Indian American Assemblywoman Jenifer Rajkumar has penned a letter to New York Governor Kathy Hochul signed by 48 Asian-American groups calling on her to sign a bill creating the first ever New York State Asian Commission.
A coalition of almost 50 organizations representing the AAPI community have backed Rajkumar’s bill A3301 co-sponsored by 40 of her colleagues in the legislature.
The first of its kind in New York State, the Asian American and Pacific Islander (AAPI) Commission will bridge the gap between state government and Asian-American New Yorkers, according to a press release from Rajkumar’s office.
The Commission will develop policies to address the Asian community’s safety, health, economic wellbeing, education, and civic participation, it stated.
With the signing of this bill, New York would join at least 12 other states with similar commissions, as well as the White House. It would come at a time when 72% of Americans say they want government to address racism against Asian Americans.
The first South Asian-American woman elected to New York State Office, Rajkumar introduced this legislation for state government to address the unique issues facing the AAPI community, the release stated.
This community is the fastest growing in the State, having increased 40% statewide, with triple digit percent increases in some regions. This unprecedented growth has come with unique challenges, including a 2900% increase in hate crimes statewide during the pandemic, the release noted.
The letter is signed among others by Asian American Legal Defense and Education Fund, New York Immigration Coalition, Sakhi for South Asian Women, Chhaya Community Development Corporation, India Center of Westchester, Adhikaar for Human Rights and Social Justice, South Asian Youth Action, A Place for Kids and Jahajee Sisters. Here is the text of Rajkumar’s letter: Re: Signing into law A3301/S1051 Creating the New York AAPI Commission
Dear Governor Hochul,
It has come to our attention that Bill A3301 (Rajkumar)/S1051 (Cooney) has been delivered to your desk. We write to urge you to continue your unprecedented support of our Asian-American community by signing into law bill A3301/S1051 (Establishes the New York Asian American and Pacific Islander Commission). The AAPI Commission will create a place in the executive infrastructure that will address the AAPI community’s safety, health, economic wellbeing, education, and civic participation.
This historic AAPI Commission will bridge the gap between our government and our emerging Asian-American community.
READ: Jenifer Rajkumar moves to address New Yorkâ€™s migrant influx (September 7, 2023)
New York’s AAPI community is the fastest growing in the State: from 2010-20, it has grown almost 40% statewide.
In your home of Buffalo, it increased over 140%. At the same time, our community has faced unique challenges, including a 2900% increase in hate crimes statewide. The time has come for our state government to take this step to be more responsive to our community.
By creating the AAPI Commission, New York would join at least 12 other states that already have similar commissions: California, Oregon, New Jersey, Washington, Maryland, Virginia, Pennsylvania, Massachusetts, Ohio, Michigan, South Carolina, and Iowa. This is in addition to the White House having its own AAPI task force.
Our bill enjoys overwhelming support. The bill holds the support of our legislature’s entire Asian Pacific American Task Force. It passed unanimously in the Assembly and 61-1 in the Senate.
The Assembly and Senate versions passed with a combined 46 co-sponsors from both parties. The general public also supports the mission of the AAPI Commission: a survey found that 72% of Americans want racism against Asian Americans to be addressed.
It would be our esteemed pleasure to speak with you further on the necessity of signing our bill A3301/S1051.