Chinese for Affirmative Action strongly supports Assembly Bill 1726 (Bonta), the Accounting for Health and Education in API Demographics Act (AHEAD Act). AB 1726 is a critically-needed effort to unmask Asian American and Pacific Islander (AAPI) subgroups, and to identify the unique health, educational, and economic disparities faced by certain ethnic communities. The bill calls for data to be collected for enrollment and graduation rates, disease rates, health insurance coverage, birth, and death rates.
AB 1726 will provide critical data to make sure public policy is responsive to the needs of all Asian American and Pacific Islander communities. Without disaggregated data, subgroup needs and challenges are hidden.
For example, certain AAPI subgroups are more susceptible to certain health risks and more accurate data is desperately needed. Vietnamese men and women experience the highest rates of lung cancer among all Asian American subgroups. The most dramatic increase in uterine cancer has been among Chinese women, while Korean men and women have some of the highest incidences of colorectal cancer rates. Additionally, Native Hawaiians and Pacific Islanders have an age-adjusted death rate higher than all other racial groups except for African Americans. Any and all of these health risks are worthy of investigation, and AB 1726 will help do that.
CAA supports AB 1726 and joins dozens of community-based organizations and national civil rights organizations who understand the need for disaggregated data to make informed policy decisions. CAA also cautions against any efforts that may confuse or misrepresent the intentions of AB 1726. It is legally and factually inaccurate to conflate AB 1726 with any issues related to college admissions criteria.
“In education, we make decisions every day to help students learn,” said Dr. Michael Chang, Vice President of the Santa Clara County Board of Education. “Having detailed, disaggregated information allows us to focus teaching and support services to meet the different needs of different populations.”
“Collecting data by Asian subgroups is essential for our effectiveness,” said Michele Lew, President and CEO of Asian Americans for Community Involvement (AACI), a Silicon Valley Asian health and wellness nonprofit. “With disaggregated health data, we gain a deeper understanding of the specific health needs of different Asian groups. We can then tailor our health treatment, increasing patient’s’ well-being.”
Vincent Pan, Executive Director of Chinese for Affirmative Action, adds, “Without accurate and disaggregated data, Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders are more likely to face the harms of systemic discrimination. Good data helps us understand where the problems are and what is needed to address those problems.”