Interview with Kumar Barve for MD-8

Editor’s Note:  Maryland Majority Leader and AAA-Fund Honorary Board member and the first Indian-American elected to state legislature Kumar Barve runs to represent Maryland’s 8th Congressional District. The AAA-Fund endorses Kumar Barve and we interviewed him last week.

Kumar Barve for Congress
  1. How did you get your start in politics?

    I started in politics, like most people, by volunteering on campaigns.  I grew up in Silver Spring, Maryland attending public schools.  There weren’t any kids who looked like me or had a name like mine.  When I became interested in politics I saw that none of the volunteers, workers or, certainly, the candidates or elected officials, looked like me.  I became increasingly interested in serving in government, working on issues of social justice and economic opportunity and expanding AAPI participation in the political and  civic life of their communities.  I ran for a seat in the state legislature at a time when I was an unknown and a huge underdog and at a time when no Indian American had ever won a state legislative seat in our nation.  I am very proud that my election in 1990 inspired so many AAPIs to seek and win elective office.  If elected to Congress, I will continue to break ground as the first Asian American to elected to Congress from Maryland.

  2. The AAAF’s mission is to increase AAPI participation in politics
    especially at the federal level such as your campaign does. What would you like to see us do more?

    I would like to see AAAF continue its outreach especially to students and young adults.  The AAPI community needs to continue to build a political farm team.  When I ran for state legislature in 1990 I received virtually no support from the community.  To the extent there was political involvement at that time  it was focused on presidential politics.  We need young people to get involved, to get involved in their communities and to vote!  We need to recruit young people to run for local offices – school board, city and town councils, county office, and the state legislature.  AAAF should be continue to be involved at the federal level and I am grateful for the support of my campaign for Congress –  but we also need to focus on the local offices which will add additional qualified, experienced Congressional candidates in the future.

  3. What’s your hope for your successor in MD House District 17?

    My hope is that my successor will a strong effective progressive legislator, dedicated to the community and constituent service, and, hopefully, reflective of the increasing diversity of my state legislative district.

  4. How do you feel the Maryland elections will end up representing AAPIs?

    First, we need to make sure that AAPI community and political leaders support their own when qualified candidates present themselves.  Next, we need to reach out to all parts of the AAPI community to make sure that they come out and vote.  In areas like mine, it is imperative that the AAPI community recognize that our elected officials are chosen in Democratic primaries and register as Democrats to ensure that the voice of the AAPI community is heard in our elections.

  5. What do you want your constituents-to-be to know as they vote on Nov. 8?

    Well, first I want them to know that the Democratic Primary is April 26.  In the 8th Congressional District, the Democratic nominee is highly likely to be the next Member of Congress so it is imperative that AAPIs register to vote as Democrats and support my candidacy for Congress in the April 26 primary.

    I want the voters to know that I work will hard for them on a pragmatic progressive agenda focusing on the environment and job creation while fighting climate change and encroachment on social justice issues from the right  Voters in my district are concerned about the disappearance of good middle class jobs and quality affordable college education.  They are afraid that their children will never pay off their students loans and move out of their homes.  We must raise the minimum wage and train our workers to fill the millions of job openings across American with qualified workers.

Beyond the Model Minority Myth: Investing in AAPI community

Editor’s Note: This has been cross-posted from the Department of Housing and Urban Development blog.

Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders (AAPIs) are now the fastest growing racial group in the country, expected to more than double from 20 million to 47 million by 2060. With this tremendous growth comes the need to better understand and address issues of social equity and overall community well-being within this diverse community.

Population by race and Hispanic origin

As you may know, AAPIs face the model minority myth – the notion that virtually all are well-educated, affluent, and self-sufficient. In reality, the AAPI community is not a monolithic group and each group faces unique challenges. One out of three AAPIs does not speak English fluently. Certain subgroups have low levels of educational attainment and high levels of unemployment. For example, 40 percent of Hmong Americans do not complete high school, and Pacific Islanders have among the highest unemployment rates of all racial and ethnic groups. And we cannot ignore the fact that more than two million AAPIs, representing over two dozen subgroups, live in poverty.

