A vision for our world.

Honing in on the policies and programs that shape our lives.


Building a bridge from community values to state policy.

APIC’s policy platform reenvisions the world as Asians and Pacific Islanders need and deserve it to be, and focuses on how Washington state can support that vision through robust, equitable, and impactful policies.

Our policy and advocacy work aims to connect the values we have seen, heard, and felt in our community to a larger political system that represents and serves us. At the core of our work is the belief that we are the experts of our own lives, and that the people most impacted must always be centered in the solutions.

Gender Equity and LGBTQ Rights

In order for A&PI women, girls, and LGBTQ+ individuals to be able to live lives with dignity and autonomy, we need the resources, programs, and policies that allow us to choose if and when to have children, to live in our identities authentically and unapologetically, and to thrive in communities free from oppression and racism.
Why is this important?
  • Of the 163 million women in the U.S., 10.7 million (6.5 percent) are A&PI, and over 50 percent of all A&PI women are of reproductive age. A study found that 6 percent of women obtaining abortions identified as A&PI.
    Intimate partner violence cuts across racial lines. Nationally, 21–55% of Asian women in the U.S. report experiencing intimate physical and/or sexual violence during their lifetime, based on a compilation of disagregated samples of Asian ethnicities in local communities.
  • Pay inequities exist for A&PI women. Overall, A&PI women earn 90 cents per dollar. However, data disaggregation reflects deeper wage disparities: Nepalese, Burmese, Fijian, and Cambodian women are typically paid less than 60 percent—50 percent, 52 percent, 55 percent, and 57 percent respectively—of what white, non-Hispanic men are typically paid. And Indonesian, Tongan, Vietnamese, Thai, Laotian, Guamanian/Chamorro, Hawaiian, Samoan, Hmong, and Bangladeshi women all are typically paid less than 80 cents for every dollar typically paid to white, nonHispanic men.
  • Access to paid leave for A&PI women is also limited: Women of color are less likely to have access to any form of paid leave, although the differences vary—44 percent of Latinas, 40 percent of Asian women, 37 percent of African American women, and 36 percent of white women do not have access to paid leave.
  • Many community members live at the intersections of being A&PI women and LGBTQ+ and experience oppressive policies in multiple ways.
To that end, APIC supports the following policy recommendations:
  • Approve Referendum 90: Referendum 90 will ensure that public schools provide inclusive, age and culturally appropriate comprehensive sexual health and affirmative consent education for all students. Comprehensive sex education has been linked to reducing sexual violence, unintended pregnancies, and sexually transmitted infections (STIs).
  • Support access to the full range of reproductive health care, including contraceptive and abortion care: We need policies at the legislative and administrative levels that ensure that all individuals, including undocumented immigrants, have access to reproductive health care coverage.
  • Advance trans equality in healthcare: Our state legislators must ensure that Washington Apple Health covers gender-affirming interventions and medically necessary surgeries.
  • Bolster access to services and support for LEP survivors of violence and sexual assault: A reallocation of local/state law enforcement funding to community-led initiatives and programming would create more robust and necessary support for LEP survivors who are distrusting of law enforcement.

Environmental Justice

In order for A&PIs in Washington State to live in healthy and thriving communities, we need policies that prepare for and mitigate the impacts of climate change, address environmental racism, honor indigenous communities and traditional ecological knowledge, and shape and sustain a healthy environment with clean air, drinkable water, and access to renewable energy.
Why is this important?
  • Environmental justice is a critical priority for A&PI communities because of how climate change and pollution affect our communities both in the U.S. and in the countries our families come from.
  • Historically, due to redlining policies, A&PI community members have only been allowed to live in areas with relatively poor air quality, higher levels of pollution, and less access to green spaces such as parks among other negative environmental indicators.
  • Many of the countries that A&PI communities come from are facing increasingly harsher climates and more intense climate events such as droughts and hurricanes.
To that end, APIC supports the following policy recommendations:
  • Seek input from Environmental Justice Task Force: The state legislature should follow the lead of the Environmental Justice Task Force and disproportionately impacted communities when formulating all environmental/climate policy.
  • Lead with racial equity: State government should utilize the Environmental Health Disparity Map or equivalent analysis which includes racial/ethnic disparity data to guide equitable distribution of funds to mitigate harm caused by pollution and climate change.


