Open Letter on Affirmative Action

affirmative action meme2

URGENT (UPDATED MAY 26) – Please support equal opportunity for all by endorsing the following open letter. We are asking individuals and organizations that serve Asian American, Native Hawaiian and Pacific Islander (AANHPI) communities to sign on to the following national statement in support of affirmative action. As of May 26, more than 150 organizations have signed on to our national statement in support of affirmative action. These include organizations representing the full diversity of the Asian American, Native Hawaiian and Pacific Islander community, and legal, civil rights, health, housing, social service and student organizations with deep and rich histories serving AANHPI communities.

SIGN TODAY!

18MillionRising.org
After Bruce
America Innovates
American College Personnel Association – Asian Pacific American Network
API Equality – LA
Arab American Action Network (AAAN)
Arab American Democratic Club
Asia Pacific Cultural Center
Asian & Pacific Islander American Health Forum
Asian American Legal Defense and Education Fund (AALDEF)
Asian American Organizing Project
Asian American Psychological Association
Asian American Resource Center, Pomona College
Asian American Student Union at Scripps College
Asian American Student Union at University of Maryland College Park
Asian American Student Union at University of Minnesota, Twin Cities
Asian American Studies Program, Cornell University
Asian American Studies Program, Hunter College, CUNY
Asian American Studies Program, University of Maryland College Park
Asian American Studies, California State University Sacramento
Asian American Studies, Northwestern University
Asian American Studies, San Francisco State University
Asian Americans Advancing Justice – AAJC
Asian Americans Advancing Justice – Asian Law Caucus
Asian Americans Advancing Justice – Atlanta
Asian Americans Advancing Justice – Chicago
Asian Americans Advancing Justice – LA
Asian American Ministry Program, Seattle Pacific University
Asian Americans United
Asian Community Development Council
Asian Immigrant Women Advocates
Asian Law Alliance
Asian Pacific American Bar Association of Los Angeles County
Asian Pacific American Coalition at Northwestern University
Asian American Initiative at Fuller Theological Seminary
Asian Pacific American Labor Alliance – Alameda Chapter
Asian Pacific American Labor Alliance, AFL-CIO (APALA)
Asian Pacific American Labor Alliance – Los Angeles Chapter
Asian Pacific American Law Student Association, University of San Francisco School of Law
Asian Pacific American Law Students Association, UC Hastings
Asian Pacific American Law Students Association, Columbia University
Asian Pacific American Law Students Association, Yale Law School
Asian Pacific American Network of Oregon (APANO)
Asian Pacific American Religions Research Initiative
Asian Pacific American Student Development, UC Berkeley
Asian Pacific American Student Involvement & Advocacy, University of Maryland College Park
Asian Pacific American Studies Program, University of Virginia
Asian Pacific American Women Lawyers Alliance
Asian Pacific Americans for Action at Cornell University (APAA)
Asian Pacific Americans in Higher Education (APAHE)
Asian Pacific Coalition, UCLA
Asian Pacific Environmental Network
Asian Pacific Islander Knowledge Community (APIKC)
Asian Pacific Partners for Empowerment, Advocacy and Leadership (APPEAL)
Asian Pacific Policy & Planning Council
Asian Services In Action
Asian Students Association, Baylor University
Association of Asian Pacific Community Health Organizations
Association of Harvard Asian and Asian American Faculty and Staff
ASPIRE Los Angeles
Berkeley Cambodian Student Association
CAAAV Organizing Asian Communities
California Faculty Association – Asian Pacific Islander Caucus
Center for APA Women
Center for Asian American Media
Center for Asian American Studies, University of Massachusetts, Lowell
Center for Asian American Studies, University of Texas at Austin
Center for Pan Asian Community Services (CPACS)
Chinese for Affirmative Action
Chinese Progressive Association
Chinese Students and Scholars Association
Coalition for a Better Chinese American Community
Council for Native Hawaiian Advancement
CRAASH: Coalition for the Revitalization of Asian American Studies at Hunter College
DRUM – Desis Rising Up & Moving
East Coast Asian American Student Union (ECAASU)
Eclipse Rising
Empowering Pacific Islander Communities
Ethnic Studies, University of California, San Diego
Filipino Advocates for Justice
Filipino Cultural Association, University of Maryland College Park
Filipino Student Association, Baylor University
Food Chain Workers Alliance
Fresno Interdenominational Refugee Ministries
GABRIELA Los Angeles
Gay Asian Pacific Islander Men of New York (GAPIMNY)
Harvey Mudd College Office of Institutional Diversity
Hmong Innovating Politics
Hmong National Development
INHERITANCE magazine
Japanese American Citizens League – National
Japanese American Citizens League, Hollywood Chapter
Japanese American Citizens League, San Francisco Chapter
K-12 News Network
K.W. Lee Center for Leadership
KAYA: Filipino Americans for Progress
Khmer Girls in Action
Kimchi Mamas
KmB, Pro-People Youth
KIWA (Koreatown Immigrant Workers Alliance)
Korean Resource Center
Korean Students Association, Baylor University
Lao Association of Connecticut, Inc.
Laotian American National Alliance
Leadership Education for Asian Pacifics, Inc. (LEAP)
Little Tokyo Service Center
Marshallese Educational Initiative
Midwest Asian American Student Union
Minority Inclusion Project Inc.
NANAY, Inc.
National Asian American Pacific Islander Mental Health Association
National Asian Pacific American Bar Association (NAPABA)
National Asian Pacific American Families Against Substance Abuse (NAPAFASA)
National Asian Pacific American Women’s Forum
National Coalition for Asian Pacific American Community Development
National Council of Asian Pacific Americans (NCAPA)
National Council of Asian Pacific Islander Physicians
National Federation of Filipino American Associations (NaFFAA)
National Korean American Service and Education Consortium (NAKASEC )
National Queer Asian Pacific Islander Alliance (NQAPIA)
National Tongan American Society
Native Hawaiian & Pacific Islander Alliance
Native Hawaiian Education Council
Nikkei for Civil Rights & Redress (NCRR)
OCA – Greater Los Angeles
OCA – Greater Seattle
OCA – Sacramento
OCA – Asian Pacific American Advocates
Pacific Islander Health Partnership
Papa Ola Lokahi
Philadelphia South Asian Collective
Pilipino Workers Center
Political Latinxs United for Movement and Action in Society
Providence Youth Student Movement
Real Tree Inc
Research on the Education of Asian Pacific Americans (REAPA) of the American Education Research Association
Research. Educate. Aspire. Change. History (REACH)
SEIU-UHW
South Asian American Policy & Research Institute (SAAPRI)
South Asian Americans Leading Together (SAALT)
South Asian Network
Southeast Asian Education Coalition
Southeast Asia Resource Action Center (SEARAC)
Southeast Asian Coalition (SEAC)
Southeast Asian Community Alliance
Southeast Asian Student Coalition, UC Berkeley
Taiwanese American Citizens League
Taulama for Tongans
Teach For America
Thai American Bar Association
Thai Community Development Center
The Asian American Literary Review
The Cambodian Society of RI
Tuesday Night Project
UCLA Center for EthnoCommunications
Unhyphenate.Me
United States Palestinian Community Network (USPCN)
VietLEAD
Vietnamese Students Association, Baylor University
Visual Communications

