Follow-up and Reports from the 2013 SPEAK UP: A Dialogue on the Status of APIs in Fresno & Madera Counties

Released June 24, 2013


On Saturday, May 11, more than 100 community members concerned and invested in the Asian-American community gathered at Willow International Community College to hear about the latest report on the status of Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders (API) in the San Joaquin Valley. This group also provided feedback through focus groups on how to best serve this diverse, dynamic population.

Joanna Lee, Senior Research Analyst at the Asian Pacific American Legal Center and co-author of the 2013 report, A Community of Contrasts: Asian Americans, Native Hawaiians and Pacific Islanders in California, shared concrete data to support what many of our communities have experienced and already know: Asians in America are not universally successful as the “model minority” myth would have us believe.

Many still struggle with language barriers, poverty, employment and education. In particular, Fresno is home to the second largest Hmong-American population in the United States, numbering more than 31,000. Hmong Americans also endure the highest level of poverty of all ethnic groups in Fresno.

The Executive Summary and Recommendations contains our best summarization of the contributions shared at “Speak Up” event in the areas of education, health and workforce development. Several small focus groups were asked to identify the most effective services addressing the needs of the Asian American community in those three areas, and as well identify the three greatest needs they see in the community.

Key ideas came up again and again: access, empowerment, and trust. If government, institutions, and Central Valley APIs (Asian Pacific Islanders) are to successfully work together, these three ideas must be fundamental parts of our collaborative work.

We hope that the information will help decision-makers like you further engage on pressing issues affecting the API community and inform important policy around these areas. We expect to hold a similar gathering annually, and look forward to continuing the dialogue on how to best serve API communities in the San Joaquin Valley.

Gena Lew Gong, President
Central California Asian Pacific Women

Deborah Ikeda, President
Willow International Community College Center

Blong Xiong, President
Fresno City Council
California Commission on API American Affairs



SPEAK UP Executive Summary and Recommendations
A Dialogue on the Status of APIs in Fresno & Madera Counties

Asian Americans, NHPI in California & Fresno Area
Joanna Lee, Asian Pacific American Legal Center

A Community of Contrasts: Asian Americans, Native Hawaiians and Pacific Islanders in California
Asian Pacific American Legal Center Report

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