National CAPACD Applauds the Signing of the Inflation Reduction Act

National CAPACD Applauds the Signing of the Inflation Reduction Act 

Yesterday, President Biden signed the Inflation Reduction Act of 2022, the most significant action taken to respond to the climate crisis in U.S. history. The Administration will invest in clean energy solutions that reduce pollution and advance environmental justice, while bringing down energy costs for families and creating thousands of well-paid union jobs. In addition, the Administration will address rising inflation by working to reduce the deficit. These measures, as well as lower healthcare costs and a fairer tax code, demonstrate the Administration’s commitment to our cost-burdened communities.

National CAPACD Executive Director Seema Agnani states “We applaud the Administration for their leadership – their bold response to the growing crisis of climate change is also, at its heart, a strong response to the impacts of this crisis on low-income communities of color. National CAPACD also knows that the work must continue; in order to address rising inflation, we must acknowledge how inflation disproportionately impacts low- to moderate-income families, particularly communities of color in high-cost cities that are already struggling as the rental housing market becomes increasingly unaffordable. We look forward to our continued partnership with the Administration to create even more opportunities for wealth-building and economic security for low-income families and communities of color.”

National CAPACD Pushes for a Stronger Community Reinvestment Act

National CAPACD Pushes for a Stronger Community Reinvestment Act

The Community Reinvestment Act (CRA) is a landmark piece of legislation that was enacted in 1977 to combat discrimination in the lending industry. Despite this, there are still significant barriers to accessing quality products and services for low- and middle-income (LMI) communities of color. To address this, federal agencies have released a proposed rule to reform the CRA. 

National CAPACD has been hard at work advocating to make this proposal even stronger. On July 13th, our Executive Director Seema Agnani testified at the U.S. House Committee on Financial Services (HFSC) hearing titled Better Together: Examining the Unified Proposed Rule to Modernize the Community Reinvestment Act and recommended equitable Community Reinvestment Act (CRA) policies for AANHPI communities. You can watch a recording of the hero below. 

You can read the full testimony here. For a full list of hearing witnesses and more information, visit the HFSC CRA hearing page here.

On August 5th, we submitted a comment letter with detailed recommendations on how this proposed rule can be strengthened to modernize the CRA and expand access to financial services and credit for LMI communities and communities of color. 29 of our members and three national allies joined us by signing on to our letter.

Read the comment letter and see our recommendations for a stronger CRA here

You can read the joint recommendations we submitted as part of the Building Back Better for Entrepreneurs of Color partnership here.

Seema Agnani Testimony, “Better Together: Examining the Unified Proposed Rule to Modernize the Community Reinvestment Act”

Statement of Seema Agnani, Executive Director,
National Coalition for Asian Pacific American Community

House Committee on Financial Services,
Subcommittee on Consumer Protection and Financial Institutions
Hearing on “Better Together: Examining the Unified Proposed Rule to Modernize
the Community Reinvestment Act”

National CAPACD Executive Director Seema Agnani provided testimony to the Consumer Protection and Financial Institutions Subcommittee on the federal banking regulators’ joint rule proposal to strengthen and modernize Community Reinvestment Act regulations to more effectively achieve its original intent of addressing inequities and discriminatory practices such as redlining within our financial system.

Read the full testimony here.

National CAPACD Stands Firmly for Safe and Legal Access to Abortion

National CAPACD Stands Firmly for Safe and Legal Access to Abortion

National CAPACD vehemently opposes the United States Supreme Court (SCOTUS) Dobbs v. Jackson’s Women Health Organization decision announced today, which effectively overturns the constitutional right to abortion established in the landmark Roe v. Wade.

The Dobbs decision is a devastating setback – it will lead to severe restrictions on legal abortions in at least 26 states and territories, which will leave almost 40 million women without access to safe reproductive care. We know this will have a disproportionate impact on the communities we serve, including immigrants, Limited English Proficient speakers, communities of color, low-income workers, LGBTQ community members, and those with disabilities.

