Interim Superintendent-President Dr. Robert Miller and Board of Trustees Member Linda Wah, along with legislators and community members, congregated at the state capitol on Jan. 26 to support a bill that would stop lumping various Asian ethnicities into one big label.
Assembly Bill 176 calls for the disaggregation of API data to help identify underrepresented populations for health and educational services. It has been strongly supported by the API Legislative Caucus, the Black Legislative Caucus and the Latino Legislative Caucus.
“The disaggregation of the ethnicities within the Asian-American and Pacific Islander communities is essential in order to provide educational services required and to maintain an awareness of often significant cultural differences that exist among the ethnicities,” Miller said in a press release. “As a result, our college will be better prepared to serve the needs of these students.”
Wah is one of the founding members of the CCC Asian American Pacific Islander Trustees/Administrators (APITA) Caucus and has been supporting this bill since she found out about it last year.
“I was proud to be joined by PCC administration to show support for the issue…I think it’s the right thing when we support the success of all our students,” Wah said. “If aggregated data doesn’t show there is a problem, then there is little interest in pursuing a solution, hence the aggregated data conceals the problem.”
In 2009, President Barack Obama authorized the Executive Order reinstating the White House initiative on Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders.
According to the White House, “the Asian American and Pacific Islander (AAPI) community is the fastest growing racial group in the country, growing over four times as rapidly as the total U.S. population and expected to double to over 47 million by 2060.”
Nevertheless, AAPI’s are one of the most understudied racial groups in the country.
“It has taken time to educate and create awareness that the API population is a culturally and economically diverse population and that there are subgroups of the API population who are not thriving in education and health, and are not receiving the opportunities and support to succeed,” Wah said.
Currently at PCC, APIs are the second largest minority student population and many of the students confront the similar challenges as students from other underrepresented populations. AB 176 aims to help identify and better serve students who are facing these challenges in completing their education.