AANHPI Heritage Belongs in All Halls of Power
As we continue to reflect this AANHPI Heritage Month, we’re taking a deeper look into the state of representation in civic leadership across elected officials.
Representation isn’t only about having people who look like us – all of us – in public-facing roles and positions of power. It’s also about ensuring that all perspectives and experiences inform the policies that shape our lives, from equitable education to accessible healthcare and beyond.
In 2021, AANHPI representatives comprised less than 1% of elected officials in the U.S. despite there being a record 22 million Americans who trace their roots to over 20 countries across the Asian continent.1
The AANHPI community is widely considered one of the fastest growing demographics across the country. With a 38.6% increase in the last decade alone, representation within our political systems and greatest halls of power still falls far below the population size, which currently trends towards 7%.
But the numbers are slowly starting to change.
In 2023, according the Pew Research Center2, the United States elected its most racially and ethnically diverse Congress in national history.
According to the Asian Pacific American Institute for Congressional Studies (APAICS)3, 738 members of the AAPI community ran for office in 2022 at the local, state, and federal level, resulting in 342 successful campaigns for AAPI candidates in school boards, city councils, and municipal governments.
Since 2001, representation in Congress has risen from just 7 members to the 18 AAPI representatives we see today, a 157% increase.
These numbers are encouraging for a new wave of equity-minded leaders. And we know we can continue to drive this needle forward together. 60% of LEE members win their races, serving at all levels of elected leadership and sharing a lifelong commitment to the movement for educational equity.
If you are interested in serving students and their communities through elected office, we work to develop your leadership and provide ongoing support and training to help you be effective, impactful public leaders.
It’s never too late to join the movement and continue to increase diversity across our elected offices. Representation matters because it empowers the leaders of tomorrow to see themselves in the political landscape. But it also matters because it ensures our leaders share in the struggles and challenges our communities face.
Get started on your journey today by running for office, volunteering in your community, or supporting diverse candidates across LEE’s expansive network.
Don't forget to join us in celebration of Asian American, Native Hawaiian, and Pacific Islander Heritage Month. We’re gathering our community to discuss AANHPI Leadership, Culture & Community. Join us on Tuesday, May 23 at 6-7:30pm ET as we hear from members in this community making an impact on educational equity and a community discussion on what AANHPI leaders are facing today.