National CAPACD Executive Director Seema Agnani states, “Women in low-income Asian American, Native Hawaiian, and Pacific Islander communities are often frontline, low-wage workers with very few, if any, benefits and social safety nets. Many of them also navigate language barriers and entrenched cultural stigmas about abortions. The Dobbs decision effectively eliminates their access to safe, legal abortions in many states, which endangers their health and bodies and further entraps them in cycles of poverty. If SCOTUS does not protect the reproductive rights of women in this country, National CAPACD calls on Congress to pass proactive abortion legislation.”

Read NAPAWF’s statement here.

National CAPACD Grieves Texas School Shooting & Recent Hate Violence

National CAPACD Grieves Texas School Shooting & Recent Hate Violence

On the second anniversary of George Floyd’s murder, our communities reel again from the tragic school shooting yesterday at Robb Elementary School in Uvalde, Texas, which killed 19 children and two teachers, and wounded 17 others. The news of this massacre comes when we have not yet wiped the tears from the racist shooting that killed 10 Black people, many of them elders, on May 14th at a grocery store in Buffalo, New York. We have not yet recovered from the fears stoked by the hate-motivated shooting on May 15th at an Orange County, California church attended by the Taiwanese community.

National CAPACD’s work is driven by our vision of healthy, vibrant neighborhoods in which all community members can live and thrive. These last few weeks have reminded us, again and again, of the long road and immense work ahead toward this vision because our neighborhoods are not safe spaces for our communities. Every person must be able to move freely and without fear of racism and hate-based violence in our schools, in our places of worship, in our grocery stores, in our public transit systems. Racism and hate have permeated these institutions and left our neighborhoods bereft of public spaces in which we can be assured that our children and elders are safe.

The tragedies of these last few weeks begs the question – how many collective tears must we shed for lives lost before our leaders, responsible for our safety, enact change? President Biden announced today, on the anniversary of George Floyd’s murder, an Executive Order which will reform federal policing and push state, local, and Tribal agencies to make the same necessary changes. It is a critical first step, but there is still much that needs to be done to promote public safety.

Yet we know there is tremendous power in our will for change, as well as our care for one another and our communities. We must demand gun control legislation, criminal justice reform, and meaningful public safety solutions that challenge race- and hate-based violence without criminalizing communities of color. We owe this to our youth and our elders.

National CAPACD Lovingly Remembers Darshan Khalsa

It is with heavy hearts that National CAPACD shares the loss of Darshan Khalsa, a former staff member, on the morning of December 13, 2021 at the young age of 48, after struggling to fight endometrial cancer diagnosed earlier this year. Darshan passed peacefully surrounded by loved ones.

She is remembered for her grace, good sense of humor, and tireless commitment to social justice. Darshan worked with National CAPACD for more than three years, during a critical period in its development. As recalled by our former Executive Director, Lisa Hasegawa, “Darshan served as the first Deputy Director of National CAPACD, serving at a time of critical growth and expansion for the organization. She was a fierce advocate, prolific fundraiser, and brilliant strategist, but I will remember her most for her wonderful sense of humor, and her deep belief that our movement organizations needed to be humanistic and healthy. She made a profound impact on so many organizations, often working behind the scenes, taking pride in the success of those she supported, coached, and mentored. She will be forever remembered and dearly missed by her National CAPACD family.”


Community in the Capital 2007

Darshan’s legacy lives on throughout the fabric of National CAPACD, as we advance a vision for the organization that she held firmly as not just being community-driven but community-led. We are thankful for all she brought to our organization and the broader movement.

Services will be held in Oakland next year. To honor Darshan’s legacy, we encourage you to donate to one of the following organizations:

URGE: Unite for Reproductive & Gender Equity, Darshan’s longtime movement home, which has established the Darshan Khalsa Reproductive Justice Scholarship Fund, to support young leaders of color in achieving their dreams. Make a contribution directly to this fund in Darshan’s honor here.

