ASIAN Americans cheered the July 12 passage of California’s API Equity Budget, a three-year $156 million initiative which seeks to equip the AAPI community with resources to combat hate crimes.
“This is historic and unprecedented. It is the outcome of many community-based organizations who rallied to get this support to find the best ways we can respond to violence against our community, and to prevent these attacks from occurring in the first place,” said Cynthia Choi, co-executive director of Chinese for Affirmative Action.
“The AAPI community has historically been overlooked and underfunded. Imagine what we can do with resources,” she said, adding that the investment in the community must be ongoing, beyond the initial three-year commitment.
The API Equity Budget allocates $110 million to the California Department of Social Services, who will work with the Commission on Asian & Pacific Islander American Affairs to distribute funds directly to community-based organizations that provide services to help victims of hate crimes and help hate crime prevention services.
It allocates $10 million to the AAPI Data Project — housed at UC Riverside and helmed by Karthick Ramakrishnan — to improve data equity by conducting policy research and demographic data for the API community. The fund also allocates $10 million to an anti-bias block grant that provides funding to schools to create restorative justice programs, and safe spaces for students and staff to share their experiences with racialized hate and microaggressions. Another $5 million will fund a peer social network for APIs to connect with and support each other through the use of social media.