Today, the Biden-Harris Administration is releasing its first-ever National Strategy to Advance Equity, Justice, and Opportunity for Asian American, Native Hawaiian, and Pacific Islander (AA and NHPI) Communities. The new strategy, which comprises action plans prepared by 32 federal agencies-including all 15 executive departments in the President’s Cabinet-builds on the Administration’s broader equity agenda and details much needed investments in AA and NHPI communities and priorities, including data disaggregation, language access, and combatting anti-Asian hate.
President Joe Biden signed Executive Order 14031 in May 2021, delivering on his commitment to establish and reinvigorate the White House Initiative on Asian Americans, Native Hawaiians, and Pacific Islanders (WHIAANHPI). In the Executive Order, the President directed the development of an ambitious, government-wide interagency plan to advance equity, justice, and opportunity for AA and NHPI communities.
Since Day One, the Administration has prioritized the needs of AA and NHPI communities by advancing policies that promote equity, reducing barriers to accessing federal services and programs, and centering the experiences and resiliency of AA and NHPIs. The following is a snapshot of the progress and the important role of the federal government in supporting families, neighborhoods, and communities across the country.
Promoting Belonging and Inclusion and Addressing Anti-Asian Hate/Discrimination
Across the federal government, agencies have stepped up their efforts to respond to the increasing number of bias incidents and discrimination against AA and NHPIs, promote belonging, equity, and inclusion, and improve access to federal resources.
- The Department of Justice developed an array of resources to provide local officials, community leaders and residents, law enforcement, and victims with the tools to help prevent and address hate crimes and incidents, including a webpage specifically to address hate crimes and incidents against AAs and NHPIs with instructions on how to report a hate crime to the Federal Bureau of Investigation in 24 languages.
- The Department of Justice and the Department of Education jointly issued a letter to educators on May 26, 2021, and a fact sheet addressing the increased harassment and violence directed at Asian American and Pacific Islander (AAPI) students and reminded schools about their role in addressing discrimination, including harassment, against AAPI students.
- The Department of Labor and the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission continued to protect AA and NHPI workers, including by entering into a conciliation agreement with Conduent Inc., to resolve alleged systemic hiring discrimination against Black, AA and NHPI applicants for customer care assistant positions at its Yukon facility, and by recovering $4.8 million to satisfy a judgment against Maui Pineapple alleging labor trafficking and discrimination against 54 Thai workers.
- In February 2022, the Department of State’s Cultural Heritage Center helped with the repatriation of 58 iwi kūpuna (ancestral Hawaiian remains) from German and Austrian institutions to the Office of Hawaiian Affairs.
- In March 2022, the Department of the Interior designated the Amache National Historic Site in Colorado as the newest component of the National Park System, honoring and preserving AA and NHPI history of the Japanese American incarceration during World War II.
- Over the past year, the U.S. Agency for International Development hosted more than 20 “Urgent Hate Crimes Response/Support” meetings to provide a proactive response to the surge in anti-Asian hate crimes across the nation. These meetings created pathways to ensure that AA and NHPI community members felt safe physically returning to work, addressed the interpersonal challenges within the workplace, and sustained a respectful, equitable, and just workplace environment.
- Since January 2021, the National Endowment for the Humanities funded nearly 100 awards related to AA and NHPI history and culture.
Addressing the Systemic Lack of Data Disaggregation on AA and NHPI Communities
The Biden-Harris Administration is committed to advancing racial equity through improved data collection, research, access, and disaggregation efforts. Better data leads to better and more informed policies that reflect the needs and priorities of the AA and NHPI communities.
- The White House Office of Science and Technology Policy, which also co-chairs the Equitable Data Working Group, will support revision to the Office of Management and Budget Directive 15: Standards for Maintaining, Collecting, and Presenting Federal Data on Race and Ethnicity. This will spur the collection of higher quality disaggregated data on AA and NHPI communities and lead to better statistical analyses and overall understanding of the diverse AA and NHPI population.
- The Census Bureau is scheduled to release the 2020 Census Detailed Demographic and Housing Characteristics File A in summer of 2023 that will include critical statistics on detailed disaggregated Asian and Pacific Islander groups, unavailable in any other data collection.
- The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission released a new data visualization tool enabling agency users to analyze AA and NHPI demographic information and identify national origin groups experiencing high rates of limited English proficiency.
- In May 2021, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau expanded the demographic section in its consumer complaint form to include household size and household income questions, changes that will improve data collection of AA and NHPI complaints.
- The Federal Housing Finance Agency used disaggregated AA and NHPI data to uncover trends and disparities related to mortgage approval rates, which will help ensure equal treatment of all future homeowners.
- The Department of Transportation launched an agency-wide Transportation Equity Data Analysis Community of Practice and Working Group that brings together researchers and staff to collaborate on ways to strengthen transportation equity.
Expanding Language Access Across Federal Programs
Federal agencies are taking critical action to expand access for limited English proficient communities and deliver greater equity for the diverse AA and NHPI community.
- The Internal Revenue Service developed landing pages on IRS.gov in 20 foreign languages including Chinese (Simplified and Traditional), Vietnamese, Korean, Tagalog, Khmer, Japanese, Urdu, Arabic, Gujarati, Bengali, and Punjabi.
- The Food and Drug Administration developed culturally and linguistically tailored COVID-19 health messages in Mandarin, Cantonese, Hmong, Korean, Tagalog, and Vietnamese. And, as part of the Department of Health and Human Services’ Health Resources and Services Administration, the Pacific Basin Telehealth Resource Center’s “Translation Toolkit” included resources in Japanese, Chuukese, Ilocano, Korean, Marshallese, Samoan, Tagalog, Chinese (Simplified and Traditional), and Vietnamese.
