Asian Americans have a complicated yet rich history in Los Angeles, and that story is taking on new and exciting twists. In a report released yesterday by Asian Americans Advancing Justice Los Angeles, the Asian American population of L.A. County grew nearly twice as fast as that of Latinos, and more than five times as fast as the general population between 2000 and 2010.
The organization, formerly known as the Asian Pacific American Legal Center, used census, academic and government data to compile what has been regarded by some as a surprising report, particularly regarding the growth trends of certain ethnic groups. While Chinese Americans are still the region’s largest Asian ethnic group, the fastest-growing group is from Bangladesh. In fact, of the five fastest growing Asian groups, four are South Asian.
Stewart Kwoh, the group’s director, told 89.3 KPCC that the fastest growing groups are coming from Bangladesh, Pakistan, Sri Lanka and India. Nationwide, he said, South Asians are also the fastest growing Asian ethnic group. Continue Reading »
Op-ed by EUGENE LEE & DEANNA KITAMURA of Asian Americans Adavancing Justice-Los Angeles for New America Media
As the fastest-growing ethnic group in the country, Asian Americans are an increasingly critical population of voters. Nearly four million Asian Americans voted in the 2012 election, representing a 16 percent increase from those who voted in 2008, and a 91 percent increase from those who voted in 2000.
And like other communities of color, Asian Americans have faced and continue to face barriers to voting. For example, until the mid-twentieth century, foreign-born Asian Americans were flat out denied the right to vote because of restrictions on their ability to naturalize as U.S. citizens.
Even now, Asian Americans encounter discriminatory behavior at the polls. During the 2012 presidential election, Hmong American voters in Minnesota were incorrectly asked to provide identification, even though a white voter standing in line behind them was not. For Asian Americans today, another particular brand of vote denial arises when they are unable to access the language assistance to which they are entitled under law.
Last month, Asian Americans Advancing Justice released a report detailing Asian American voters’ access to language assistance in 2012. Advancing Justice’s Voices of Democracy report highlights ways election administrators effectively, or ineffectively, provided voters with language assistance. Continue Reading »
Editor’s Note: The following article is part two of a three-part series on Asian American mental health.
By KATHERINE KAM of New American Media
On a cold, clear Sunday evening in March, Hung Wei sits in the living room of her home in Cupertino, a prosperous Silicon Valley suburb, surrounded by a dozen high school students. The teens, almost all Asian American, gather around a circular glass coffee table graced with brightly colored figurines.
Two girls of Indian descent are seated on the couch. An Indian-American boy and several girls and boys of East Asian heritage sprawl across the carpet. In their midst, Wei, 57, a mother and local school board member, wears a maroon shirt with the word Verdadera in flowing script across the front, Spanish for “truthfully.”
Eight years ago, at the teens’ campus, Monta Vista High School, Wei founded Verdadera, a school publication devoted to honest expression and mental health. Tonight, she has gathered her teen staff members to plan the next issue. Verdadera aims, as its tag line states, “to express what is often unsaid.”
Wei’s own three children graduated from Monta Vista, a highly competitive, nationally top-ranked public high school in which eight out of every ten students are Asian American. Continue Reading »
Editor’s Note: The following article is part one of a three-part series on Asian Americans and mental health.
by KATHERINE KAM of New America Media
It was late on a school night — 3 a.m. — and Tracy’s 17-year-old son, Jason, was still playing video games in their one-bedroom apartment in Flushing, New York. The noise infuriated her and kept Jason’s younger brother awake.
The family had uprooted from Hong Kong to move here a few years ago, and Jason had become angry and withdrawn. When he wasn’t arguing with his mother or brother, he would retreat into endless hours of video games.
That night, Jason blocked all of her attempts to shut down his game, Tracy says. “We were fighting over the TV. I’d turn it off and he’d turn it on again. I got so angry that I threw the TV antenna out of the window.”
Tracy had arrived with such big hopes for her boys—a shot at one of New York City’s top public high schools, a chance for college. But making a new life in Queens was tougher than she had imagined. “Life is very hard here; to get used to the new environment, the finances, the economic problems,” she says. While her husband remained in Hong Kong, she got up in the mornings to work at an office job and then came home to take care of her children like a single mom. Continue Reading »
by Asha DuMonthier of New America Media
The influx of highly skilled, highly educated workers on H1-B visas from Asian countries in the last decade has skewed poverty statistics, according to a new report by the National Coalition for Asian Pacific American Community Development (National CAPACD).
In 2011 alone, “there were over 90,000 H1-B visas issued to people coming from Asia.” These highly skilled, high-income immigrants have increased the pool of Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders (AAPIs) and caused the AAPI poverty rate to stay stable even though the actual number of AAPIs living in poverty has grown dramatically.
Between 2000 and 2011 the official AAPI poverty rate only increased by .3 percent. Yet during the same period, according to the report, the actual number of AAPIs living in poverty increased by 50 percent, which means there are roughly half a million more AAPIs living in poverty today than there were ten years ago.
“AAPI poor are one of the fastest growing poverty populations in the wake of the Recession,” states the report. Continue Reading »