[Editor’s note: The following was issued by JACL Public Affairs VP Seia Watanabe and JACL Education & Communications Coordinator Matthew Weisbly and was lightly edited only to adhere to AP Style.]
On Jan. 17, the Biden administration released its initial comprehensive strategy to advance equity, justice, and opportunities for Asian American Native Hawaiian and Pacific Islander communities. The proposal is comprehensive in encompassing nearly every sector of the federal government.
The proposal highlights many areas of longtime concern for the AANHPI community, including data disaggregation and improving language access. Though a recent issue, the proposal seeks to ensure continued federal response to the increases in anti-Asian hate incidents and crimes. The JACL eagerly awaits for the administration to implement this plan to broadly address these and many other issues highlighted in the proposed blueprint.
We also look forward to working with the administration in the continued implementation of the Japanese American Confinement Sites (JACS) program that has provided more than $39 million in funding to protect and preserve the legacy of Japanese American WWII incarceration sites. As a result of the December 2022 passage of the Norman Y. Mineta Japanese American Confinement Education Act, in tandem with the Japanese American WWII Historic Sites Network Act, an additional $32 million dollars of funding for continuing JACS grants was authorized as well as $10 million in new funds for the implementation of educational programs about the Japanese American incarceration experience. We trust that these programs will also be an integral part of the administration’s work to advance our Asian American, particularly Japanese American experiences, through education and opportunities for investment in our communities.
We thank President Biden and Vice-President Harris for their leadership in bringing forth this plan. We are also grateful for the work of the President’s Advisory Commission on Asian Americans, Native Hawaiians and Pacific Islanders, the commission co-chairs, Secretary Becerra and Ambassador Tai, for their work with the departments and agencies that put in the effort to produce this comprehensive enumeration of the many needs of our communities and the work that has been and will be done to address these concerns.