Our policy and legislative achievements from the last year made tremendous progress toward improving the lives of so many underserved California communities. Working closely with community partners and state lawmakers, our teams helped shape new policy and secured much needed funding to create a more equitable public school system and for the first time ever prioritize AANHPI safety to address anti-Asian hate at the community level. However, our work is far from over. As we look ahead, term limits, redistricting and several anticipated appointments and resignations of current elected officials will almost certainly result in fewer API representatives in the elected positions.
In response, the Advancing Justice-California Policy Team is taking steps to strengthen existing relationships, form new allies and increase our influence among key legislators and policymakers throughout the state. As we head into the 2022 legislative session, we will continue to fight for our AANHPI communities ensuring we have the protections and equal access to public services that we are entitled to. Our 2022 Policy Platform is summarized below.
VISION Act (AB 937) – passed by the CA Assembly and now in the CA Senate, the VISION ACT will prohibit state and local prisons from coordinating with ICE to transfer immigrant and refugee community members for indefinite detention and deportation after they have completed their sentences. There are countless stories of AANHPI immigrants who have turned their lives around and earned release from jail/prison only to be arrested by ICE upon release. Many of these immigrants are domestic/sexual abuse survivors and refugees fleeing genocide and war.
CA ID for All (AB 1766) – More than one million people in CA have benefited from AB 60, which allows undocument people to obtain a driver’s license. However, there are millions more who for various reasons don’t drive and could benefit tremendously from having a CA-issued identification. AB 1766 will enable non-drivers to obtain a government-issued identification card enabling them to participate in and access a wide range of services such as opening a bank account, obtaining benefits, securing housing, accessing health care and much more. API women, elders and people with disabilities are disproportionately affected by the inability to obtain a government-issued identification.
Voter Education & Outreach – Asian American voters are one the fastest growing voting blocks making up nearly 15 percent of California’s eligible voter populations. However, Asian Americans vote at significantly lower rates compared to other populations. As California transitions to automatically mailing all voters a ballot, we must ensure API voters who need language or other types of assistance are not left behind. Advancing Justice – California will continue to work with elected officials and community partners to secure the funds necessary to educate underrepresented AANHPI voters ensuring they have the full range of voting options available to them. Dual Immersion Accreditation – There is a dramatic shortage of accredited bilingual Asian-language teachers – a shortage that significantly impacts AAPI students. During the 2019-2021 school year, Vietnamese and Mandarin were the second and third most spoken languages in CA K-12 schools. Yet only a handful of authorized bilingual accreditations in Asian languages were issued by the CA Dept of Education. We will work with advocates and policymakers to provide much needed financial assistance to aspiring teachers for bilingual Asian Languages accreditation, support the CSU Asian Bilingual Teacher Education Program and fund a pilot program across the CSU network of schools. We have a lot of important work ahead. We will keep fighting for AANHPI and other marginalized communities across California.
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Asian Americans Advancing Justice - California is a partnership of two non-profit organizations:
Advancing Justice - Asian Law Caucus
Asian Americans Advancing Justice – Asian Law Caucus (Advancing Justice – ALC) was founded in 1972 as the nation’s first legal and civil rights Asian American organization. Recognizing that social, economic, political and racial inequalities continue to exist in the United States, Advancing Justice – ALC is committed to the pursuit of equality and justice for all sectors of our society, with a specific focus directed toward addressing the needs of low-income, immigrant and underserved Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders.
Asian Americans Advancing Justice Southern California (AJSOCAL) 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, AJSOCAL focuses on the most vulnerable members of Asian American and NHPI communities while also building a strong voice for civil rights and social justice.