Supporters list updated as of May 26, 2016, 6:00 p.m. PT

READ THE LETTER BELOW AND SIGN TODAY!

AANHPI OPEN LETTER RE AFFIRMATIVE ACTION
MAY 22, 2016

We stand together as organizations across the United States representing Asian Americans, Native Hawaiians and Pacific Islanders, in strong support of race sensitive affirmative action policies in higher education.

We believe that equal opportunity is a cherished principle in American society that must be protected, and that our universities should reflect our diverse democracy and expand opportunities for students who have overcome significant barriers. Rather than letting ourselves be divided, we must come together to ensure increased opportunities and success for all students in our nation.

Affirmative action is a holistic approach that promotes diverse educational learning environments essential in our multiracial society. Affirmative action should be firmly upheld in our nation’s institutions of learning, including in Ivy League universities such as Brown, Dartmouth, and Yale.

Affirmative action does not constitute quotas

Unfortunately, there continue to be attempts by some to engage in divisive wedge politics by using misguided, misleading tactics to attack equal opportunity by calling for an end to race sensitive admissions policies at educational institutions such as Brown, Dartmouth, and Yale, as well as Harvard University and University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. Opponents of affirmative action have wrongfully and disingenuously equated affirmative action with quotas.
The truth is that affirmative action does not constitute quotas.

Affirmative action does not exclude or limit the admission of students from any specific racial or ethnic background. Indeed, the United States Supreme Court long ago prohibited quotas in the higher education admissions process, including banning limits on the admission or enrollment of any racial or ethnic group.

To be clear, we oppose quotas, discrimination, and bias against any racial or ethnic group.

Affirmative action promotes equal opportunity for all

We support affirmative action which, as noted above, does not constitute quotas, discrimination, or bias against Asian Americans.

Currently, affirmative action at universities consists of race sensitive holistic admissions policies. These policies promote equal opportunity in a society where racism still exists and racial barriers continue to unfairly limit educational opportunities for students of color. For example, our schools are more segregated today than they were in the late 1960s. Students of color, particularly African Americans, Latinos, Native Americans, Pacific Islanders, and Southeast Asians, are much more likely to attend under-resourced K-12 schools. Implicit bias and stereotyping also further impact and harm the educational learning environments and opportunities of students of color. Universities should consider these factors when reviewing applications for admissions.

All students – including Asian Americans – benefit from the racially and ethnically diverse learning environments fostered by race sensitive holistic admissions processes, including the benefits of increased cross-racial understanding, reduction of stereotyping and isolation of minority students, and training for a diverse workforce and society.

Affirmative action simply takes into account whether an applicant has overcome significant obstacles and institutional barriers, such as racial and ethnic discrimination

Affirmative action simply takes into account whether an applicant has overcome racial and ethnic adversity as one of several factors in a holistic review of an applicant’s qualifications, leadership, and potential. Holistic admissions processes also consider, for example, whether an applicant has endured poverty or is the first in her family to attend college.

Moreover, in the context of college admissions, “merit” cannot be quantified by grade point average, SAT scores, or number of activities alone. Instead, life experiences such as overcoming racial and ethnic adversity are critical factors in a student’s leadership and potential contribution to the university and to our society. In addition, numbers, like grade point averages and standardized test scores, are not colorblind and often reflect and magnify K-12 educational inequities.

Equal opportunity strengthens our democracy

Affirmative action policies help to level the playing field and promote diverse university learning environments that are essential in our multiracial and multicultural society. Our democracy benefits from a diverse and educated populace and workforce.

Those who are truly committed to equal educational opportunity should demonstrate real leadership and reinvest in higher education throughout the nation to expand access, affordability, equity, and student success. Decades of disinvestment in higher education across the country have made college less accessible for all students, especially students of color. We call for unity in standing up for the future of our diverse youth and realizing the promise of equal opportunity for all in the United States.

We also call upon our leaders in higher education institutions to uphold race sensitive affirmative action policies in their admissions processes. Especially at this pivotal time of national discourse about the need to fulfill the promise of our democratic ideals for communities of color, it is imperative that universities carry out their important role of advancing inclusion, equity, and educational opportunities for all students in our multiracial democracy.

SIGN TODAY!