ASIA Organizes Advocacy Day in Columbus, OH

ASIA organizes Advocacy Day in Columbus, OH to support an Office of AAPI Affairs and Inclusion of AAPI History in K-12 Education

Asian Services in Action (ASIA), a community based non-profit organization serving Asian, new immigrant, and refugee communities in Ohio, hosted an advocacy event at the Ohio Statehouse on April 5, 2022, to show support for a state Office of Asian American and Pacific Islander (AAPI) Affairs.

State Rep, Mary Lightbody and Elaine Tso

ASIA staff members, clients, community members, non-profit partners, and constituents traveled to Columbus to speak with elected officials about the importance of Ohio Senate Bill 87 and House Bill 224, which call for an AAPI Commission, and Senate Bill 214 which calls for AAPI history in K-12 education. The existence of such an office would advise Ohio’s state government on the affairs, concerns, and perspectives of its steadily increasing AAPI population. It would also provide equitable access to resources for AAPI communication, such as language translation for all state materials.

Asian American and Pacific Islander communities are often overlooked by local and state governments even though the number of voter-eligible AAPI individuals in Ohio has increased by over 39% since 2012 according to APIA Vote. Ohio currently has commissions for Hispanic affairs and African Immigrant affairs which have benefited their communities and guaranteed Spanish language translation of materials for the Hispanic population. Currently, the AAPI population of Ohio is larger than the new African immigrant population, which emphasizes the necessity and benefit of a commission on their behalf.

The rise of Anti-Asian hate crimes across the United States, including in Cleveland, OH, has also highlighted the urgent need for an Office of AAPI Affairs that would prioritize AAPI protection and equity. Within the first year of the pandemic alone, Cleveland’s Asian community experienced 41 anti-Asian hate crimes as reported by “Stop AAPI Hate.”

The AAPI constituents had the opportunity to meet with State Sen. Tina Maharath (D-Columbus), State Rep. Tavia Galonski (D-35th), and State Rep.Mary Lightbody who answered questions from the community and spoke about their sponsored bills of OH SB 87 and OH HB 224. A special thanks to these elected officials for their time. The AAPI community is encouraged by their passion and enthusiasm for #AAPI affairs and representation.

Rep Galonski Speaking in Atrium about HB 224

Speaking in support of an Office of AAPI Affairs, ASIA’s CEO, Elaine Tso, shared: “The Asian American Pacific Islander community in Ohio is more diverse than most people know. Our communities speak dozens of different languages and dialects. Language access is essential for the newly arrived Limited English Proficient (LEP) immigrant and refugee population. Ohio is also home to thousands of Marshallese community members with significant chronic health issues as a direct result of nuclear testing conducted by the U.S. on the Marshall Islands. An Office of AAPI Affairs would aim to provide equitable access to resources based on these varying needs.”

To support an Office for Asian American & Pacific Islander Affairs, contact Sen. Kristine Roegner (Chair of the Committee for Government Oversight and Reform) at roegner@ohiosenate.gov, Sen. Andrew Brenner (Chair of the Committee for Primary and Secondary Education) at brenner@ohiosenate.gov, and Senate President Matt Huffman at huffman@ohiosenate.gov.

 

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