Thursday, April 16, 2009

Help Save the D.C. Office of Asian and Pacific Islander (API) Affairs!

Help save DC's Office of Asian and Pacific Islander Affairs by signing the petition here:

FYI - ipetitions will ask you for a donation to their website. This does not go toward the cause and you do NOT have to donate. It's free to sign the petition.

You can also join the facebook group here:

Thank you for your help!

Help Save the D.C. Office of Asian and Pacific Islander (API) Affairs!

In Mayor Fenty’s 2010 budget proposal, the Office of Asian Pacific Islander Affairs (OAPIA) will be completely eliminated and the budget zeroed out. The Office's services will be absorbed within the Office of Community Affairs and 60% of the current OAPIA staff will be cut. The proposed elimination of the OAPIA is not just a problem for the vulnerable members in the community who benefit from the Office’s services. It undermines the District government’s responsibility to provide adequate support and services to all residents of the District.

The office has been in existence for over 20 years, and now currently serves over 22,000 API residents in the District. This office was implemented due to the diverse needs of the DC API community over the past two decades. The Office was established by the DC government in 1987 to provide critical services for the growing API community in the District, such as providing language access and translation/interpretation services for District residents to reforming government procedures and policies that hinder access to District programs and services.

The Office also provides support for over 2000 small business owned by API's, which is estimated to be 1/3 of all small businesses in the District. These businesses continue to bring in millions of dollars in tax revenue, and are employing hundreds of people in the District. The Office provides services that assist these businesses with technical and data support that facilitate their work.

For the District to continue to effectively respond to API needs and provide the community with equal access to District services, OAPIA must continue to:

- Have an independent budget to meet the needs and issues affecting of the API community.
- Be a Cabinet-level position to inform and advise the Mayor on the needs and issues affecting the API community.

Please help prevent the unraveling of the gains the District government has been able to make in the nation's Capitol on behalf of API’s. Contact your DC City Councilmember and let them know we must keep the Office in tact and maintain the services and programs they provide!

For more information, please contact

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