The National Asian Pacific American Women’s Forum (NAPAWF) builds power with AAPI women and girls to influence critical decisions affecting their lives, families, and communities. Using a reproductive justice framework, NAPAWF elevates AAPI women and girls to impact policy and drive systemic change in the United States. Darshan was a longtime supporter of NAPAWF’s work; donate to NAPAWF here.

National CAPACD Applauds the Signing of the Infrastructure Investment & Jobs Act

National CAPACD Applauds the Signing
of the Infrastructure Investment & Jobs Act

Yesterday, President Biden signed the Infrastructure Investment & Jobs Act, a historic $1.2 trillion dollar investment in our country’s physical and digital infrastructure to position our communities for a sustainable and equitable economic recovery and advance strategies to combat the climate crisis. National CAPACD applauds the Administration for their commitment to this bipartisan bill, which will rebuild our roads and highways, improve our public transit systems, increase access to affordable, high-speed Internet, invest in clean energy and drinking water, create millions of better-paying jobs, and expand support for small businesses.

Historically, large-scale investments in our infrastructure have overlooked low-income communities of color – or actively harmed them by dividing neighborhoods and displacing communities. National CAPACD appreciates the Administration’s efforts to redress previous inequities in access to resources, including a $55 billion provision to replace all of our country’s lead pipes and service lines, representing the largest investment in clean drinking water in our history. The bill also works to bridge the digital divide and expand access to the digital economy with a $65 billion provision to bolster broadband access and affordability, including a monthly subsidy for eligible households.

National CAPACD is encouraged by the bill’s commitment to expanding economic opportunity through the creation of millions of better-paying, union jobs. It also codifies the Minority Business Development Agency (MBDA) and allocates $110 million in annual funding through 2025 to the MBDA. We hope that the Administration will continue to invest in entrepreneurship as a pathway to economic growth and security, particularly for entrepreneurs of color and immigrants. This includes expanded resources and support for small businesses owners and micro-entrepreneurs, who represent the majority of Asian American and Pacific Islander (AAPI owners) – many who were severely impacted by the pandemic and did not have timely or adequate support available to them.

National CAPACD Executive Director Seema Agnani states, “National CAPACD has advocated and affirmed our support for this legislation with our members over the last few months. Now we are ready to work with the Administration to ensure that investments in infrastructure reach and benefit AAPI communities and other communities of color. Historically, communities of color have been redlined, divided, and displaced by infrastructure investments, and they have been disparately harmed by the impacts of pollution and climate change. We must ensure that any infrastructure agenda is also a racial justice agenda that delivers a sustainable, resilient, and just economy.”

An investment in physical infrastructure, including efforts to redress physical barriers and challenges that have historically disadvantaged communities of color, provides us a roadmap to move forward – it is an unparalleled investment in our future generations. We must also, however, urge the Congress to vote swiftly on the Build Back Better Act to grow our economic, housing, and social infrastructure – including the legislation’s historic investments of over $150 billion in affordable housing and community development programs to increase and preserve affordable housing and homeownership opportunities. These investments are essential and will offer our communities that need today a robust recovery from the pandemic and economic conditions that too often left them behind even before the pandemic. Only then can our communities support the future generations who will benefit from the investments made through the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act.

National CAPACD Honors Lives Lost & Forever Changed on the 20th Anniversary of 9/11

National CAPACD Honors Lives Lost & Forever Changed on the 20th Anniversary of 9/11

On this 20th anniversary of the 9/11 attacks, National CAPACD mourns and honors the thousands of lives lost. We extend our hearts to the countless other survivors and first responders. We stand in solidarity with our Arab, Muslim, Sikh, and South Asian brothers and sisters for whom life in this country has never been the same – many who have had to defend their identities and right to belong free of discrimination, profiling, and violence for the last 20 years. And we would be remiss to forget those globally whose lands, borders, lives, and livelihoods were altered by our foreign policies in the aftermath of 9/11.

