It was important to be “thoughtful and intentional” while putting together this funding package, said Karthick Ramakrishnan, a member of the Commission on Asian and Pacific Islander American Affairs.
“This was not about reaching for policing as the dominant solution, but how to build resilience in the face of hate as well as economic and health challenges,” he said. “It’s also important to collect better data and evidence so we understand the problems these communities are facing and find more effective solutions.”
The mechanism of how exactly the money will be distributed still needs to be worked out, Ramakrishnan said.
“It’s important to ensure accountability, performance and equity while getting the dollars out in a timely manner,” he said.
This is the first time California’s budget has comprehensively funded efforts to target outreach to Asian Americans and address anti-Asian hate, said state Sen. Dave Min, R-Costa Mesa.
“Budgets are a reflection of what we value, and in the past Asian and Pacific Islander communities were not valued,” he said, adding that Orange County has a diverse Asian American population whose needs are often not served.
Speaking of anti-Asian hate, Min, who is a member of the Asian Pacific Islander Legislative Caucus, said many of his Asian American constituents are scared and have been taken aback by how confrontational and violent their experiences have been in the past year.
“This is the first time we’re seeing people willing to invade our personal spaces, and a lot of it is not even reported,” he said. “Anecdotally, we’ve come to know that people are experiencing things that are very disturbing. While racist slurs may not be crimes, they are still deeply disturbing. We need to denounce such hate loudly and make such hateful behavior socially unacceptable.”