The following Declaration was send to each presidential candidate requesting his/her written commitment should he/she be elected. Senator Bill Bradley was the first to commit. We have heard from two others but are not satisfied with the degree of their commitment. Our guess is that by January 2000, when candidates begin to seriously focus on the Calif. primary to be held in March, 2000, most will write to commit.
Declaration Concerning The 2000 Presidential Election
by The 80-20 Initiative
"With liberty and justice for all." Thus ends our pledge of allegiance to the flag with a ringing commitment to all citizens.
Unfortunately, liberty and justice remain an unrealized dream for Asian Americans. A low glass-ceiling hangs instead over our heads, denying us the opportunity to rise to the top of our professions, just as it hung over women and blacks until recently.
Statistical evidence, mostly gathered by government sponsored studies, shows a dismal picture: Asian Americans have only one- third the opportunity of all other Americans to "rise to the top," in the academic world, in corporations, or even in federal government.
To illustrate, Asian Americans represent 3.5% of the population of this nation. However, of the 875 active federal judges, only 7 are Asian Americans; of the 250 plus cabinet and sub-cabinet positions in President Clinton's Administration in 1998, only two were held by Asian Americans.
The situation is no better in universities, the so-called bastion of idealism in our society. University administrators are recruited almost exclusively from the ranks of faculty and professionals already employed in universities. Hence the ratio of [administrators / (faculty + professionals)], broken down to races, is a measure of the opportunity enjoyed by American citizens of different races. Nationwide, that ratio for blacks (non-Hispanic) is 0.21. That is, for every 100 black faculty and professionals there are 21 black administrators. The ratio for Native American is 0.20; for white (non-Hispanic) is 0.16; and for Hispanic is 0.15. However, it is only 0.06 for Asian American.
The picture that emerges from the supposedly "enlightened" academic world and federal government is one of inequality and injustice for Asian Americans. The situation in the corporate world is worse, much worse. All Asian American CEOs of Fortune 500 companies, with one recent exception, started the companies themselves.
Therefore, we, the Asian American citizens, declare that the time has come for all presidential candidates to commit themselves to the following to realize the ideal of equal opportunity for all Americans:
1. If elected, will direct his/her cabinet officers to work with Congress in holding public hearings regarding the validity of the huge amount of statistical data strongly suggesting discriminatory practices against Asian Americans in workplaces today,
2. If the data were shown valid, will issue a public statement to reaffirm your Administration's intention to vigorously prosecute all cases of racial discrimination against Asian Americans in the workplace,
3. If the data were shown valid, will work to induce the lifting of the glass-ceilings so that Asian Americans will be well on our way to equal opportunity to "rise to the top" within the first term, and
4. If elected, will give due recognition to the services and talents of Asian Americans by appointing qualified persons to policy-making positions in the Judicial and Executive branches of the federal government, possibly including a historic first cabinet position. The number of appointments will represent a significant improvement upon the current drastic under-utilization of Asian Americans.
Asian Americans have contributed with distinction to the well being of the nation. We work hard at our jobs, we help to run business, we serve in governments, and we are well educated, with bachelor degrees per thousand persons twice that of the nation. It is time we are finally given equal opportunity for professional advancement, and to serve in the federal government in positions we deserve.
We ask fellow Asian Americans to join us in our declaration to WITHHOLD financial and other forms of support to any presidential PRIMARY candidates who fail to pledge his/her commitment to our request for equal justice in the workplace.
During the GENERAL presidential election, a different approach is taken. To be effective, we shall form a block-vote in favor of the presidential candidate of that political party that will have helped Asian Americans the most in achieving equal opportunity, between now and August 2000.
Our cause is just. Our requests are fair. As individuals our voices may be weak; TOGETHER WE SHALL OVERCOME.
Sincerely (members of Steering Comm., titles for ID purposes only)
Alex Esclamado, Nat'l President, Filipino-Am. Political Assoc.Kenneth Fong, C.E.O., Clontech Laboratories,Yu-Chi Ho, Harvard Univ., member of Nat'l Acad. of Engineering, Stephen S. Ko, MD, Founder of Asian Am. Political Coalition N.J. Michael Lin, former Nat'l President, Org. of Ch-Ams (1994-98), Henry Tang, Chair , Committee of 100, Chang-Lin Tien, Chancellor, Univ. of Calif., Berkeley (1991-97), Dennis Wong, former Chair, San Francisco-Taipei Sister City Comm., Charles Woo, President, Magatoy, and S. B. Woo, Lieutenant Governor of Delaware (1985-89)