Oakland, CA – Yesterday, the Alameda County Board of Supervisors unanimously voted to support the Accounting for Health and Education in Asian Pacific Islander Demographics (AHEAD) Act, authored by Assemblymember Rob Bonta (D-Oakland). This act, Assembly Bill 1726, requires California’s public institutions of higher education and the state’s public health agencies to collect, analyze, and report data for more Asian American, Native Hawaiian, and Pacific Islander (AANHPI) subgroups.
Eddy Zheng, co-director of the Oakland-based Asian Prisoner Support Committee, stated, “The Alameda County Board of Supervisors recognizes that AB 1726 is important for our communities because it allows for equal access to culturally competent resources for the Southeast Asian, Native Hawaiian, and Pacific Islander subgroups that have been frequently marginalized due to the model minority myth.”
“The unique needs of our community are often overlooked in many health studies which can make addressing health disparities among subgroups very difficult,” said Chris Cara, Youth Services Director of Filipino Advocates for Justice based in Oakland. “AB 1726 would shine a light on those disparities.”
Alameda County-based organizations representing diverse Asian American and Pacific Islander communities pushed the Board of Supervisors to endorse the bill, including Asian Health Services, Asian Prisoner Support Committee, AYPAL, and Filipino Advocates for Justice.
The U.S. Census Bureau has identified 23 distinct communities within the Asian American population and 19 within the NHPI population. Between 2000 and 2010, the Asian American population grew by 34% and the Native Hawaiian and Pacific Islander (NHPI) population grew by 29%, making these among the fastest growing
ethnic groups in California. However, many of California’s state agencies place all of these groups into the same category of “Asian/Pacific Islander.”
Without the collection and reporting of state data on smaller Asian American and Pacific Islander subgroups, their needs are likely to be overlooked or underestimated. Among adults age 25 or older in Alameda County, 32.4% of Asian Americans hold a bachelor’s degree or higher. Among Cambodian Americans in Alameda County, the rate is just 9.9%. While only 14.8% of Alameda County’s Filipino population relies on public health care, over 30% of the Vietnamese population in Alameda County depend upon public health care.  Unless these trends are revealed through disaggregated data they remain invisible.
AB 1726 is sponsored by Asian & Pacific Islander American Health Forum, California Pan-Ethnic Health Network, Empowering Pacific Islander Communities, and Southeast Asia Resource Action Center. The bill is supported by a coalition of over 100 Asian American, Pacific Islander, and Native Hawaiian organizations in California and from civil rights, education, and health leaders, including the California Teachers Association, Campaign for College Opportunity, PolicyLink, American Cancer Society Action Network, Mexican American Legal Defense and Education Fund (MALDEF), and Western Center on Law and Poverty.
The bill is set to be heard by the full California State Senate later this month. Once it passes through the California Senate, it will head to Governor Brown’s desk for a signature.
 American Community Survey, 2010.
Contact: Christopher Cara, Youth Services Director, Filipino Advocates for Justice firstname.lastname@example.org, 510-487-8552.