The Biden administration on Tuesday released its first national agenda aimed at addressing the range of disparities that Asian American, Native Hawaiian and Pacific Islander communities face.
More than two dozen officials and community leaders gathered to formally unveil a strategy that was spearheaded by the White House Initiative on Asian Americans, Native Hawaiians, and Pacific Islanders. It includes action plans from 32 different federal agencies. Among the administration’s priorities are combating anti-Asian hate and discrimination, the disaggregation of data across the communities and better language access, according to the report.
“For too long, systemic barriers have put the American Dream out of reach for many Asian Americans, Native Hawaiians and Pacific Islanders, and racism and xenophobia against AA and NHPI communities continued to threaten the safety and dignity of countless families,” said Xavier Becerra, secretary of Health and Human Services, under which the White House initiative is housed. “But now we have a choice. We can choose to stand for equity, justice and opportunity and not the status quo.”
Several high-profile people, including the actor Daniel Dae Kim, who sits on the Advisory Commission on Asian Americans, Native Hawaiians and Pacific Islanders, and Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg, gave remarks recognizing the strategy.
The plan is the result of President Joe Biden’s Executive Order 14031, signed in May 2021, which not only established the White House initiative, but also directed the development of a government-wide interagency plan to “advance equity, justice, and opportunity” for Asian Americans, Native Hawaiians, and Pacific Islanders communities.
In the strategy, the agencies laid out some of their previous work pertaining to the communities, in addition to new goals. The Justice Department, for example, had previously issued guidance in tandem with HHS, raising awareness around Covid-19-related hate crimes. The agency also helped develop in-language resources to address hate crimes and incidents, according to the strategy. The agency similarly committed to ensuring those with limited English proficiency could access its programs and communicate public safety concerns.
And when it comes to data collection, the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy committed to a revision of federal data standards around race and ethnicity, which could lead to the collection of “higher quality” disaggregated data and a better understanding of the communities.
“Our communities have experienced pain and trauma with lasting mental health impacts, including depression and anxiety. But history has also taught us how resilient and strong our communities are,” Kim said. “I’ve never seen our community come together the way it has over the past few years. And I’ve been so heartened by the support of this administration that has gone beyond the usual political rhetoric."