APCA Executive Director Opinion Editorial – link to article
Arizona Republic columnist Robert Robb wrote how he thought it was “sad” that Arizona’s fastest-growing community, Asian-Americans and Pacific Islanders (AAPI), had organized an advocacy day at the state Capitol to raise our voices and demonstrate our growing political power. Does it also sadden Robb to learn that from 2004 to 2012, the number of Asian-Americans who registered to vote in Arizona increased by 165 percent?
We are a community that has doubled in size over the past 10 years to comprise nearly 4 percent of the Arizona population, and continue to rise. We are making significant contributions to the economy through business ownership, job creation, and consumer spending. Our 16,000 mostly small businesses provide jobs for more than 31,000 Arizonans with an annual payroll in excess of $800 million. Buying power in the community is expected to grow to $13 billion by 2019. Despite the success stories, many in our community are facing desperate challenges such as increasing numbers of the unemployed and poor, high rates of the uninsured and language barriers. We are Arizona – but we are certainly not Mr. Robb’s model minority.
What saddens me is having to once again dispel these dangerous myths. Asian-Americans and Pacific Islanders are a very diverse community, and not everyone is healthy, wealthy and wise. At my agency, Asian Pacific Community in Action, we serve this diverse community that speaks over 30 different languages. Since 2007, the number of Asian-Americans living in poverty in Arizona has, in fact, grown by 75 percent, while support for multilingual, community-based services has not kept pace. Too often, our community is bypassed and our needs ignored. Mr. Robb’s careless repeating of the model-minority myth erases real suffering in the AAPI community and dismisses our efforts to help new Arizonans thrive.
Mr. Robb is correct that the community is not considered a voting bloc and, I would add, is regrettably ignored. The 2012 AAPI post-election survey of registered voters report that nearly half of Asian-Americans and more than a third of Pacific Islanders did not declare an identification with either political party, compared with 20 percent of African-Americans, 31 percent of Latinos and 36 percent of Whites. This is a community that is politically up for grabs, yet that same survey reports 74 percent of Pacific Islanders and 69 percent of Asian-Americans received no contact about the election.
Our advocacy day was not a plea to be pandered to as Robb suggests. That is simply insulting. Our advocacy day was to point out that in state legislative districts, such as District 17, Asian-Americans are 8 percent of the voting age population. In competitive districts, such as Arizona’s 9th Congressional District, the 6 percent Asian-American voting-age population could easily be the margin of victory. Our advocacy day was also a day to engage our community and remind them their voices and votes do indeed matter.
The Arizona AAPI community has real needs we expect to be addressed by policy makers. As our population grows, so will our diverse voices and our numbers at the polls. We will continue to hold advocacy days to both engage and educate our community, as well as hold our elected officials accountable. This makes me feel anything but sad.
Asians seek to raise their political profile in Arizona – link to article
Asian-Americans and Pacific Islanders are trying to find a bigger voice in Arizona politics.
Arizona and Nevada have the fastest-growing Asian populations in the nation, according to U.S. census reports. The immigrants haven’t historically identified with one political party over another; and in some tight races, their vote could make the difference…link to article
APCA Executive Director’s Comments to the White House Task Force on New Americans
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Asian Pacific Community in Action believes that healthy communities are the foundation of a safe and productive society. Healthy communities can only exist if we provide pathways for the meaningful involvement of its newest members. As such, we urge the Task Force to allow individuals granted relief under the President’s Immigration Accountability Executive Actions to participate in affordable health coverage options under the Affordable Care Act (ACA), and Medicaid and the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP) in states that have taken up expanded coverage options.
Lloyd Y. Asato, Executive Director Asian Pacific Community in Action
APCA Joins Amicus Brief To Protect Health Care Access In King V. Burwell
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Asian Pacific Community in Action, along with the Asian & Pacific Islander American Health Forum, filed an amicus brief (“friend of the court”) in King v. Burwell defending the availability of the Affordable Care Act’s tax credits nationwide. The King case is pending before the U.S. Supreme Court and scheduled for oral argument on March 4.
Asian Pacific Community in Action joined the brief as a member of Action for Health Justice, the only national coalition dedicated to ensuring Asian Americans, Native Hawaiians and Pacific Islanders (AA and NHPI) realize the benefits of the new health law. Since 2013, Action for Health Justice has worked to outreach, educate and enroll 600,000 AAs and NHPIs in their new health coverage options.
