Policies that make a difference
In the wake of xenophobic panic around the coronavirus pandemic, many members of the Asian American community have unfortunately been the victims of anti-Asian hate crimes and assaults. Between March and July 2020, over 2,100 hate incidents have been reported, including physical attacks, verbal assaults, workplace discrimination and online harassment.
These incidents, combined with the rise in discriminatory and racist police brutality against the Black community, have cemented this time period as one of many difficult times for communities of color in America. We firmly reject all types of racist hate and stand in solidarity with the Black community and other communities of color during these difficult times.
If you are a witness to an incident of anti-Asian bias, please report this if you feel comfortable discussing the details on North Carolina Asian Americans Together’s bias reporting portal. This will allow us to document the incident and provide support if needed.
The Census is a survey that the United States government uses to count people in the country to understand more about the country’s demographics every ten years. Families can fill it out by answering a basic questionnaire about the members of their household, and the questions can be answered regardless of your citizenship status.
The results of the Census are crucial in allocating $1.5 trillion in federal funding towards education, healthcare, public infrastructure, social services, and so much more. It is crucial that everyone gets counted because the Census also determines the amount of political representation that your community receives at the federal and state level. North Carolina’s population growth has made it likely we will pick up an additional Congressional seat, more accurately reflecting our state and giving us fair distribution in national decision-making in Congress.
You can fill out the Census if a member of your household has not done so already online, by phone at any of the phone numbers listed by language, or by a paper questionnaire you receive in the mail.
The Census provides language support by phone or online in the following languages: English, Spanish, Chinese, Vietnamese, Korean, Russian, Arabic, Tagalog, Polish, French, Haitian Creole, Portuguese, and Japanese. You can learn more about all of the 59 languages that offer translated Census guides and webpages here.
Among Asian Americans in the state, 70% speak a language besides English at home, more than 42% of whom speak English less than “very well.”
As a largely immigrant community, the majority of Asian American households in North Carolina speak an Asian ethnic language at home. With a third of Asian Americans living in the state’s four major urban counties reporting themselves as Limited English Proficient (LEP), this highlights the barrier that the lack of language access presents in our democracy.
According to Asian Americans Advancing Justice (AAAJ), almost one third of Asian Americans have difficulty communicating in English, so we need to take advantage of legal protections and measures to ensure that members of our community are able to exercise their right to vote. Section 208 of the Voting Rights Act allows voters who may have difficulty with English to bring someone with them into the voting booth to help them cast their ballots. You can bring a family member or a trusted member of the community with you to help you cast your ballot. This fact sheet from AAAJ, available in English and various Asian languages, provides more details.
Economic Relief for Small Businesses
The second largest racial or ethnic group among business owners is Asian entrepreneurs. They run 10% of all businesses and 16% of businesses in higher-risk industries. Asian owners have a relatively strong presence in accommodation and food services (25%), retail trade (16%) and other services (15%), increasing their economic vulnerability due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Small business revival policies can help reduce economic fallout from the COVID-19 outbreak, especially in the form of safety protections, grants, and loans for workers in affected industries. The US Treasury website provides the most up-to-date information about assistance for small businesses, and we strongly support a relief package that will provide support to small businesses and workers, who have been especially affected during this pandemic.