State lawmakers want to establish a commission charged with improving the quality of life for Asian American and Pacific Islander communities in New York. The issue was highlighted Wednesday by Chinese President Xi Jinping’s visit to the U.S.
Should the commission form, its members would look at community, economic and social well-being, health and education. Advocates welcomed the news.
“The need of the hour is Asian American communities are very much diverse, and we’re talking about 40-plus countries,” said Ashok Adikoppula of the Asian Pacific Islander American Public Affairs Albany Chapter.
As diverse as the need may be, there is an alarming trend most of these communities are experiencing together.
“These hate crimes have been raising rapidly, so I think irrespective of their social, economic status, the hate has been one common factor that’s been going around the past few years,” Adikoppula said.
It's among the issues the New York Asian American and Pacific Islander Commission would review.
“Talking about issues that is related to a population that is rapidly growing," Adikoppula said. "By 2060, you’re looking at a population that will be at least 10% of the U.S. population.”
State Sen. Jeremy Cooney sponsored the legislation.
“I strongly urge Gov. Hochul to sign our legislation that would establish the first ever Asian American and Pacific Islander Commission in New York State,” Cooney said. “Asian Americans are the fastest growing minority group in the state, and a task force of this kind seeks to address AAPI voices that for too long have been overlooked. I am proud to have helped secure new funding in this year’s state budget for this commission and I look forward to making New York more inclusive for Asian American families.”
State Assemblyman Ron Kim, a member of the state’s Asian Pacific American Task Force, co-sponsored the legislation to establish the commission. He said now is the time to build institutional support.
“New York state has normalized outsourcing and contracting out anything that involves public solutions,” Kim said.
On a national and global level, advocates say President Joe Biden's meeting with Jinping in California is meaningful, and its impact will trickle down to the local level.
“Talking about the top two economies across the globe," Adikoppula said. "When these two big economies, presidents, don’t see face to face for a year, that’s not good for anybody.”
While the summit may receive some criticism here at home, they believe there is more good than bad to be taken away from it.
“The biggest player out of all of this is Russia. Because Russia and China have been buddying each other for awhile now so with this initiation, I’m sure they’re keeping an eye on this meeting,” Adikoppula said.
The state Assembly and Senate have passed legislation forming the commission to the governor. Spectrum News 1 reached out to Gov. Kathy Hochul’s office to see if the governor intends on green-lighting the commission, but has yet to hear back.