Posts tagged people of color
HIP Urges Supreme Court to Uphold Affirmative Action

Earlier this week, Hmong Innovating Politics joined with over 160 Asian American and Pacific Islander groups in filing an Amicus Brief to the Supreme Court in support of the University of Texas' race-conscious admissions policy (Fisher vs. University of Texas II). In the Amicus Brief, advocates argue that institutions of higher education cannot evaluate applicants holistically without consideration of race. HIP has consistently held that race-blind or race-ignorant policies ignore the unique barriers and challenges applicants have had to overcome in order to obtain access to higher education. Moreover, race-ignorant policies mask the significant disparities that exist within the Asian American and Pacific Islander community. For example, in Sacramento County, only 16.4% of the Hmong community has a Bachelors Degree or higher, compared to 28% of the total population and 30% of Whites. (Source: United States Census Bureau. 2011-2013 American Community Survey 3-Year Estimates)

Here in California, race-ignorant policies like Proposition 209 are correlated with significant drops in admissions of students of color and the stagnation of educational attainment rates for historically undeserved populations. By ruling against the University of Texas's affirmative action policy, the Supreme Court would prohibit the use of ethnicity, effectively masking the Southeast Asian American community's immense diversity and significant educational disparities. 

For more coverage on Fisher v. University of Texas II, check out these links:

We believe that acknowledging and reducing educational disparities created by institutional and historical racism is essential for communities to truly thrive in a socially
and economically just democracy.
— HIP's Amici Curiae Statement on Fisher v. UT
Ethnic Studies Helped Me Tap Into My Full Potential
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On Thursday, C.K. McClathchy High School and UC Berkeley alumni Pachia Vang returned home to share her story about impact ethnic studies had on her life. Here is her touching testimony that she shared with the SCUSD Board of Education.


 

Dear Superintendent and Members of the Sacramento City Unified School District,

I wanted to talk to you about adopting ethnic studies as a high school graduation requirement. In high school, I was a part of the HISP program at C.K. McClathchy High School. HISP stands for the Humanities and International Studies Program – which means that everything we learned, we learned from an international and human-centric perspective.

quote1I know HISP isn’t exactly the same thing as Ethnic Studies but being able to learn about history from a non-Western perspective as a woman of color at a young age was empowering because I was able to identify with something in the classroom for the first time. I consider myself lucky to have been able to be a part of HISP because it has given me the courage to look for and grasp onto opportunities in life that I never thought was possible. Last year, I graduated with honors from UC Berkeley and since have been able to work alongside amazing individuals within local government, agencies, different non-profits, and community organizations really giving back to where I come from.

Out of my entire family, I am the only person who has had the opportunity to be a part of HISP. I should feel grateful about what I've accomplished thus far but I feel sad because my brothers and sisters have not had the same opportunity. That’s something that I struggle with everyday trying to get them to believe in themselves and recognize their potential – because we come from communities where children aren’t encouraged to do more. People aren’t encouraged to do more. Why?

These things aren’t easy to change but I think it’s the responsibility of schools to provide an environment for our kids to understand why. To understand where they come from so that they can understand who they are, what they can do for themselves and what they can do in this world. Introducing ethnic studies as a high school requirement is one of the first steps we can take in this direction so I hope that you really do consider this not just as a resolution but as a plan to be implemented.