For young A&PIs in Washington State to achieve their full potential, we need a public education system that advances equitable, culturally responsive, and anti-racist curriculum and policies that ensure every child has the support they need in the classroom and community to thrive in school and beyond.
Why is it important?
  • Washington state has 1.15 million K-12 public schools students. Asians are 8% and Native Hawaiian and Pacific Islanders are 1.2% of the student population.
  • While there is a persistent myth that A&PIs do not struggle with educational achievement, disaggregated data reveals a wide range of Asian and NHPI educational attainment levels due to structural opportunity gaps.
  • Many A&PI immigrants require adequate support and quality education for English language learners.
  • Asian and NHPI students often do not see themselves reflected in the education system, such as the educator workforce, curriculum, and family-school partnerships.
  • School discipline policies such as suspension and expulsion disproportionately punish students of color and have been cited as one of the primary factors in high dropout rates. Inequitable disciplinary policies have created the school to prison pipeline and perpetuated the opportunity gap.
To that end, APIC supports the following policy recommendations:
  • Approve Referendum 90: Referendum 90 ensures that public schools provide inclusive, age and culturally appropriate comprehensive sexual health and affirmative consent education for all students.
  • Restore Affirmative Action: Repealing Initiative 200 will restore affirmative action in higher education admissions, employment, and contract to ensure equitable opportunities for Washingtonians regardless of race or gender.
  • Fund English Language Learner (ELL) programs: Washington state ranks in the top ten for number of English Language Learners. This number continues to increase, and includes large numbers of students with A&PI backgrounds. ELL students’ learning has been disrupted due to school closures, and the Washington state legislature must work to ensure that quality of education is not impacted by language ability.
  • Support universal early childhood education: All children in Washington including A&PIs deserve the best chance to succeed in life, and evidence shows that high-quality early learning lays a critical foundation for learning vital social, emotional, and cognitive skills. Currently, more than half of Washington state’s children enter kindergarten without opportunities for early learning to gain these essential skills, and our state legislature must address this issue.
  • Implement student discipline reform: Washington state should implement statewide changes that mirror the recent decision by Seattle Public Schools to end their relationship with the Seattle Police Department, removing armed police officers from public schools.

Voting and Electoral Justice

In order to have an informed A&PI electorate that is able to fully participate in the political process, we need linguistically, culturally, and geographically accessible voting processes, fair and transparent elections, and a democracy that respects and values the voice of all people.
Why is this important?
  • There are over 470,000 eligible A&PI voters in Washington State. Of eligible A&PI voters in the state, 26% are youth (18-29) and 36% are over the age of 50.
  • 73% of Asians in Washington speak a language other than English at home, and of those, more than 44% speak English less than “very well,” making language accessibility in voting processes especially important.
  • Turnout is 9% lower for Limited-English Proficient (LEP) than non-LEP registered voters, and 63% say that Asian language support at polling places would be useful.
  • When census data shows more than 10,000 people or 5% of the voting-age population have limited English proficiency in a defined area, the Voting Rights Act requires ballots to be translated to accommodate voters. However, A&PIs are the least likely demographic to fill out the census due to language barriers and lack of information
  • In the 2018 Asian American Voter Survey, 50% of Asians received no contact or were unsure if they received contact about the election from the Democratic party and 60% reported the same from the GOP.
To that end, APIC supports the following policy recommendations:
  • Enforce the Washington Voting Rights Act: Ensuring that state and local governments are abiding by this law and taking action when provisions are violated, will protect the integrity of our local democracy.
  • Provide language translations for ballots, voting & voter registration materials: Increasing civic participation and voting accessibility is contingent on local governments providing voting resources in a wide variety of languages.
  • End disenfranchisement for incarcerated individuals: Currently, incarcerated individuals and formerly incarcerated individuals with outstanding legal/financial obligations are not legally allowed to vote in Washington State. Removing these restrictions would create a more racially equitable democracy where all voices are valued.
  • Ensure fair redistricting to better represent A&PI communities: We need a representative Redistricting Commission that has Black, Indigenous, and People of Color members that seek and value community input in order to draw legislative and congressional districts that are fair and equitable.