9/11 irrevocably changed the world we live in – 20 years later, as we reflect on where we were in those moments, we are reminded that 9/11 deeply connected us to one another and emphasized our shared liberation. We have made progress since 9/11, and yet we continue to confront many of the same challenges. In the response to a global public health crisis that has similarly changed the course of our collective lives, National CAPACD is committed to applying the lessons learned from 9/11 – standing vehemently against all forms of hate and violence; being guided by the struggles and stories of those who came before us; centering love and compassion in our work; and showing up to defend the rights of all communities of color to live safely with justice and in hope. Today, we stand in solidarity with Arab, Muslim, Sikh, and South Asian communities. As part of the Asian American Leaders Table, National CAPACD signed on to the following solidarity statement:

National CAPACD Applauds Passage of the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act

 National CAPACD Applauds Passage of the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act

National CAPACD applauds the Senate passage of the Bipartisan Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act yesterday. We stand ready to work with the Administration to ensure that all communities of color benefit from its bold investments in a more sustainable, resilient, and just economy. We are encouraged that the legislation seeks to redress the devastating impacts of divestment in our infrastructure on communities of color. It does so through investments in millions of good-paying jobs, affordable high-speed internet to address the digital divide, and reliable public transit. It also commits to clean drinking water, improved air quality, and increased safeguards from climate crises – acknowledging the disparate harm of pollution and climate change on communities of color.

National CAPACD is encouraged by the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act as a critical starting point for the Administration to build back our communities more equitably. We urge the President and Vice President to continue this work by pushing for investments in affordable housing supply and preservation, as included in the American Jobs Plan, to address one of the most urgent crises of our time. Investing in our infrastructure for the purpose of increasing economic opportunity and redressing historic inequities must be paired with meaningful investments in affordable housing for all.

In a meeting held just last week between President Biden and Vice President Harris and national AAPI leaders, Seema Agnani voiced National CAPACD’s support for the bold plan – “National CAPACD and our partners will work with the Administration to ensure these unprecedented investments benefit communities of color and advance racial equity as intended, rather than deepening existing displacement and inequities. In order to ensure communities of color benefit, there must be accessible public processes in place so that investments, such as public transit development, are implemented in a way that is accountable to local communities.”

National CAPACD Grieves with Indianapolis and the Sikh Community

National CAPACD Grieves with Indianapolis and the Sikh Community

This weekend, our hearts grew heavier by the news of the latest mass shooting on Friday, April 15th at an Indianapolis FedEx facility, which left eight people dead and several others injured. Of the lives lost, four were members of the Sikh community. National CAPACD extends our condolences to the victims’ loved ones, and we vow to be in solidarity with the Sikh community and its leaders during this horrifying tragedy and through the collective healing process.

While the investigation is still ongoing and the motive of the shooter is unclear, much about this violent act is indisputable. The targeted FedEx facility heavily employed Sikh workers, and race must be considered as a motive in the investigation. For the Sikh community, this attack deepens the fear, pain, and trauma from decades of violence, including the 2012 Oak Creek gurdwara shooting and post-9/11 attacks and discrimination. This weekend’s shooting is further devastating because it took place just days after Vaisakhi, one of the holiest days for the Sikh community, which commemorates their commitment to liberation from injustice. Our collective movement has learned so much from the Sikh spirit of resilience, and now we must demand for them the ease of going to their gurdwaras and workplaces without fearing for their lives.

National CAPACD Executive Director Seema Agnani states “We are deeply saddened by the loss of so many lives in Indianapolis last Friday, only a week after the shooting of Daunte Wright in Minnesota. It is clear that immigrants, communities of color, low-wage workers, and other vulnerable populations are not just the primary targets of violence motivated by hate, but also the victims of leadership that continues to ignore the urgency of stronger gun control laws, police reform, and confronting racism. We will work with national partners and our members to hold our leaders accountable and ensure racial justice for all communities of color.”

The Sikh Coalition issued a statement from representatives of eight Indianapolis-area gurdwaras. Read the statement here.