Asian American and Pacific Islander Leaders Unite In Support of Affirmative Action

CA Assemblymember Ash Kalra, LA Councilmember David Ryu join local 
AAPI leaders to encourage community to vote yes on Proposition 16
LOS ANGELES, CA — (August 18, 2020) — Asian American and Pacific Islanders (AAPI) community leaders from Los Angeles were joined by CA Assemblymember Ash Kalra and LA Councilmember David Ryu in a virtual gathering to encourage the AAPI community to vote “YES” on Proposition 16 in the upcoming November election. The leaders from over ten organizations shared how AAPI’s have historically benefited from affirmative action and, if reinstated, how race-conscious policy would benefit Californians.  
Councilmember David Ryu opened the press conference and stated, “We are standing together today in firm support of Proposition 16 and against California’s “‘race-neutral policies.’” Councilmember Ryu continued, “They have failed Black, Latino, and Indigenous Californians...and they have failed Asian Americans, Pacific Islanders, and Native Hawaiians.” 
The model minority myth is a stereotype that has followed the Asian American community especially in the conversation of affirmative action. “The model minority myth has continuously harmed our (AAPI) community by creating a false narrative that our children are natural high achievers, are not in need of resource, support, or face inequities. This myth has also been used to then shame and discredit the struggles Black and, Latinx communities face,” said Asian Americans Advancing Justice-LA’s CEO, Connie Chung Joe. 
“Now, during this critical time when our country is having important conversations around systemic racism, we need to show strong allyship by working in coalition with other communities of color. Affirmative action lifts everyone up together and gives all people of color better access to education and opportunities,”  said Chung Joe.
Affirmative action goes beyond college admissions and into employment and can hinder professional development. Pilipino Workers’ Center’s Executive Director, Aquilina Soriana Versoza said, “These inequalities show themselves as lower wages and a bamboo ceiling that Asian Americans hit when being considered for leadership positions.” 
Assemblymember Ash Kalra closed the press conference with a powerful message, “We know that national opinion surveys show a solid majority of AAPI’s support affirmative action. We know that countless Californians do, too. And for those who remain on the fence, we hope today has helped clarify why we believe it’s important. Vote YES on Prop 16 in November.” 
Since 1996, California's race-neutral policies have failed to create equitable opportunities for AAPI's and other communities of color. The AAPI community has an opportunity to collectively support a more equitable society in California by voting “YES” on Proposition 16 in November. 
Other organizations included on the press conference included Asian Pacific Policy and Planning Council (A3PCON), Asian Pacific Islander Public Affairs Association (APAPA), Chinese American Citizens Alliance - Los Angeles (CACA-LA), Empowering Pacific Islander Communities (EPIC), OCA-Greater Los Angeles, Pilipino Workers Center (PWC), South Asian Americans Leading Together (SAALT), and University of California Student Association.
Statements offered by the leaders of these organizations can be found here
Jeff DeGuia, (847) 668-4396,
About Advancing Justice - LA: 
Asian Americans Advancing Justice - Los Angeles (Advancing Justice-LA) is the nation's largest legal and civil rights organization for Asian Americans, Native Hawaiians, and Pacific Islanders (NHPI). Through direct services, impact litigation, policy advocacy, leadership development, and capacity building, Advancing Justice-LA focuses on the most vulnerable members of Asian American and NHPI communities while also building a strong voice for civil rights and social justice.
Tuesday, August 18, 2020


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