Tag Archives: Asian Americans Advancing Justic

America, Let’s Take a Selfie?

It is Census Day, a snapshot of our country, but what is happening with the census during the COVID-19 outbreak? 

A panel of experts shared information at a telebriefing held on April 1, 2020, in partnership with Ethnic Media Services

Though Census 2020 kicked off on March 12th, the deadline has been EXTENDED to August 15, 2020.

This gives everyone more than enough time to complete the NINE question survey. That’s right, only nine questions. 

There are no questions related to citizenship, so everyone living and working in the States – should respond to the census  regardless of citizenship status.

Ditas Katague, Director of California Complete Count  and a census outreach veteran, shared  interesting insights into census statistics. So far, 37.9% of Californians have already filled out the census; the national average is 38.4%. California leveraged its efforts to address diversity within California by budgeting  $187 million to increase the count – a significant increase over the 2 million budget Katague received for the 2010 census. California is a difficult state to count because of its teeming diasporas; hopefully this larger budget will be able to address the needs of those who have been undercounted in the past. 

Eleven million out of California’s forty million residents are hard to count. June Lim, Demographic Research Director of Asian Americans Advancing Justice, explained that hard to count populations include immigrants, non-English speakers, older people, and minorities that distrust the government. Asian and Asian Pacific Islanders are a demographic that is “least likely to respond because they believe the census bureau won’t keep their information private.” However, everyone is protected by Title 13 of the U.S. Code and personal information cannot be given to anyone, including the President.

“Our communities will be taken more seriously if we’re counted,” stated Basim Elkarra, Executive Director of CAIR,  a sentiment that was endorsed by the other speakers. It is imperative that minorities get the representation they deserve. The census determines “power, money, and data”, Katague emphasized, because it has become more transparent than before that “data drives emergency funding.”

The US Census Bureau has suspended activity because of the pandemic and is planning to start census efforts again on April 15th. People  do not need to worry about anyone knocking on their door amidst the fear of spreading coronavirus, especially if they respond online, by phone at 1-844-2020-0274, or mail. 

The best way to avoid contact with the virus and to continue social distancing is to complete the census online.

For more information, reference our previous article here!

Coverage for Census 2020 has been facilitated through a grant from the United Way Bay Area.

Srishti Prabha is the current Assistant Editor at India Currents and has worked in low income/affordable housing as an advocate for children, women and people of color. She is passionate about diversifying spaces, preserving culture, and removing barriers to equity.
Coverage for Census 2020 has been facilitated through a grant from the United Way Bay Area.

Sri Srinivasan – First Indian American to Lead Powerful DC Circuit Court

Prominent Indian American judge Sri Srinivasan (52)  succeeded Merrick B. Garland as Chief Judge of the United State Court of Appeals for the DC Circuit, on February 11, 2020. 

Srinivasan, who was born in Chandigarh, India, has created history in a stellar legal career by becoming the first Asian to lead a powerful federal circuit court in the United States. John Yang, the president and executive director of Asian Americans Advancing Justice, called the appointment an inspiration to other people of color to pursue careers in the legal community.

Judge Merrick Garland, a member of the DC Circuit since 1997 and Chief Judge since 2013  will remain on the bench, according to a press release.

Sri Srinivasan is widely regarded as a moderate and one of the best legal minds in the country, who has successfully worked for both Republican and Democratic Administrations.  John Yang noted that Srinivasan’s quick wit and personality “helps him forge alliances and build consensus in ways that others might not be able to.” Yang observed that Judge Srinivasan’s down to earth manner, “The manner in which he relates to people … will serve him well in this role.”  

“Sri is a trailblazer who personifies the best of America” said Obama, who appointed Srinivasan to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit in May 2013. Srinivasan took his oath of office on the Bhagavad Gita  held by his mother Saroja Srinivasan.

Padmanabhan Srikanth ‘Sri’ Srinivasan grew up in Lawrence, Kansas, the son of a Fullbright Scholar originally from Tamilnadu in South India. His father T. Padmanabhan Srinivasan was a professor of mathematics at the University of Kansas, and his mother taught at the Kansas City Art Institute

Srinivasan paid tribute to his father in an acceptance speech for a NASABA Pioneer award, acknowledging that, “I think we are fooling ourselves if we think we are pioneers because of what we have done since we’ve been in this country. The true pioneers are the ones who have paved the way for us to be here, and my dad is one of those.”

Srinivasan, a basketball star in high school, graduated from Stanford University (JD/MBA ’95 (BA ’89)

After graduation he served as a law clerk to Fourth Circuit Judge J. Harvie Wilkinson III of the U.S. Court of Appeals and as a Bristow Fellow in the Office of the U.S. Solicitor General. U.S. Supreme Court Justice Sandra Day O’Connor described her former clerk as “always fair, faultless and fabulous in his year as my clerk.” She added, “He will be a superb judge.” 

Srinivasan served as the Principal Deputy Solicitor General of the United States from 2011 until his appointment to the U.S. Court of Appeals. He has argued a remarkable 25 cases before the U.S. Supreme Court. 

US Federal Communications Commission Chair Ajit Pai congratulated Srinivasan on the appointment, tweeting, “A milestone for the Indian-American/Kansan community (and yet another piece of evidence my family can use that I’m underachieving!).

Meera Kymal is a contributing editor at India Currents