Underinvestment in AAPI communities has remained persistent, with philanthropic investments staying at around 0.3% for the past quarter century and ongoing barriers to accessing government funding. By aligning investments, we can better work to improve the well-being of underserved AAPI communities.

It is clear that we must develop and implement more effective methods in assisting and investing in AAPI communities. Recent data disaggregation efforts by the U.S. Department of Labor have provided deeper insight into how poverty, unemployment, and housing affect AAPIs. The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development identified several areas for further disaggregation of AAPI data, including the American Housing Survey, which is conducted biennially and will now include the collection of Asian subgroup data in 2015 for the first time in its history. The Annual Homelessness Assessment Report will now break out “Asian” and “Native Hawaiian or Other Pacific Islander” populations. In light of this progress, however, there is a significant opportunity to do more.

Today, we have the privilege of joining a historic event at the White House to better align investments to low-income AAPI communities. Hosted by the White House Initiative on Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders, in partnership with Asian Americans/Pacific Islanders in Philanthropy (AAPIP), the Public-Private Partnership Summit on Issues Facing Low-Income AAPI Communities will convene philanthropic, community, and government leaders to take a deeper look at how public, private, and community partnerships can address AAPI needs.

Since the beginning of his Administration, President Obama has prioritized public-private partnerships and social innovation, with the belief that both government and private resources are needed to create social change. This is evident in the fact that today’s Summit builds upon the first-ever National Philanthropic Briefing on AAPIs at the White House in 2012. As a result of the briefing, the Ford Foundation, W.K. Kellogg Foundation, and Kresge Foundation together made a commitment of $1 million, the first-of-its-kind coordinated public and philanthropic investment in the AAPI community.

We have made great strides over the years in public and private commitments that are beginning to address the critical issues faced by low-income AAPI communities. Earlier last year, President Obama signed Executive Order 13658, “Establishing a Minimum Wage for Contractors,” which will raise the minimum wage for all workers on federal construction and service contracts beginning January 2016. This is an important step toward fulfilling the belief that all Americans, including AAPIs, who work full-time jobs should not live in poverty. And the third and final round of the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development’s Promise Zones competition recently opened, where federal, state, and local agencies will partner with leaders in vulnerable communities to increase economic activity, improve educational opportunities, leverage private investment, reduce violent crime, and enhance public health, among other priorities. A current Promise Zone in Los Angeles, CA prioritizes communities in Hollywood, East Hollywood, Koreatown, Pico Union, and Westlake, which have high AAPI populations. To read more about these commitments, the White House Initiative on AAPIs has released a fact sheet today.

We seek to continue our commitment to the AAPI community by recognizing both the progress we have made and the work that still needs to be done. It is an exciting time for all of us, and we hope to renew our pledge to the AAPI community and produce innovative, cross-sector, and multidimensional solutions for effective change.

Nani Coloretti is Deputy Secretary of Housing and Urban Development and Chris Lu is Deputy Secretary of Labor.

APAICS: Asian American Electorate to Double by 2040

Editor’s Note: The below is a re-posting of a new release by our friends at APAICS.


May 7, 2015
Washington, D.C. & Los Angeles, CA
Contact: Elena Ong

Asian American Electorate to Double by 2040

The half-century journey of the Immigration & Nationality Act of 1965 and the Voting Rights Act of 1965 continues to transform and be a beacon of hope for America’s social and political fabric. As we commemorate these Acts, and celebrate Asian Pacific American Heritage Month, it is a time to reflect on the remarkable accomplishments and contributions made by Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders (AAPIs), and envision the challenges and opportunities of the next 25 years.

A new study released today by the UCLA Study for the Center for Inequality and the Asian

Pacific American Institute for Congressional Studies (APAICS) shows that while the Asian American population will grow by 74% between 2015 and 2040, the Asian American electorate will more than double, and grow by 107%.

According to Paul Ong, Director of the UCLA Center on the Study of Inequality, “Our report finds that in 2015, there are 20.5 million Asian Americans, and a quarter of a century from now, 35.7 million. In 2040, nearly 1 in 10 Americans will be Asian American. During the same period, the number of Asian American registered voters will increase from 5.9 million to 12.2 million.”

