US releases strategy to uplift Asians, other communities

New York: The White House has released its first-ever national strategy to advance equity, justice, and opportunity for Asian-American, Native Hawaiian, and Pacific Islander (AA and NHPI) communities.

Senior Biden-Harris administration officials outlined the details of an action plan made by 32 federal agencies to promote safety and equity for Asian Americans, including Indians, and NHPIs at a virtual event on Tuesday, the White House said.

Community leaders also discussed additional steps the federal government can take to address critical priorities for AA and NHPI communities, including data disaggregation, language access, and combating anti-Asian hate.

One in five incidents involve language scapegoating of Asian-Americans, including Indians, by wrongfully blaming them for Covid, espionage or economic insecurity, an October 2022 report by Stop AAPI (Asian-American Pacific Islanders) hate said.

A national survey by AAPI last year estimated at least three million from the community experienced hate incidents between March 2021 and March 2022.

The 30-page report said that information will be accessible in different languages.

For example, the Internal Revenue Service developed landing pages in 20 different foreign languages, including Arabic, Gujarati, Bengali, Punjabi, Urdu, Vietnamese, Korean, Tagalog, Khmer, Japanese, etc.

“Language access can be the difference a between life and death. Being able to access public safety professionals if something is going wrong, being able to access any type of program for benefits,” Vanita Gupta, Associate Attorney General, US Department of Justice, said at the event.

Apart from Gupta, other prominent Indian-Americans who attended the event were, Chiraag Bains, Deputy Assistant to the President on Racial Justice and Equity; Sonal Shah, Chief Commissioner, President’s Advisory Commission on Asian Americans, Native Hawaiians, and Pacific Islanders, and Manjusha Kulkarni, Co-Founder, Stop AAPI Hate.

“With the release of today’s national strategy, the public can see the Biden-Harris administration’s whole-of-government approach to advancing equity and addressing the challenges that Asian American, Native Hawaiian, and Pacific Islander communities face,” Health and Human Services (HHS) Secretary, Xavier Becerra, said in a statement.

On May 28, 2021, President Joe Biden signed Executive Order 14031, establishing the White House Initiative on Asian-Americans, Native Hawaiians, and Pacific Islanders.

In its first year, the Initiative collected action plans from 32 federal agencies — including all 15 executive departments in the President’s Cabinet.

These plans are deeply aligned with the administration’s broader equity agenda and represent an historic first for the federal government.

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