This past year has been tremendously painful for all of us, and particularly in the Asian American community. The pandemic has hurt so many of us and turned our lives upside down, but the new resurgence of racism has sadly infected our country as well. We’ve heard too many stories of Asian Americans targeted with violence simply because of their race. This is unacceptable.
As a member of the Asian Pacific Legislative Caucus, it is my duty to tackle this resurgence of hate and work towards undoing this harmful legacy. To that end I’m pleased to report we’ve secured a historic $156.6 Million to invest in uplifting Asian Americans and tackle some of the root causes of hatred.
API Equity Budget
As a member of the Budget Committee and the API Legislative Caucus, I’m happy to announce that the Asian and Pacific Islander (API) Equity Budget was approved and signed! This historic $156.5 million measure provides resources to address systemic discrimination and rising hate incidents against AAPI communities.
I represent one of the only AAPI plurality districts in the State, and this was a priority effort with the need especially apparent in our district.
Below is a summary of where the funds will go:
- $110 million – a majority of the funding – will go to community organizations who are providing vital victim services and prevention;
- $10 million will provide support to Stop AAPI Hate to track, respond, and prevent incidents of racial bias and harm;
- $10 million will go to the AAPI Data project to increase accurate data collection and data equity on AAPI needs, challenges, and barriers;
- $10 million will go to anti-bias block grant to provide funding to schools to create restorative justice programs to address hate and macroaggressions early;
- $5 million will support a peer social media network project addressing bullying and mental health for children and youth;
- $1.5 million will go towards a workgroup to address education attainment for low income first generation AAPI college students, and support the Commission on Asian Pacific Islander American Affairs as it coordinates these programs; and
- $10 million will go to ethnic media outlets to reach AAPI and other underserved communities in California.
Historic Investments for Education
In addition, historic investments were made and approved in education which will fund a new transitional kindergarten grade, more opportunities for summer and after-school teaching, and increased funding for K-12 education and for California residents at universities:
- $123.9 billion - Highest level of school and per-pupil funding in California’s history
- Universal Pre-K by 2025
- $3 billion to convert thousands of school sites into full-service community schools, with wraparound mental health, social and family services
- $1 billion for summer and after-school programs at all schools
- Restored funding for UCs, CSUs, and the Community College system and financial aid expansion
- Eliminates age and time out of high school requirements for Cal Grants for community college students, expanding aid to an estimated 133,000 students in 2021-22
We had a historically large surplus for the budget this year, but I don’t believe it will last. I’m proud to make smart, timely investments now as a member of the Assembly Budget committee to make sure we see pay offs in society soon.