“This case has the potential to undermine all the work we have done to enroll thousands of AA and NHPIs in Arizona,” said Lloyd Y. Asato, Executive Director of APCA. “Tax credits for low-income and moderate income families is a critical part of lowering the cost of health care and ensuring families have continuous insurance coverage that meets their needs. If the lawsuit is successful, Arizona families will be back where they started – without the necessary means to live healthy prosperous lives.”
The brief details the lack of coverage options and lingering health disparities facing AA and NHPIs that supported the ACA’s passage. Prior to the law, nearly one in seven AA and NHPIs were uninsured and even more were underinsured. The ACA sought to remedy that by substantially expanding access to health insurance for middle- and low-income people by providing tax credits to make them affordable. This is the express purpose of the ACA and supported by the law’s text.
Limiting the ACA’s tax credits only to state-run Marketplaces, as the challengers argue, threatens to erode coverage expansions for the hundreds of thousands of AAs and NHPIs that have gained coverage. Currently, the 34 states that rely on the federal Marketplace would be directly affected by the King decision, including Arizona. Over 120,000 Arizonans could potentially lose coverage. The brief includes stories from people who would suffer life-threatening consequences without coverage, including Layal Rabat, a non-profit worker living in Arizona. Without the ACA’s tax credits that made her coverage affordable, Layal would have had to choose between putting food on the table or paying for preventive health care – a predicament that will become increasingly more difficult to manage.
Zeenat Hasan, Director of Empowerment and Advocacy at APCA, says, “In Arizona, a work force of community volunteers have worked tirelessly to enroll and counsel families to find and sign up for health insurance through the Federal Health Insurance Marketplace. APCA alone has assisted 2,500 people in AA and NHPI communities across Arizona who have stepped up to learn about and enroll in health insurance. If King is successful in taking away tax subsidies for people in states like AZ, all of these individuals and families risk losing coverage and the ability to cover the cost of care, face bankruptcy, delay seeing a doctor, or forego care all together even for the most basic preventive health needs.”
Sixty-three community and health organizations signed onto the brief.
Effort to End Hepatitis B Virus Launches
Statewide Campaign to #EndHepB Seeks to Test, Vaccinate, and Empower Community
Asian Pacific Community in Action, has launched the “Campaign to #EndHepB”, a campaign to raise public awareness about hepatitis B virus and to encourage action to combat its impact. Asian Pacific Community in Action (APCA) is a community health organization committed to ending hepatitis B virus (HepB). APCA’s mission is to provide services, advocacy and education for diverse communities resulting in a more empowered population seeking good health. All of its services are culturally competent and in the preferred language of our community. The campaign is encouraging Asian American, Pacific Islander, and emerging communities to take the test for HepB and seek treatment.
“Thanks to amazing HepB advocates, the hepatitis B virus is no longer a silent killer in our communities. Their efforts over the last twelve years in Arizona to educate, test, and vaccinate our communities are saving lives. We are finding community members with chronic hepatitis B and empowering them to get the health care they need before their infection progresses to liver cancer or worse,” says Lloyd Y. Asato Executive Director of Asian Pacific Community in Action.
What you can do:
- Talk to your doctor or healthcare provider about the HepB test.
- Seek treatment if needed.
- Get vaccinated for HepB.
“Ending HepB was one of our goals when APCA was founded twelve years ago, and we are now on the verge of accomplishing this. Together, we can #EndHepB. Talk to your healthcare provider about the HepB test and seek treatment if needed. Contact us if you need help finding a doctor or accessing care.”
Wall Street Journal
APCA Executive Director quoted in the Wall Street Journal – link to article
“Immigrant advocacy groups say that some people submitted documents such as copies of passports and birth certificates only to be told they must resubmit them. Many received letters in English or Spanish requesting documents but couldn’t read them because they speak a different language, the groups said.
At Asian Pacific Community in Action in Phoenix, staff and interpreters said they frequently deal with speakers of more than 40 different languages, many of whom have difficulty with English.
“We can alert them, but they may not recognize the notice when it arrives, and certainly not its importance,” said Lloyd Y. Asato, executive director of the community health organization.”