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California’s Historic Investment: Asian Pacific Islander Equity Budget

The devastating rise in violence targeted towards Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders (AAPI) over the past two years has driven many activists and elected officials to speak up and call for reform. In June of 2021, California Governor Gavin Newsom signed the Asian and Pacific Islander (API)  Equity Budget to combat the injustices faced by California’s AAPI community. Spearheaded by the Asian Pacific Islander (API) Legislative Caucus and endorsed by more than 150 California AAPI advocacy groups, the API Equity Budget stands now as the nation’s largest funding plan to support the API community

A report from California State University, San Bernardino’s Center for the Study of Hate and Extremism found that anti-Asian violence and xenophobia cases particularly grew in California with Los Angeles [experencing] a 173% increase from 2020 to 2021, and San Francisco [experencing] a 567% increase during the same period. This historic investment acknowledges this injustice and ensures that the AAPI community has pathways to culturally competent and accessible services. 

Over a three-year period, the API Equity Budget allocates $156.5 million to support the wellbeing of the AAPI community and address systemic discrimination. Majority of this funding will go to organizations that directly provide resources to AAPI communities. Additional funding will go towards public safety campaigns and public education initiatives to address the root causes of racism and violence. Some of these educational initiatives will take place in schools, focusing on anti-bullying and children’s mental health. Funding will also go to Stop AAPI Hate, a national reporting center and research hub. Stop AAPI Hate will be instrumental in tracking, responding, and preventing bias and harm.  

The API Equity Budget positions the community’s specific needs at the center of all programming. Through collaborations with over 150 community-based organizations and a partnership with the University of California, Riverside, surveys will be conducted to gather feedback on the progress and outcomes of the programs funding through the API Equity Budget. This way, this budget can strategically amplify the voices of Asian Americans, which make up 16% of California’s total population, and foster diverse, welcoming communities.

This innovative investment demonstrates California’s commitment to build infrastructure that supports AAPI communities and builds equitable places for all California residents.