According to Elena Ong, the report’s co-author, “The Asian American electorate will emerge from 4% today, to 7%, six presidential cycles from now. The Asian American vote is not a monolith. It’s important to look at the underlying demographic characteristics — Asian American registered voters by age, and by where they were born. Today, 62% of the Asian American electorate are naturalized citizens, but over the next quarter of century, there will be a multigenerational transformation. By 2040, 47% will be younger and U.S. born, and 53% will be older and foreign-born.”

This report, which is the first of a series of publications on the future of AAPIs, presents projections of the Asian American population to 2040, with a focus on the electorate. This project is designed to provide detailed projections that serve as a basis for developing a vision to guide the development of legislation, policies and programs that would address the concerns and priorities of this rapidly growing population. This report is the first in a series of publications that explore the key demographic dimensions that can shape the future of Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders. A copy of the full report will be available on May 7 at: http://luskin.ucla.edu/content/center-study-inequality and http://apaics.org/resources/publications/.

Click here to download The Future of Asian America in 2040 infographic.

Click here to download a copy of the full report.

Click here to download a copy of detailed commentaries on the report.


The Immigration Act and Voting Rights Act created what Ong, De La Cruz-Viesca and Nakanishi call the “Next Sleeping Giant” in American politics, and the question remains, will the “Next Sleeping Giant” awaken and change the course, and discourse of America, when the Asian American electorate doubles by the year 2040?

“The study released today shows that Asian Americans will have a growing presence and stronger voice in our national debates for years to come. As the first Asian American woman elected to the U.S. Senate, I look forward to continuing to work with organizations like APAICS to grow the pipeline of Asian American leaders who will amplify the voice of our community and continue the fight to overcome the challenges we face.”

– U.S. Senator Mazie Hirono (HI)

“Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders are not only the fastest growing racial group in the United States, but are also one of the fastest growing voting populations in our nation. The Future of Asian America in 2040 report confirms this and provides key findings on the increasingly influential AAPI electorate, which is expected to double by 2040. As AAPIs become more engaged in the political process, it is important now more than ever that our government both represents and responds to the needs of our diverse communities.”

– U.S. Representative Judy Chu (CA-27), Chairwoman, Congressional Asian Pacific American Caucus

“Not only are Asian Americans the fastest growing racial group in America, they are now one of the fastest growing electorates in America. Between 2015 and 2040, the number of Asian American registered voters will double, and shift, from an older, more foreign-born naturalized voter base, to a younger, U.S. born voter base. Understanding this dynamic and viable political force will prove to be advantageous for candidates and campaigns in the 2016 elections and beyond. Asian Americans are a very fluid voting base and every election is a new opportunity to court the Asian American vote. Cultivating Asian American voters and gaining their loyalty is pivotal to a political party’s future. Securing the Asian American vote in areas with large concentration, and in swing vote states, will be a political game changer. Political parties should also cultivate candidates who can appeal to, be responsive to, and turn out the Asian American vote.”

– S. Floyd Mori, CEO and President, Asian Pacific American Institute for Congressional Studies

“These population projections are informative and should be used as a guide when we talk about allocating resources to support and maximize our community’s civic participation.” – Mee Moua, President and Executive Director, Asian Americans Advancing Justice l AAJC

“What I am most interested in is whether Asian Americans will play the role of wedge or glue, among various racial groups. In our liminal position as the so-called model minority, will we function as honorary Whites or people of color? . . . That’s the choice ahead.”

– Jerry Kang, Professor of Law, Professor of Asian American Studies, and the inaugural Vice Chancellor (designate) for Equity, Diversity & Inclusion at UCLA

“These trends have notable implications for Asian American political empowerment. . . . [and] significant meaning for the very nature of American politics. . . . It has been only recently that researchers have included Asian Americans in the coalition paradigm. . . . The possibility of [inter-ethnic] coalition politics is highly dependent on the issues at play, the composition of the Asian American population in question, and, ultimately, the articulation of an Asian American political agenda.”

