Editorial Cartoon by Roni Santiago
Cartoon by Roni Santiago

The Michigan Asian Pacific American Affairs Commission (MAPAAC) will soon be in a better position to perform its mandated functions. This expectation has come as a result of the allocation by the state government of much needed funds for its operations.

MAPAAC Chairperson Sook Wilkinson had earlier reported that the state Senate and the House of Representatives have allotted $100,000 for the commission.

With the recent signing of the 2013 state budget by Governor Rick Snyder, the money will be made available soon for use by MAPAAC.

This is the first time MAPAAC is given funding since its creation in 2009. In the last two years, the commission had operated on a zero budget.

But even without funding, Chairperson Wilkinson and the 19 other commissioners have worked hard to push MAPAAC’s mission of advancing “the full and equal participation of the Asian Pacific Americans in the building of a greater Michigan.”

And despite the lack of funds, MAPAAC had chalked up modest accomplishments.

The commissioners will meet soon to discuss the programs and activities that will be funded by the appropriation, a portion of which will be used to set up MAPAAC’s administrative machinery.

With the funding, MAPAAC is expected to perform its mandated functions which include the following:

(a) Stimulate and encourage the study and review of the status of Asian Pacific Americans; (b) Develop a unified policy and plan of actions to serve the needs of Asian Pacific Americans; (c) Advise the governor, the legislature and the office concerning the coordination and administration of state programs serving Asian Pacific Americans; (d) Advise the governor and legislature on the nature, magnitude and priorities of the problems of Asian Pacific Americans; (e) Review and advise the governor and the legislature on the state’s policies concerning Asian Pacific American Affairs; (f) Make recommendations to the governor and legislature regarding methods of overcoming discrimination against Asian Pacific Americans in public and private employment and civil and political rights; (g) Work to ensure equal access to all levels of education for Asian Pacific Americans; (h) Promote methods to ensure equal access to state services for Asian Pacific Americans; and (i) Serve as a reporting agency for incidents of anti-Asian and anti-Pacific Islander American harassment.

These functions, if fully discharged, would certainly promote the best interests of Asian Pacific Americans in the state.

Congress and Governor Snyder should be lauded for providing much needed funds for the commission. This shows that they recognize the important role MAPAAC plays in the efforts “to build a greater Michigan.”

This also shows that the state government is not merely paying lip service to the promotion of cultural diversity.

More than anything else, the funding is a big boost to the morale of the commissioners, who have been rendering volunteer service to the state.

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