Big Huge Note: This reflects my personal opinion and not necessarily that of the CT Asian Pacific American Commission, of which I am the Chair. God forbid any state employee or member of a state commission advocates for human rights!!
PS- The Hartford Courant’s editorial opinion is one of the major reasons we need an APA Commission. Their insensitivity to the needs of our community is appalling. I fought for years to get the Courant to stop using the word “chink” in their paper, as in “a chink in the armor. ” Their reply to me was that THEY didn’t have a problem with it.
I am appalled, angered, and frustrated that Asian Pacific Americans are still marginalized.
Are we not worth the few pennies per CT Asian American that the Asian Pacific American Affairs Commission costs?
We build multi-million dollar football stadiums and plan million-dollar bus-ways but the Editorial Board of the Hartford Courant thinks that the human rights of the fastest growing ethnic minority group in Connecticut is an extravagance?
Where were they when we struggled for years with volunteers doing the work? Who watched our backs when the Commission did not exist?
According to the US Dept of Education Asian American students are the most bullied in high schools. The highest suicide rate in the country is among Asian American girls age 15-24. Racial profiling is a fact of life for many of our Sikh and Muslim friends.
Yet, the Courant complains about a salary that is similar to that paid to any school principal in Connecticut.
If we remain silent, we lose all right to complain.
If we do nothing, we deserve all the pain that gets thrown at us.
Please get your associations and communities to write letters to the Courant at http://www.courant.com/news/opinion/letters/
On this Martin Luther King weekend, please remember Dr. King’s words:
Our lives begin to end the day we become silent about things that matter.
Martin Luther King Jr. ——————————
Costly State Agency Unneeded
Asian Affairs: Surely one powerful agency can protect minorities better than half a dozen weak ones
January 13, 2012
After years of delays, the state’s Asian Pacific American Affairs Commission has hired its first executive director — family and marriage therapist Mui Mui Hin-McCormick of Thomaston. She takes the post in February at a salary of $99,621.
This is good news for the commission, but Connecticut taxpayers may be asking themselves why, in financially strapped times, this group exists with such a price tag attached.
Years of lobbying by various Asian American groups finally led to the advocacy agency’s being established by the General Assembly in 2008. But with the state entering a recession, it quickly became a commission in name only, with no director, no office, minimal funding, no clear agenda — and no clear reason for its existence. Its only paid employee, a legislative analyst, has since left the post.
Now the commission has been given a new lease on life. Republican leaders, who had blocked hiring a director, finally went along with Democrats in giving their OK this month to the move.
In addition to Asian Pacific American affairs, there are commissions on the status of women, African American affairs, Latino and Puerto Rican affairs, the elderly and others. A year ago, a state senator proposed establishing a Bosnian affairs commission. All of them have at least the potential to do valuable work.
But why must they be separate entities, each with its own staff? The agendas of these groups largely have to do with protecting human rights, and Connecticut already has a fully functional Commission on Human Rights and Opportunities.
For efficiency and cost savings, these separate commissions should be brought under the CHRO. Its mission is “to eliminate discrimination through civil and human rights law enforcement and to establish equal opportunity and justice for all,” and surely one well-established, powerful agency can do that more effectively than half a dozen weak ones.
The reason this hasn’t happened already is that special-interest groups can exert powerful pressure on politicians, especially if their agendas involve race, ethnicity, gender or age. It’s likely the case that lawmakers would rather throw each commission a $100,000 bone than have to deal with the political fallout from saying no.
But with Connecticut’s fiscal crisis far from over, there ought to be pressure from fed-up taxpayers as well. The job that these groups do can be better accomplished, and at lower cost, by combining their work.