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NY Gov Signs Bill That Changes How the Asian American Population is Counted

Last week, New York state Governor Kathy Hochul signed a bill that will require state agencies to break down data for Asian American Pacific Islanders into specific ethnic groups, NBC News reports.

The bill was sponsored by New York State assembly member Yuh-Line Niou. It was initially vetoed by former Governor Anthony Cuomo when he was in office. Cuomo believed funds to support the new policy would be insufficient.

Niou praised Hochul’s decision to sign the bill.

“I thank Governor Hochul for signing this legislation and helping ensure New York’s Asian-Americans are fully seen and represented in our state’s decision making,” Niou said, according to a press release. “We cannot begin to address the challenges in our AAPI communities until we recognize the diversity within the AAPI community itself. While some AAPI communities share traditions or connections based on history or location, the majority of Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders are members of distinct ethnic groups who have their own culture, languages, and needs.

“This law will allow our state to collect crucial data and information for each community, in order to help address the unique problems each community faces and better serve our AAPI New Yorkers statewide.”

The bill will help agencies better tackle specific problems AAPI New Yorkers face.

Anita Gundanna, co-executive director of the Coalition for Asian American Children and Families, gave an example to NBC News. She pointed out that many Indo-Caribbeans and Bangladeshis in New York City suffered during the deadly flooding in September. They were already facing hardships as a result of the pandemic.

Gundanna told NBC News that part of the problem is those groups tend to be unseen in the first place. The new law will help ensure those groups are seen.

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