Criminal Justice Reform

In order for A&PIs in Washington State to live in safe and supportive environments where they are seen in their full humanity, feel supported by their community, and live free from police violence and incarceration, we need to transform the punitive and racist nature of our criminal legal system to policies and programs that enable accountability, restoration, healing, and harm-reduction.
Why is this important?
  • The model minority myth creates an inaccurate representation of the issues impacting A&PIs and the broad categorization of us as a singular racial group often erases the stark disparities between ethnic groups. This includes how A&PIs are impacted by the criminal legal system.
  • Pacific Islander students are disproportionately disciplined in schools compared to white students. Because of the link between discipline and the increased likelihood of being incarcerated, Pacific Islander students are at a higher risk of being harmed by the criminal legal system.
  • Rates of incarceration for Pacific Islanders have increased 144% between 2002 and 2010.
    Southeast Asian refugees are also disproportionately targeted for the school to jail to deportation pipeline, hurting countless families in our communities who escaped political violence.
  • While police violence disproportionately targets Black communities, A&PI communities are still impacted. The police shootings of Tommy Le, Iosia Faletogo, Jessey Sarey, Isaiah Obet, and Enosa Strickland Jr. tragically evidence how police violence is pervasive and widespread in A&PI communities as well.
To that end, APIC supports the following policy recommendations:
  • Pass the Treatment and Recovery Act: This legislation would invest in public-health based approaches to substance use disorders by increasing state funding for treatment and recovery programs, reclassifying drug offenses from criminal charges to civil infractions where people can get the treatment they need, and increasing public health education around substance use.
  • Reduce the funding and power of local police departments: Police departments in cities across Washington State have inflated budgets, while social services and programs are struggling for dollars. Reducing police budgets and reallocating funds to housing, health, and human services programs will help minimize police and community violence and invest in community safety.
  • Invest in diversion programs: State and local governments should increasingly look at options that divert people away from incarceration and the school-to-prison pipeline and instead rely on programs that equip people with the tools, resources, and support they need.
  • Improve the pardon system: Reviewing, expanding, and improving Washington State’s pardon system, will allow more detained and incarcerated individuals to be reunited with their families and communities.

Economic Justice

In order for A&PIs in Washington State to have the resources to support ourselves, our families, and our communities, we need an equitable and just economic system that works in service of all people.
Why is this important?
  • About 60,707 Asians in Washington (10%) live in poverty, and about 7,951 NHPIs in Washington (17%) live in poverty.
  • Washington State has the most regressive tax code in the country. Working and middle class families pay a much greater share of their income in taxes than those who are wealthy. This disadvantages low-income and working class people of color.
  • About 19% of Asians and 23% of NHPI are in Washington State’s poorest 20%, who pay the largest tax rate of all Washingtonians. The poorest A&PI Washingtonians pay 17% of their income in taxes, while the wealthiest pay around 3%.
  • About 40% of Asians and 67% of NHPI in Washington State are renters.
To that end, APIC supports the following policy recommendations:
  • Expand and modernize the Working Family Tax Credit (WFTC): Enacting WFTC as a well-funded state version of the Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) that expands eligibility to immigrant workers, family care providers, younger workers, and students would help address the vast wealth gap between white families and families of color.
  • Reform our inequitable tax code: By enacting taxes on concentrated sources of wealth such as capital gains for estates and mansions, we can be less reliant on a regressive sales tax and generate revenue for public programs and policies that benefit all working families.
  • Ensure rent relief and eviction protections for all: The Washington State Legislature should ensure that Washingtonians struggling to pay rent during public health and economic crises are not unfairly burdened by accumulating rent payments and the threat of eviction, and access to relief should not be impacted by individual Washingtonian’s immigration status or language ability.


