Korematsu Center helps produce report on Asian American and Pacific Islander communities

(May 5, 2010) Seattle University School of Law's Fred T. Korematsu Center for Law & Equality worked with the Washington State Commission on Asian Pacific American Affairs (CAPAA) to produce "The State of Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders in Washington."  This comprehensive report examined the history of Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders in Washington, healthcare and human services, the criminal justice system, economic opportunities, housing, immigration, and political participation. 

"The current contributions, needs and challenges highlighted in this report indicate the significant role Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders play in the future of Washington," said CAPAA Executive Director Kendee Yamaguchi, a 2006 graduate of Seattle University School of Law. 

Professor Robert Chang, director of the Korematsu Center, said, "Collaborating on the report was an ideal project for the center, which strives to advance justice through knowledge and advocacy." 

Highlights include: 

  • Asian American and Pacific Islanders make up 8.5 percent of Washington's population and comprise one of the largest racial minority groups, representing more than 47 distinct populations.
  • Pacific Islanders had one of the highest annual high school dropout rates (7.2 percent), and more than 40 percent of Asian American high school students are at risk of academic failure in math.
  • Cancer is the leading cause of death among the AAPI community, and there are higher incidence and death rates for lung, breast, cervical, liver and stomach cancer than other populations.
  • Washington is among the ten states with the most AAPI-owned small businesses, with receipts of over $6.2 billion, and on average, for every dollar that a non-minority owned business earns, an Asian-owned business earns between 56 to 59 cents.
  • AAPI borrowers in Washington were significantly more likely to receive high-cost home loans than non-Hispanic white borrowers. 

"Information is crucial to the delivery of governmental services," said Elizabeth Lee, an attorney at Perkins Coie and former legislative fellow and field representative in the Office of Congressman Michael M. Honda.  Ms. Lee, who took a lead role in the project, added, "This report will help make sure that key decision-makers are aware of the issues and needs of the Asian American and Pacific Islander community." 

Staff and volunteers from the Korematsu Center for Law & Equality contributed more than 300 hours of time developing the report.  

For more information, contact Professor Robert S. Chang at 206.398.4025 or changro@seattleu.edu 

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