N.Y. State governor signs legislation on collecting demographic data of ethnic groups

Gov. Kathy Hochul: ‘Racism is a public health crisis.’

Governor Kathy Hochul has signed a package of legislation aimed at addressing discrimination and racial injustice.

At least two measures are of particular interest to the Asian American community: Legislation S.2987-A/A.5679 which declares racism a public health crisis; and Legislation S.6639-A/A.6896-A which requires the collection of certain demographic data by certain state agencies, boards, departments, and commissions.

“For far too long, communities of color in New York have been held back by systemic racism and inequitable treatment,” Hochul said in a statement. “I am proud to sign legislation that addresses this crisis head-on, addressing racism, expanding equity and improving access for all.”

Senator Brad Hoylman stressed the importance of collecting demographic data on hate crimes. He said the measure will help authorities “understand the root causes of these pernicious acts and take steps to head them off, which is especially true since there’s recently been a dramatic increase in hate crimes in New York,”

This view was echoed by Assemblymember Karines Reyes. He said, “The Hate Crimes Analysis and Review Act ensures that we collect accurate demographic data of perpetrators and victims to better protect the communities being targeted. Without data, the plight of many will remain invisible.”

Assemblymember Yuh-Line Niou thanked Hochul for signing this legislation which she sponsored so that New York’s Asian Americans are “fully seen and represented in the state’s decision making.”

She said, “We cannot begin to address the challenges in our AAPI communities until we recognize the diversity within the AAPI community itself. While some AAPI communities share traditions or connections based on history or location, the majority of Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders are members of distinct ethnic groups who have their own culture, languages, and needs. This law will allow our state to collect crucial data and information for each community, in order to help address the unique problems each community faces and better serve our AAPI New Yorkers statewide.”

Senator Julia Salazar also commented, “As New York continues to face the devastation caused by the COVID-19 public health crisis, it is essential that the needs of all of our communities be understood and met. For the diverse Asian-American and Pacific Islander communities in New York this cannot be accomplished without detailed data that recognizes and respects the experiences of the numerous groups that make up the AAPI communities. This law takes a bold step towards making that possible.”

Asian American organizations have long advocated for “data disaggregation” because they believe the community represents diverse Asian groups with specific concerns that need to be addressed.



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