Advocates representing the Asian American and Pacific Islander (AAPI) community are urging newly elected officials in Los Angeles to hire more diverse candidates for key staff positions.
In a joint statement released on Jan. 4, AAPI Equity Alliance and Asian Americans Advancing Justice Southern California called upon newly elected Los Angeles Mayor Karen Bass, city councilmembers and county supervisors to diversify their staff.
“Our community has really struggled in the past several years, due to the pandemic and anti-Asian scapegoating and hate, compounded by the lack of government attention and resources,” Manjusha Kulkarni, executive director of AAPI Equity Alliance and co-founder of Stop AAPI Hate, said in a statement.
“Despite our communities’ high needs and significant populations in all City Council and supervisorial districts, we remain underrepresented in elected office and in key staff positions within those offices,” she added.
The release highlighted the need for representation as AAPIs account for over 16 percent of the overall population in Los Angeles County and 12 percent of the overall population in L.A. city.
“AAPIs are the fastest-growing racial group in Los Angeles and have been the fastest-growing voting group in the U.S. for the last two decades,” Connie Chung Joe, CEO of Asian Americans Advancing Justice Southern California, said. “Our vote is critical to public officials winning elections, yet we are often overlooked, as we continue to lack representation in key city and county leadership positions. We need elected officials to bring in the right people for their administrations and commissions who understand and advocate for AAPI communities.”
AAPI Equity Alliance, a coalition of about 40 AAPI groups, also unveiled the AAPI Resume Bank, a database created to “build the pipeline of highly qualified candidates seeking government employment and/or commission appointments.”
Individuals who “[self-identify] as having Asian or Pacific Islander heritage and progressive politics” may submit their resumes by visiting this page.
Hoang Nguyen, a former L.A. County staffer who is now working on the database, told LAist that AAPI staffers offer valuable insight that affects the community. He cited the raising of the issue of anti-Asian hate to County Supervisor Hilda Solis at the onset of the pandemic as an example.
“We hope that ultimately we get more AAPI elected officials, but until then, we at least want to see diverse staff,” Nguyen said.