We believe that all residents of Pennsylvania, regardless of where they were born or how they came here, deserve to live and raise their families free from fear of separation, detention, or deportation.
We are working towards a commonwealth where all our immigrant and refugee communities can access quality education, equal ability to work, move freely, and thrive, and a state government that welcomes us and provides all necessary services in whatever languages we need.
ACCESS TO HEALTHCARE
The COVID-19 pandemic clearly demonstrates the need for a healthcare system that puts people — and high-quality, judgement-free, easily accessible healthcare — over profit. Now more than ever, we need a significant expansion of healthcare access to ensure that our communities can properly recover from the impacts of the pandemic. More specifically, our communities deserve a culturally-competent, language-accessible healthcare system that emphasizes meeting the needs of our most historically underserved communities.
Access to a quality education can make or break a person’s future — and in Pennsylvania, school districts are inequitably funded by property taxes, meaning that a child’s chance at success can be directly determined by their zip code. We support a fair funding formula for PA’s education system to ensure equal opportunity for all, and call for:
- Expanding funding for public education, so that every student can attend a good school and every teacher can receive the pay they deserve
- Expanding funding for education training programs, so that our API young people can be taught by teachers who understand their experiences and speak their languages
- Expanding ethnic studies programs in public schools, so that Pennsylvania’s students can learn about Asian and Asian American history, culture, and traditions in their own classrooms, rather than feeling like they are being forced to choose between being Asian and being American.
- A COVID-19 relief and recovery policy that prioritizes safety for teachers and students over any other metric, and ensures that every student has all the technology and tools they need to learn and succeed in this moment.
At least 1 in 3 API workers in Pennsylvania make less than a living wage, with many working multiple jobs or from sun up to sundown to make ends meet. Our communities need and deserve family-sustaining jobs, fair wages, protections from discrimination and abuse at work, language access at the worksite, and strong unions that will fight for our collective rights.
Our API small businesses, which form the backbone of so many of our communities, are far too often cut out from programs and resources afforded to other communities due to a systemic lack of language access and outreach. This needs to change, and it starts with ensuring that a just COVID recovery includes intentional outreach to API small businesses damaged not just by the pandemic but by anti-Asian racism and violence stoked by elected officials for political gain.
Globally, Asian coastal nations and Pacific islands are being devastated by the impacts of climate change, while here in Pennsylvania our communities are directly suffering the effects of dirty air, lead in our water, and other forms of environmental racism. Pennsylvanians from South Philly to Pittsburgh and everywhere in between deserve a safe and clean environment that can sustain life for current and future generations and good, green jobs centered in a regenerative economy, rather than continuing to pad the profits of wealthy and powerful fossil fuel executives.
We know that the criminal justice system is fundamentally broken in a way that most directly impacts communities of color, immigrants, and working families. Our API communities have lived through internment and incarceration, whether in the U.S. or in our ancestral countries. We deserve a system that treats all of us fairly. We call on our state government to fully enact the pardons process to protect immigrants and refugees from deportations, and to lift the 1 year bar on post-conviction relief.
GENDER & QUEER JUSTICE
So many of our API communities receive little to no public health outreach and education, especially reproductive wellness information vital to ensuring our young people and families are safe and healthy. Our health institutions must provide our communities with culturally competent, accurate, language accessible sexual and reproductive health information and care. We oppose all bans on reproductive healthcare, and note that sex-selective abortion bans, like the one Pennsylvania has on the books, have a history of being pushed through racist and sexist fearmongering about Indian American and Chinese American birth rates that have no basis in fact. We also support the passage of PA’s Fairness Act, which would ensure that LGBTQ APIs join our broader API communities in having legal protections against discrimination in the workplace.
While we are hard at work bringing our API communities together as a single political force capable of enacting change in Pennsylvania, we also know that not all our communities deal with the same issues when it comes to public health, housing, fair pay, access to education, and more. However, because in so many cases we are aggregated into the categories of Asian and Pacific Islander — when given the option at all — data on these issues are so skewed that we are unable to accurately identify which ethnic communities in our API umbrella are most impacted. We support the disaggregation of API data in Pennsylvania to ensure that we are able to meet our communities exactly where they are and provide all necessary remedies for the diverse array of issues our people face.