In order for A&PIs in Washington State to live healthy lives, we need access to a full range of affordable and quality healthcare services regardless of race, ability, income, age, immigration status, or English proficiency.
Why is this important?
  • Individuals in Washington who primarily speak a language other than English are less likely to have health insurance, see a health provider regularly, or follow instructions for medical care. 73% of Asians in Washington speak a language other than English at home.
  • In 2017, 7.3 percent of Asians and 8.3 percent of Native Hawaiians and Pacific Islanders were uninsured compared with 5.9 percent of non-Hispanic whites.
  • A&PIs face stark health disparities. In 2017, tuberculosis was 35 times more common in Asians than among non-Hispanic whites. The incidence rate of tuberculosis for Native Hawaiians and Pacific Islanders is higher than in any other population. Asians are 40 percent more likely to be diagnosed with diabetes than non-Hispanic white Americans. They are also 80 percent more likely to be diagnosed with end-stage renal disease. In 2017, suicide was the leading cause of death for Asians ages 15 to 24.
To that end, APIC supports the following policy recommendations:
  • Provide healthcare access for all: Affordable and accessible health coverage, including behavioral health and longterm care, is integral to addressing health disparities and creating a healthy society.
  • Support community health and senior centers: Funding and support for our community health and senior centers address important gaps in our healthcare system. Community health centers provide LEP and low-income A&PIs with culturally responsive health services. Culturally responsive senior centers provide services to our elderly A&PIs who have unique needs that are often not met by other providers.
  • Ensure continued funding for healthcare and dental coverage for COFA communities: Through the COFA Islander Healthcare program, and the subsequent inclusion of dental coverage in this plan, Washington State has helped closed the gaps for COFA residents who are not eligible for Medicaid. We should continue to fund these programs and ensure that they provide a range of healthcare coverage in parity with Medicaid.

Immigration Justice

In order for A&PI immigrants in Washington State to live full, safe, and healthy lives, we need safe and supportive institutions and policies that serve all individuals regardless of immigration status.
Why is this important?
  • Because of the 1996 Welfare Reform Act, many immigrants are not eligible for safety net programs for the first five years of their residence, and fears over public charge have discouraged more immigrants from accessing services.
  • Of the over 800,000 A&PIs living in Washington state, around half are foreign-born. This includes around 60,000 undocumented A&PIs (there are around 1.7 million undocumented A&PIs nationwide).
  • 73% of Asians in Washington speak a language other than English at home, and of those, more than 44% speak English less than “very well.”
  • About 60,707 Asians in Washington (10%) live in poverty and about 7,951 NHPIs in Washington (17%) live in poverty, signifying the need for public assistance.
  • Contrary to mainstream narratives, there is a high level of socioeconomic, ethnic and linguistic/cultural diversity among A&PI groups. For example, the median income for Indian households is $115,105, whereas the median income for Hmong households is $53,717.
To that end, APIC supports the following policy recommendations:
  • Expand LEP Pathways: LEP funding promotes economic self-sufficiency for refugees and immigrants through job training programs, ESL classes, and work support which provides a solid base for job opportunities and naturalization. LEP also gives access to seniors seeking health and social services. LEP Pathways funding was cut after the 2008 recession and has not since been restored to the original amount.
  • Increase funding for Naturalization Services: Washington State’s naturalization program helps refugees and immigrants become citizens, through assistance with the citizenship application, English and civics classes, and interview preparation. Elderly and disabled refugees and immigrants are the primary recipients of the naturalization program.
  • Allocate funding to the Legal Defense Fund: Under the law, immigrants are not guaranteed access to a lawyer and often find themselves in immigration court without legal representation. This fund is necessary to provide immigrants with the proper resources and tools they need to stay in their community, regardless of whether they can afford an attorney.
  • Expand eligibility for unemployment benefits: When faced with looming economic crises, undocumented workers are just as deserving of access to unemployment insurance. Expanding unemployment benefits to all is necessary in supporting and uplifting immigrants.
  • Protect undocumented immigrants: With the passage of Keep Washington Working and Courts Open to All, our state government should continued to prioritize the safety of undocumented Washingtonians and minimize the power and actions of federal immigration enforcement agencies. This includes continuing to end any inappropriate collaboration between government agencies and immigration enforcement agencies, increasing the power and frequency of gubernatorial pardons, and ending for-profit detention centers.

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