- The Department of Homeland Security translated, among other things, its National Terrorism Advisory System Bulletin into Chinese (Simplified and Traditional), Korean, Tagalog, Thai, and Vietnamese and its statements on safety and immigration issued during Hurricane Ida, Hurricane Henri and Tropical Storm Fred into Chinese (Simplified and Traditional) and Vietnamese.
- The Federal Communications Commission created consumer-friendly fact sheets and other materials online about its Affordable Connectivity Program and translated them into Chinese (Simplified and Traditional), Korean, Vietnamese, and Tagalog.
- Following a listening session with journalists about COVID recovery-related scams, the Federal Trade Commission placed a series of multilingual advertorials and live-announcer scripts in 68 print publications and 26 radio stations in Asian American, Black, Latino, and Tribal communities.
- The Social Security Administration expanded its Multi-Language Gateway internet site to include Tagalog and Simplified Chinese translated publications. SSA also made linguistic updates to its visitor intake kiosks to better facilitate the check-in process at local field offices.
Building Capacity in AA and NHPI Communities
By increasing access to federal contracts, grants, and opportunities, the federal government is helping to break down persistent barriers to federal resources, center equity in grant-making, and build the capacity of AA and NHPI communities and organizations across the country.
- The Department of the Treasury and the Department of Agriculture increased their grants, loans, and investments in infrastructure to Hawaii, American Samoa, the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands, Guam, the Federated States of Micronesia, the Republic of Marshall Islands, and the Republic of Palau by over $85 million and $87.4 million, respectively.
- The Department of Commerce’s Minority Business Development Agency (MBDA) awarded $3.9 million in federal funding to 13 grant recipients to establish American Indian, Alaska Native, and Native Hawaiian projects that addressed innovation and entrepreneurship, strategic planning, and/or transformative projects.
- Several federal agencies continued investing in Asian American and Native American Pacific Islander-Serving Institutions (AANAPISIs) through grants, cooperative agreements, and direct financial relief to students, including the Department of Defense ($4.8 million), Department of Energy ($57.2 million), and Department of Education ($5 billion).
- The Department of Housing and Urban Development made available $5 million in Native Hawaiian Housing Block Grant funding via the President’s American Rescue Plan, providing critical rental and utility assistance to 564 low-income Native Hawaiian families and supporting homeownership by issuing 107 mortgage loan guarantees in FY 2021 and FY 2022.
- The Small Business Administration distributed to AA and NHPI business owners and entrepreneurs: 1,084 loans through its 504 Program totaling $1.5 billion; 5,603 loans through its 7(a) Program totaling $5.3 billion; and 165 micro-loans totaling $3.7 billion (in FY 2022) and 22,725 grants via the temporary Cares Act Restaurant Revitalization Fund totaling $5.9 billion (in FY 2021).
- The Department of the Interior’s Office of Insular Affairs (OIA) provided $55 million through CARES Act grant assistance for facilities, medicine, food, and supplies to Pacific Islander populations in the U.S. territories, the Republic of Palau, the Federated States of Micronesia, and the Republic of the Marshall Islands, and to support OIA’s Insular Area Pacific Islander populations in the contiguous United States.
Creating a Diverse Federal Workforce
The Biden-Harris Administration strives to make the federal government a model for diversity, equity, and inclusion and reflects the lived experiences and rich cultural backgrounds of all Americans, including the diverse members of the AA and NHPI community.
- The Office of Personnel Management co-leads the whole-of-government effort to implement Executive Order 14035, Diversity, Equity, Inclusion, and Accessibility in the Federal Workforce.
- The U.S. Patent and Trademark Office is working to improve recruitment and retention efforts for members of underserved communities, including those in the AA and NHPI community who now comprise 28% of the overall workforce.
- In Spring 2021, Congress established five new discretionary advisory committees in the U.S. territories, and the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights subsequently appointed a total of 30 new members, 14 of whom self-identify as Asian/Asian American, Native Hawaiian/Pacific Islander, or Mixed Ethnicity/Other.
- Currently, 17% of appointees at the National Endowment for the Arts identify as AA or NHPI, and President Biden nominated two AA and NHPI council members to its governing body, the National Council on the Arts.
- The General Services Administration’s AA and NHPI affinity group launched a mentoring program to encourage career growth and development.
Increasing Outreach and Engagement Efforts and Cultivating Community Partnerships
To ensure that government policies are informed by and reflect the needs of the AA and NHPI community, agencies are engaging in meaningful outreach efforts to hear from community stakeholders, deepen partnerships, and expand access to government programs.
- The Department of Veterans Affairs is working to understand the unmet needs of minority and women Veterans in the Pacific Islands and freely associated states.
- In August 2021, the Department of Homeland Security’s Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) issued ICE Directive 11005.3, Using a Victim-Centered Approach with Noncitizen Crime Victims, which could offer protection from the threat of deportation for AA and NHPI victims of domestic violence, hate crimes, and human trafficking.
- U.S. Trade Representative Ambassador Katherine Tai connected with AA and NHPI communities across the country, including with the Hmong community in La Crosse, Wisconsin, and AA and NHPI leaders in Chicago, Illinois; Charlotte, North Carolina; and students in Massachusetts.
- The National Science Foundation established a Native Hawaiian working group during the construction of the Daniel K. Inouye Solar Telescope in Maui. Researchers will acknowledge in any resulting scientific publications that the site is located on land of spiritual and cultural significance to Native Hawaiian people.
- The Environmental Protection Agency provided technical assistance and support for local Vietnamese leaders and communities following Hurricane Ida in September 2021 and continued to offer emergency preparedness in response to natural disasters.