Governor Newsom Signs API Equity Budget: Historic $156.5 million measure to address systemic discrimination and rising hate incidents against AAPI communities


SACRAMENTO, CA — California is taking steps to address the recent rise in hate incidents against Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders (AAPI). The Governor has signed the historic Asian and Pacific Islander (API) Equity Budget included in a fiscal bill approved by the Legislature last month. The API Equity Budget is sponsored by the API Legislative Caucus, which is leading efforts to address systemic racism and discrimination in their communities.

Since the start of the pandemic, xenophobia and bigotry against the AAPI community have escalated to unprecedented levels. Stop AAPI Hate has received more than 6,600 reports of hate incidents since March 2020. Almost half of those incidents were reported in California, and these racist attacks have disproportionately affected the most vulnerable members of the community, including elders, young people, and AAPI women who report hate incidents two times as often as AAPI men. 

The $156.5 million investment sponsored by the API Legislative Caucus is among the most significant actions to date in response to the surge in anti-AAPI hate and violence over the past year and addresses racial inequities that have harmed AAPI communities since the 1800s. 

Below is a summary of where the funds will go:

  • $110 million – a majority of the funding – will go to community organizations who are providing vital victim services and prevention;
  • $10 million will provide support to Stop AAPI Hate to track, respond, and prevent incidents of racial bias and harm;
  • $10 million will go to the AAPI Data project to increase accurate data collection and data equity on AAPI needs, challenges, and barriers;
  • $10 million will go to anti-bias block grant to provide funding to schools to create restorative justice programs to address hate and macroaggressions early;
  • $5 million will support a peer social media network project addressing bullying and mental health for children and youth;
  • $1.5 million will go towards a workgroup to address education attainment for low income first generation AAPI college students, and support the Commission on Asian Pacific Islander American Affairs as it coordinates these programs; and
  • $10 million will go to ethnic media outlets to reach AAPI and other underserved communities in California.

This is a historic investment in AAPI communities in California and an important step toward equity for all Californians. 

As the sponsor of this effort, the API Legislative Caucus built a strong partnership with the California Commission on APIA Affairs and the Stop AAPI Hate Coalition, and together mobilized and joined forces with over 150 AAPI and ally organizations to champion this historic bill. 

 “Thank you Governor Newsom for making history and investing in critical resources for the API Community,” said Senator Richard Pan (D-Sacramento), Chair of the API Legislative Caucus. “This sends a message to the API community that the State of California sees them and that we matter. It gives us hope that California will be supporting our survivors and communities as our state recovers from COVID-19. Thank you again Governor for being there for us. We look forward to continuing to work with you as a champion for our community.”

“The API Equity Budget was Governor Newsom’s chance to stand by his commitment to the AAPI community — we are heartened to see him take it,” said Vincent Pan, Co-Executive Director of Chinese for Affirmative Action (CAA), a partner of the Stop AAPI Hate Coalition. “This funding is essential in addressing both the pandemic-related hate our community is facing and the racial inequities that have too long shaped the lives of California’s AAPI community. We thank Governor Newsom, the State Legislature, especially the API Legislative Caucus, and community and ally organizations for uniting behind this budget effort. We hope other states can draw from the API Equity Budget to invest in the AAPI community as the primary way to protect AAPIs against racism and discrimination.” 

 “For decades, API communities have been longing to be seen and heard. The pandemic amplified the need to do more amid rising hate against Asian Americans. The state’s remarkable investment acknowledges this struggle by ensuring that victims have access to culturally competent services and resources. It also shores up research and data collection, so we can look at ways to prevent such attacks from happening in the first place. Every person has the right to shop, go to school and enjoy our neighborhoods safely without fear of being attacked. It is my hope that with this historic investment our communities feel safe once again,” said Assemblymember Phil Ting (D-San Francisco), Chair of the Assembly Budget Committee.

“As anti-Asian violence has skyrocketed, our API Caucus sprang into action, working to stand up against hate and to support our communities under attack,” said Assemblymember David Chiu (D-San Francisco). “This historic budget is the culmination of those efforts, and makes significant strides in addressing the needs of our communities. It makes critical investments to provide comprehensive services to victims, strengthen our hate crimes data collection, and revitalize API ethnic neighborhoods and small businesses decimated by racism and discrimination this year. I am grateful to my colleagues, Governor Newsom, and many advocates for uplifting our API communities in this budget.”

“This historic investment in California’s Asian American and Pacific Islander communities is a testament to the advocacy of so many people who have been affected by the spike in hate crimes during the pandemic, as well as the genuine allyship of Governor Newsom,” said Assemblymember Evan Low (D-Silicon Valley), who serves as Vice Chair of the API Legislative Caucus. “The challenge to root out systemic racism will not be completed overnight, but we now have the tools to expand services, invest in the hardest-hit neighborhoods, increase anti-bias education, and better track and prevent these cowardly attacks.”

“Our communities have been vital to California since its founding in 1850,” said Karthick Ramakrishnan, Chair of the California Commission on Asian and Pacific Islander American Affairs. “These investments are unprecedented in the state’s history, and will go a long way to ensure that our state remains deeply inclusive and is able to harness the talents and contributions of everyone who calls California home.”

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The California Asian Pacific Islander Legislative Caucus represents and advocates for the interests of the diverse API communities throughout California. It seeks to increase Asian Pacific Islander participation and representation in all levels of government. 

Website of the California API Legislative Caucus: www.apicaucus.legislature.ca.gov  

The Commission on Asian and Pacific Islander American Affairs elevates the political, economic, and social issues of Asians and Pacific Islanders by contributing to and strengthening how state government addresses the needs, issues, and concerns of the diverse and complex Asian and Pacific Islander American communities.

Website of the California Commission on APIA Affairs: www.caapicommission.org  

Stop AAPI Hate is a national coalition addressing anti-AAPI racism across the U.S. The coalition was founded by the Asian Pacific Policy and Planning Council (A3PCON), Chinese for Affirmative Action (CAA) and San Francisco State University’s Asian American Studies Department. Between March 19, 2020 and March 31, 2021, Stop AAPI Hate has received 6,603 reported incidents of racism and discrimination targeting Asian Americans across the U.S.

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