refugees who’ve lived here for decades, and imposed a racist Muslim travel ban.
“But, we didn’t get here overnight. From the Chinese Exclusion Act to the colonization of Hawaii and nuclear testing in the Pacific Islands, there’s a long history of discrimination against Asian Americans, Native Hawaiians, and Pacific Islanders.
“Discrimination has consequences — but the model minority myth and data erasure often serve to mask those consequences.
“The AAPI community includes nearly 50 diverse racial and ethnic groups, but the data we gather today doesn’t capture the richness of the communities — or significant differences on key economic and social outcomes. Everywhere you look, aggregated data hides Asian American families that are hanging on by their fingernails.
“Income inequality in Asian American communities nearly doubled from 1970 to 2016 — Burmese, Nepali, Hmong, and Bangladeshi Americans make, on average, less than half what people in some other AAPI groups make. Some Asian American groups have high rates of educational attainment — but because of high costs and systemic barriers, less than 15 percent of Fijian, Micronesian, and other Pacific Islanders graduate college.
“Data erasure limits our abilities to tackle the structural barriers faced by distinct AAPI communities and others, such as Middle Eastern and North African communities, whose experiences are also not captured or reflected by our existing data collection processes.
“Data equity is a civil rights issue. And from the wage gap to the 2020 Census, communities that have been perpetually erased are calling to be counted and have their experiences made visible. That’s why, as president, I will form a White House Task Force on data equity to implement best practices.
“This task force will work with AAPI communities to collect comprehensive, disaggregated data in key surveys and in all agencies and departments across the federal government by the end of my first term. And I will fight for a fully resourced and more inclusive Census to ensure a full and accurate count. I believe that you measure what you care about — and I care about building a government that works for everyone in the diverse AAPI community.
“I’ll listen to and learn from the AAPI leaders who have been at the forefront of the fight for data equity, language access, and racial and economic justice. From civil rights leader Fred Korematsu and labor leaders Larry Itliong and Phillip Vera Cruz to anti-racist organizers like Grace Lee Boggs, Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders have helped lead the fight for justice.
“And today, AAPI organizers are continuing that fight, as survivors of the Japanese internment camps oppose Donald Trump’s racist immigration policies, Native Hawaiians protect sacred land on Mauna Kea, and AAPI women like Saru Jayaraman and Ai-Jen Poo lead the fight for fair wages and safer working conditions.
“If we’re going to reshape our country and our economy, restore our government, and save our democracy, we need to be willing to fight for bold, structural solutions to the problems we face as a nation. That means tackling generations of racial injustice and systemic discrimination head on and building a government that works for everyone.
“In our country, you ought to be able to take care of yourself and the people you love and build a better future for your children. That should be the fundamental promise of America.
“This is my commitment to AAPI communities. When I’m president, I will continue to fight and work with the communities to put real economic and political power in the hands of working people.”
The detailed platform, which can be viewed at https://elizabethwarren.com/plans/aapi, is divided into the following chapters:
Criminal Justice Reform
Entrepreneurs of Color
Fighting Back Against White Nationalism
Free College and Student Debt
Improving Public Schools
Medicare for All
Prevent Gun Violence
Service Members and Veterans
Social Security and a Secure Retirement
Valuing Work of Women of Color