It is no secret that America is increasingly being populated by immigrants, especially from Asian nations. From first generation immigrants to established families, Asian Americans are increasingly choosing this wonderful nation as their home. It’s a beautiful thing to see Asian Americans overcome the odds and struggles, and establish domicile here.
However, the nation’s elected bodies are slow to adapt to this change. Although the number of Latino and Asian American elected officials increases each election cycle, elected bodies are still tragically under representative of the population at large. While Latinos and Asian Americans comprise over 22 percent of the general population in the United States (almost one in every four people) they hold fewer than 2 percent of the more than 500,000 elected positions nationwide, from county commissioners, to school boards, to mayors, to Congress. That means just one in 50 elected officials nationwide is Latino or Asian American. (http://represent2020.newamericanleaders.org/wp-content/uploads/2014/10/nalp-represent2020.pdf)
No individual state has Asian American legislators at parity with its Asian American population, although Hawaii comes close, with only a 3% representation gap. Asian Americans are particularly underrepresented in New York, where with only Assemblyman Ron Kim (D), the state legislature fails to reflect the seven percent of New York State residents who are Asian American. California, Maryland, Minnesota, New Jersey, Virginia and Washington have gaps of 4% or more between their state’s APA population and legislators.
ASIAN AMERICAN REPRESENTATION is specifically focused on promoting Asian Americans for civic leadership. Asian Americans are improving their numbers, wealth, and education, but we are the forgotten minority. We are underrepresented in media outlets, academia, and government. It is time to change that.
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