WASHINGTON ASIAN AMERICANS AND PACIFIC ISLANDERS CALL ON OUR STATE LEGISLATURE TO LEGALIZE AFFIRMATIVE ACTION

To the Members of the Washington State Legislature:

APACE, in solidarity with a broad contingent of Asian American and Pacific Islander (AAPI) organizations in Washington state, unequivocally supports legalizing affirmative action.

Washington AAPIs continue to face disadvantages from centuries of institutional racism. Strong political efforts must be made to bring justice for our communities. Affirmative Action is one way to do that, with programs including protections in higher education, public employment, and public contracting.

Since the repeal of Affirmative Action 20 years ago, we have witnessed disturbing trends:

  • Minority and women-owned businesses have lost over $3.5 billion in state contracts (1)
  • State agencies and higher education contracting and procurement dollars declined from 10% to 3% with certified minority and women-owned businesses (2)

We refuse to be used as a wedge to split Asian and Pacific Islander Americans from other communities of color. Affirmative Action benefits ALL communities of color.

A group called Washington Asians for Equality has stated in a press release that affirmative action is a “serious threat to the Asian American everywhere and the principle of equality under the law.” This group does not represent the views of most Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders (3). APACE and signatories of this letter firmly stand behind Affirmative Action.

We support legalizing of Affirmative Action on the shoulders of strong leaders who have advocated for us year after year. Rep. Sharon Tomiko Santos has pursued legislation to repeal I-200 for years, and Rep. Mia Gregerson has pursued legislation establishing a state office on equity.

Affirmative action benefits communities of color, including AAPIs. Throughout Washington state, we stand in unequivocal support of Affirmative Action. We recommend the passage of I-1000 through the state legislature in 2019, with further improvement in 2020.

Signed,

Asian Pacific Islander Americans for Civic Empowerment (APACE)

Asian Pacific Islander Americans for Civic Empowerment Votes (APACEvotes)

Asian Pacific American Labor Alliance (APALA) Seattle

Asian Pacific Islander American Public Affairs (APAPA) Seattle

Chinatown-International District (CID) Coalition

Filipino Community Center of Seattle

Friends of Little Saigon

Interim Community Development Association

Korean American Coalition (KAC) Washington

National Asian Pacific American Women’s Forum (NAPAWF) Seattle

Southeast Asian American Education Coalition (SEAeD)

United Territories of Pacific Islanders Alliance (UTOPIA)


(1)(2)  I-200 remains, but state and local leaders reveal impacts to keep the fight to overturn alive. Melia LaCour, South Seattle Emerald, 2018.
(3) Survey Roundup: Asian American Attitudes on Affirmative Action. Karthick Ramakrishnan and Janelle Wong, AAPI Data, 2018.