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The White House's equity strategy addresses anti-Asian hate, expands language access

People demonstrate against anti-Asian violence and racism on March 27, 2021 in Los Angeles. A week earlier eight people were killed at three Atlanta-area spas, six of whom were Asian women, in an attack that sent fear through the Asian community amid a rise in anti-Asian hate crimes.
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People demonstrate against anti-Asian violence and racism on March 27, 2021 in Los Angeles. A week earlier eight people were killed at three Atlanta-area spas, six of whom were Asian women, in an attack that sent fear through the Asian community amid a rise in anti-Asian hate crimes.

The White House has released their national strategy to increase opportunities for Asian American, Native Hawaiian and Pacific Islander (AANHPI) communities.

It's part of Executive Order 14031, signed by President Biden on his first day of office. The executive order promised to close the gaps AANHPI communities face with health, funding, education and data.

Their goal is to advance racial equity through the federal government. The plan includes strategies from 32 federal agencies — such as the Department of Homeland Security, Social Security Administration, Small Business Administration and more.

Most agency plans involve addressing anti-Asian hate and lack of racial break-up in data collection.

The U.S. Department of Justice and Department of Education released a fact sheet addressing the increased COVID-19 harassment and violence directed at Asian American and Pacific Islander students.

"During the pandemic, false information and harmful statements about Asian American and Pacific Islander communities have led to increasing acts of intolerance across the nation—from verbal harassment to violence," said the DOJ and DOE's statement.

"Public elementary and secondary schools, as well as colleges and universities, have a responsibility to investigate and address discrimination, including harassment, targeting students because of their race on national origin," according to the statement.

Federal agencies relating to data collection have committed to disaggregating racial data. They say that grouping a large population of people with different ethnicities under the acronym 'AANHPI' erases their distinct cultural backgrounds and experiences.

The Census Bureau plans to release their 2020 report on demographics and housing this summer. It will include critical statistics on detailed disaggregated Asian and Pacific Islander groups.

Deputy secretary of labor Julie Su explained the importance of expanding language access in the national strategy.

"Within the area of worker's rights, language access is worker equity," said Su. "There are over 14 million workers who identify as limited English proficient throughout the country."

"Data and experience and common sense suggest that they’re more vulnerable in their workplace — higher rates of wage theft, they are less likely to know about their rights in the workplace, they’re less likely to work in workplaces that have a health and safety program," she said.

Zoe Dym is a news producer at Hawaiʻi Public Radio.
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