– Franklin D. Gilliam, Jr., Dean, UCLA Luskin School of Public Affairs

“We are at the crossroads of a demographic transition – the Asian American electorate will double just as we are turning the corner to a nation that is majority minority. We can choose a path of justice, or a strategy of ‘just us.’ . . . instead we can link across these divides, we can expand all our horizons.”

– Manuel Pastor, Professor of Sociology and American Studies & Ethnicity at the University of Southern California and currently directs the Program for Environmental and Regional Equity at USC and co-directs the Center for the Study of Immigrant Integration

“In areas where Asian Americans are concentrated or growing, Asians can shape the outcome of close elections, where a small margin of victory is needed, especially in non-presidential election periods, where voter turnout is typically lower amongst the general electorate.”

– Linda Trinh Vo, Associate Professor and former Chair of the Department of Asian American Studies at the University of California, Irvine and President of the Association for Asian American Studies

“Three scenarios could challenge or disrupt an optimistic view of the political future for Asian America during the 25 years leading up to 2040. . . . class [differences] . . . partisan skirmishes and controversies . . . and America’s color line.

– Don Nakanishi, Professor Emeritus and Director Emeritus of the UCLA Asian American Studies Center

“To make growth in population and registration count decisively however, community-based and advocacy organizations should devote resources to the places where the Asian American vote is not only growing, but also mostly likely to be influential (fastest growing population and small margins of victory for the candidates, in places like Nevada, North Carolina, Virginia).”

– Janelle Wong, Director of the Asian American Studies Program, University of Maryland College Park

“These projections are telling of how Asian Americans will play a decisive role in setting the stage of future politics. . . . Ethnicity, along with nativity and many other demographic characteristics (e.g. age, gender, mixed-race, class) will have major implications on whom will represent the Asian American Electorate in 2040.”

– Melany De La Cruz-Viesca, Assistant Director of the UCLA Asian American Studies Center & Coordinator of the Center’s Census Information Center


The Asian Pacific American Institute for Congressional Studies (APAICS) is a national non-partisan, nonprofit 501(c)(3) organization dedicated to promoting Asian Pacific American participation and representation at all levels of the political process, from community service to elected office. APAICS programs focus on developing leadership, building public policy knowledge, and filling the political pipeline for Asian Pacific Americans to pursue public office at the local, state, and federal levels.

APABA Event, LA May 18: Policing Communities of Color

Editor’s Note: The Asian American Action Fund co-sponsors the upcoming Asian Pacific American Bar Association of Los Angeles County‘s (APABA) APA Heritage Month Event. The panel discussion Policing Communities of Color: Where Do Asian Pacific Americans Stand? in Little Tokyo at East West Players on Monday, May 18 at 6:30 p.m. will feature various prominent experts and practitioners speaking on the topic of the Asian American response to, and perspective on, the use of excessive force by police. Please also see their Facebook and Twitter.

Asian Pacific American Bar Association of Los Angeles County

APABA’s Annual APA Heritage Month Event – Policing Communities of Color: Where Do Asian Pacific Americans Stand?

Date: Monday, May 18, 2015
Location: East West Players, 120 Judge John Aiso St., Los Angeles, CA 90012 6:00 p.m. Registration; 6:30 p.m. Panel Discussion; 8:00 p.m. Reception

Join APABA at our annual APA Heritage Month Event – Policing Communities of Color: Where Do Asian Pacific Americans Stand? The event will begin with performances by local spoken word artists and a panel discussion.

Panelists to include:

– Annie Lai, Professor of Law at University of California Irvine School of Law
– Kathleen Kim, Police Commissioner and Professor of Law at Loyola Law School
– Brian Moriguchi, President of the Professional Police Officers Association and Lieutenant of the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department

The panel will be moderated by Paul Jung, Staff Attorney at Asian Americans Advancing Justice – Los Angeles.

Performances by Annette Wong and Hatefas Yop

1 hour of MCLE credit to be provided by APABA. The event is free but we ask attendees to RSVP online & spread the Event flyer.

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