Submitted by State Senator Michael Barrett
With the onset of the State Senate budget debate, State Sen. Mike Barrett has filed an amendment to fund the Massachusetts Asian American Commission. The amendment comes during May, which is Asian American and Pacific Islander Heritage Month.
“Compared to their presence in the Massachusetts population, Asian Americans of various ethnicities are underrepresented in state government,” Barrett says. “We need to do more outreach to different communities in order to encourage young people to get involved in public service. The Commission does excellent work making government more accessible and inclusive.”
Barrett’s amendment highlights the growth of the Asian American population not only in Massachusetts, but specifically in his district. In Barrett’s hometown of Lexington, the Asian American population has grown, over the past ten years, by nearly 90% to 6,300 in 2010. The same population in Waltham reached almost 6,000; in Weston nearly 1,300.
Created in 2006, the AAC holds fairs where government offices — housing and consumer affairs, for example — hand out pamphlets translated into languages including Khmer and Chinese. One information fair was recently held in Lowell, just outside Barrett’s district. The Commission also hosts a symposium where more than 100 young Asian American professionals network and take workshops from two dozen public agencies.