The National Asian American Coalition (NAAC), on behalf of many Asian American subgroups, strongly commends the Pew Research Center for their continuing and outstanding research on problems afflicting underserved communities, the unbanked, underbanked and minorities.
Without taking away from the high quality and importance of the Pew Research Center, we commend the Japanese American Citizens League (JACL) for raising questions relating to how Asian Americans are portrayed. For example, the JACL is correct that there is not one “model” Asian American community. There are different levels of education and professional attainments between America’s freedom fighters in Vietnam (the Hmong) and recent immigrants from India or China. But, we all face a number of barriers that the Pew Research Center addresses.
With rare exceptions, Fortune 500 corporations fail to recognize the growing importance of the Asian American market with a gross domestic product that exceeds that of 90 percent of all U.N. members and easily exceeds by manifold that of Greece.
Faith Bautista, president and CEO of the NAAC, said, “I have asked our Washington DC office to arrange and early meeting with the JACL leadership to discuss how all Asian American groups can work together with the Pew Research Center to develop future studies that address the JACL’s concerns yet continue to clearly identify the problems of and the opportunities for our nation’s 18 million Asian Americans.”
The NAAC board of directors includes prominent leadership from the Chinese American, Korean American, Japanese American and Filipino American communities, as well as from the Black and Latino communities that we work with. The NAAC also works closely with the Vietnamese American community and other Southeast Asian communities, such as Cambodian Americans, Hmong Americans and Burmese Americans.
It recently met with Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and is discussing with the State Department issues affecting Burma, Malaysia, Vietnam, Taiwan and the Philippines relating to the South China Sea. And in April, it had urged President Barack Obama on behalf of more than 100,000 Burmese Americans, to support U.S. investments in Myanmar.
In accordance with the JACL’s position on disaggregation of data, the NAAC recently issued a press release that despite Asian American education and economic successes, only two percent of Fortune 500 board of directors are Asian American. And, only one Filipino American, two Korean Americans and two Vietnamese Americans are among the almost 6,000 board members at Fortune 500 corporations.
The National Asian American Coalition has also urged the federal government, the state of California and Fortune 500 corporations to disaggregate data by Asian American sub-ethnic groups for both employment and contracts awarded.
The JACL, as America’s leading Asian American civil rights organization, is once again in the forefront of protecting all Asian Americans.