Honolulu City Council Passes Resolution to Improve Race Data Collection

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Honolulu City Council on Wednesday approved a resolution urging city and state agencies to disaggregate racial and ethnic data beyond the federal minimum level.

Honolulu City Councilor Esther Kia’aina moved the measure forward with the ultimate goal of accurately disaggregating data from people from Asian and Pacific islands to Hawaii.

“We simply recommend that all county and state agencies disaggregate racial and ethnic data relating to Asian and Pacific Islanders so that we can enforce civil rights laws to monitor equal access to justice. health, housing, education and other areas, ”Kia’aina said. “And enable the creation of policies to address the underlying disparities in these areas.” “

City Council Resolution 21-100 calls on agencies to work with Indigenous Hawaiians and other organizations in the Pacific Islands to improve their data collection and submit a report by next year.

The resolution, which is not binding, would break up the first five groups, including the Filipinos, the Japanese, the Chinese, the Kosraeans and the Vietnamese for the Asian category.

For the category of Native Hawaiians in the Pacific Islands, the resolution would call for the Native Hawaiians, Samoans, Micronesians, Tongans and Chamorros to also be disaggregated.

“Marshallese would normally be in the top five,” Kia’aina said. “The reason we use the Micronesian term is that it will separate the collections of their data from all other communities. “

Micronesian communities are made up of Chuukese, Palauan, Korean, Pohnpeian, Yapese, Marshallese and Micronesians from Kiribati and the Republic of Nauru.

According to the U.S. Census, nearly half of Hawaii’s population identifies as Asian, Native Hawaiian, or Pacific Islander.

Honolulu City Councilor Andria Tupola, who supports the resolution, said she recently spoke with the Honolulu Police Department about a possible language unit.

“Knowing which representations of ethnic groups really need support and where we can best support them in particular is of great interest to me, and I think that would do a better service to the communities we represent,” said Tupola.

Honolulu City Councilor Calvin Say has said he wants the resolution presented in 2019 before the release of 2020 U.S. Census data.

“It would have really helped the state of Hawaii in the federal funds that we were able to qualify for,” Say said. “At this point, realizing that the data is not available, it has been very difficult for the US Census Bureau to really do a comprehensive study for the people of Hawaii.”


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