- A3PCONAbout A3PCON
- WorkWhat We Do
- MEMBERSHIPMembership Area
- RESOURCESCommunity Resources
- ContactStay In Touch
Dear Committee Members:
My name is Manjusha Kulkarni and I am Executive Director of the Asian Pacific Policy and Planning Council (A3PCON). Founded in 1976, A3PCON is a coalition of over forty Asian Pacific Islander (API) community-based organizations that advocates for the rights and needs of the API community in the greater Los Angeles area, with a particular focus on low- income, immigrant, refugee and other vulnerable populations. Our organizations serve and represent the 1.5 million APIs in Los Angeles County who make up 15% of the overall population.
APIs in California, Massachusetts and states across the country possess a social and economic diversity that is not always apparent to policymakers, members of mainstream news outlets, program officers of public and private foundations and even members of the API community. This diversity translates into significant differences in income, home ownership and health and well-being among API groups throughout our nation. Specifically, in Los Angeles County, the per capita income per year for the Asian American community as a whole, is $29,000, but for Bangladeshis, it is only $18,000 and for Cambodians, only $14,000. Similarly, the annual per capita income for all Pacific Islanders is $21,000, but for Tongans, it is a mere $8,000.
In the area of health and health care access, the differences are even starker. If one were to consider the overall rate of uninsurance in the Asian American community, one would see that it is only 18%. But, looking closely at disaggregated data, we see that 34% of Koreans lack health insurance while only 7% of Japanese do. Given the similar immigration patterns of various API groups across the country, these figures are likely to be the same in Massachusetts.
These numbers are important, not simply because they help us better understand our communities and their needs, but because they impact policy decisions and service delivery determinations.
Prior to my becoming A3PCON’s ED, I served as Executive Director of South Asian Network, a community-based organization serving the needs of Southern Californians of Indian, Pakistani, Bangladeshi, Nepalese and Sri Lankan descent in the areas of civil rights, violence prevention and health and health care access. Disaggregated data was critical to decisions my staff and I made on a daily basis about our outreach and intervention strategies. We chose to hold ESL classes in Little Bangladesh because we knew that 49% of Bangladeshis in LA are limited English proficient, as compared with only 25% of Pakistanis and 23% of Indians. Similarly, we held voter registration drives in the San Fernando Valley and Cerritos, areas with large numbers of Indians because we knew they were more likely to be U.S. citizens over Sri Lankans or Nepalis, who were more recent immigrants.
Without this data, we would be making poor decisions about where to target our work, which bilingual staff to send and what specific strategies to pursue. We might have sent Gujarati-speaking staff to temples in Little India instead of Bangla-speaking staff to mosques in Koreatown for ESL classes or Sri Lankan volunteers to a Buddhist temple in Lancaster instead of Hindi-speaking staff to the Indian Seniors Group in Irvine for voter registration drives. These would be significant errors with tremendous consequences. And, more importantly, these efforts would show little to no results because they would not be meeting the needs specific to each part of the South Asian community. For community-based organizations, not having disaggregated data is like shooting in the dark. It is trying to craft solutions to a whole host of problems without the most basic information. Fortunately, we did have the disaggregated data and fortunately, we were able to make the right decisions that enabled us to spend staff hours and agency dollars in the most effective ways.
API communities need disaggregated data. Organizations that serve our communities rely upon disaggregated data. We need more, not less. We need it to identify community challenges at the local, state and national levels. We need disaggregated data on unemployment rates, on disease rates, including for HIV/STIs, domestic violence and mental health conditions such as Alzheimer’s and dementia. And we need it now. So many of our community members continue to struggle because of the lack of affordable housing, the limited number of living wage jobs, especially for those with limited English proficiency, and the inability to access to health and mental health services.
Community-based organizations, research institutions and governmental agencies in Massachusetts must have disaggregated data in order to work to end health disparities or obtain equity in the provision of public benefits. Without more of it, hundreds will not be able to access affordable housing, thousands will go without much-needed health care, and millions across the country will lead less safe and healthy lives. With it, our organizations, educators, law enforcement, and health providers will be better equipped to address the many challenges of API communities to enable our members to live healthier and happier lives.
Thank you for the opportunity to weigh in on this important issue.
Manjusha P. Kulkarni, Esq.
Asian Pacific Policy and Planning Council ... See MoreSee Less
2 weeks ago ·