Asian Pacific Fund Advocates for Landmark Language Access Bill in California

Sacramento, CA – Asian Pacific Fund (APF) President and Executive Director Carolyn Wang Kong joined the California Asian American and Native Hawaiian Pacific Islander (AANHPI) Health Equity Coalition, comprised of over 50 community-based organizations, to advocate for a landmark bill on Language Access.

In April, AANHPI Health Equity Coalition members met with state legislators to raise awareness about the importance of the bill and its positive community impact if approved. The bill was subsequently passed by the California State Senate Human Services Committee. APF was also in attendance to support the bill when it was presented to the California State Senate Health Committee in May, where it passed unanimously with a vote of 15-0.

APF nonprofit affiliates such as Asian Health Services, the Korean Community Center of the East Bay (KCCEB), RAMS, Inc., and the Regional Pacific Islander Task Force were also present to support the bill. These organizations and many others like them play an essential role in pushing for this legislation, leveraging their advocacy efforts, and actively engaging the community to provide the necessary support in multiple languages.

Sponsored by Senator Dave Min, the bill aims to establish an Office of Language Access within the California Health & Human Services Agency. This office will provide oversight, accountability, and coordination across CalHHS departments and offices to ensure individuals with limited English proficiency have meaningful and life-saving access to its programs and services.

While the bill still has to undergo a lengthy review and approval process before it can be enacted, the efforts of Senator Min and the AANHPI Health Equity Coalition represent a crucial step forward. This initiative aims to ensure that individuals across California who need language access support can receive the appropriate healthcare services they require. With nearly 17 percent of California’s population and 33 percent of the Bay Area’s population identifying as AANHPI, it is crucial for our community to be actively involved in the conversations to find solutions for both AANHPI-specific and broader Bay Area issues.

APF is a proud member of the AANHPI Health Equity Coalition, which was founded in 2022. The coalition advocates for a three-year statewide policy and research agenda focused on three key areas impacting AANHPIs: Data Disaggregation, Language Access, and Mental Health.