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Coalition of Asian & Pacific Islander Leaders in the Commonwealth Against Senate Bill 206: Creation of a Virginia-Korea Advisory Board 

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by Laura Pho, Chair of Asian Americans Impacting Virginia (AAIV), is a nonprofit seeking to uplift and support API communities through outreach and education and supporting APIs running for elected office

Members of the Virginia Asian Advisory Board (VAAB) serve as representatives from the Asian & Pacific Islander (API) communities to advise the Governor and his administration on issues that best serve API constituents and the Commonwealth. Therefore, it is our responsibility to address issues that challenge our ability to serve our purpose effectively and inclusively. We are joined by many API leaders in the Commonwealth to express concerns with Senate Bill 206 (SB206/Patron: Senator Chap Petersen), which seeks to create an independent Korean advisory board. There are significant unintended consequences to passing this bill and we urge members of the General Laws and Appropriations Committees to vote no. 

SB206 proposes to do for South Korea what the VAAB does for all Asian nations, including South Korea – to improve trade relationships for the Commonwealth with a focus on commerce and trade; art and education; and general government. Creating an independent advisory board for only one specific country, in this case South Korea, is problematic: 

  1. It is duplicative. Since its creation, the VAAB has always had Korean representation. Currently, two Koreans from Northern Virginia serve on the VAAB and are actively engaged in the board’s duties and activities. 
  2. It is inequitable when funding is provided for one advisory board and not for advisory boards with the same or broader responsibilities (e.g., VAAB, Latino Advisory Board, African American Advisory Board, and Council on Women). Moreover, Senator Petersen has filed a budget amendment to fund the Korean advisory board $209,859 annually.
  3. It sets a bad precedent. Other ethnic communities, and not just Asian, will also petition for their own advisory boards and request dedicated funding. Denying their requests could result in allegations of discrimination. To accept their requests and create multiple boards would be cumbersome for the current and future administrations to manage. 
  4. It is preferential, particularly in the eyes of other global trade partners. While South Korea is an important trading partner, it is not the sole or leading source of imported goods, export markets, or foreign investment that directly employs Virginians.
  5. It is divisive, especially at a time when the administration is focused on diversity, equity, and inclusion and needs to preserve Virginia’s position as America’s top state for business by fostering good relationships with all of its global trade partners.

We urge you to consider these unintended consequences and vote NO to SB206. 

Email Virginia.API.Leaders@gmail.com with any questions. Click here to read more about our concerns. 

Signed, 

  1. May Nivar, Chair, VAAB; Founding Chair, Asian & Latino Solidarity Alliance (ALSA); Board Member/Founding Member, Asian Americans Impacting Virginia (AAIV); Richmond Chapter Member, Virginia Center for Inclusive Communities; Midlothian, VA 
  2. Eric Lin, Vice Chair, Former Chair, VAAB; VP, Chapter Development OCA Asian Pacific American Advocates – National; Founding Member/Community Engagement Director, ALSA; Board Member/Founding Member, AAIV; Chesterfield, VA
  3. Komal Mohindra, Treasurer, VAAB; Falls Church, VA 
  4. Praveen Meyyan, Secretary, VAAB; Chair, Democratic Asian Americans of Virginia (DAAV); Steering Committee Member, Democratic Party of Virginia; Arlington, VA
  5. Melody Agbisit, Board Member, VAAB; Planning Committee Member, FilFest USA; Founder, ReRooted Pilipinas; Norfolk, VA
  6. Suja Amir, Board Member, VAAB; Founding Member/Secretary, ALSA; Board Member/Founding Member, AAIV; Henrico, VA
  7. Atiqua Hashem, Board Member, VAAB; Glen Allen, VA 
  8. Razi Hashmi, Board Member, VAAB; Fairfax, VA 
  9. Justin Lo, Board Member, VAAB; Richmond, VA 
  10. Bobby Ly, Board Member, VAAB; President, Vietnamese American Community of the Maryland, Virginia, and Washington DC Area; Fairfax, VA
  11. Patrick Mulloy, Board Member, VAAB; Alexandria, VA 
  12. Carla Okouchi, Board Member, VAAB; Fairfax, VA 
  13. Marie Sankaran Raval, Board Member, VAAB; Henrico VA 
  14. Sunny Shah, Board Member, VAAB; Roanoke, VA 
  15. Jewan Tiwari, Board Member, VAAB; President/Founder of Nepalese American Forum for Political Empowerment; Manassas, VA
  16. Angela Chiang, Former Chair, VAAB; Founding Member/Treasurer, ALSA; Founding Member/Board Member, AAIV; Chesterfield, VA
  17. Vicki Mirandah, Former Chair, VAAB; Henrico, VA 
  18. J.R. Smith, Former Chair, VAAB; Chairperson, Virginia-Japan Society; Partner, Hunton Andrews Kurth, Glen Allen, VA
  19. Marj Mohta, Former Board Member, VAAB; Former President, Filipino American Association of Central Virginia; President/Founder, Philippine Nurses Association of Richmond Virginia; Midlothian, VA
  20. Rumy Mohta, Former Board Member, VAAB; Secretary, Filipino American Association of Central Virginia (FAACV); Midlothian, VA
  21. Shewling Moy, Former Board Member, VAAB; Former Member, Commonwealth Council on Aging; Former Board Member, OCA Asian Pacific American Advocates – Eastern Virginia Chapter (OCA-EVC); Former First Chair, Minority Council Advisory Board of Virginia Beach; Virginia Beach, VA
  22. Ray Obispo, Former Board Member, VAAB; President, Filipino American National Historical Society- Hampton Roads; Virginia Beach, VA
  23. Karla Soloria, Former Board Member, VAAB; Norfolk, VA 
  24. Suwattana Sugg, Former Board Member, VAAB; Henrico, VA 
  25. Leonard Tengco, Former Board Member, VAAB; Advocate for the Filipino Community; Vienna, VA
  26. Zaki Barzinji, Former Governor’s Liaison to the VAAB; Former Deputy Director of Intergovernmental Affairs, Commonwealth of Virginia; Vienna, VA
  27. Cecilia E. Barbosa, Chair, Virginia Latino Advisory Board, Richmond, VA 
  28. Gilbert Bland, Chair, Virginia African American Advisory Board, Virginia Beach, VA 
  29. Margarita Agbisit, Philippine Nurses Association of Virginia; Virginia Beach, VA 
  30. Tahreem Alam, Blacksburg, VA 
  31. Donna Ashworth, Principal, Richmond Chinese School, Henrico, VA 
  32. Geronimo Balallo, President, FAACV, Glen Allen, VA 
  33. Laura Beldin, Staunton, VA 
  34. Mariella Cabaccan, Planning Committee, FilFest USA, Virginia Beach, VA 
  35. Xiong Chang, Owner, Acupuncture Chang; Charlottesville, VA 
  36. Jacqueline Chiang, Henrico, VA 
  37. Mahmud Chowdhury, Chair, Asian American Society of Central Virginia (AASoCV); Founding Member/Board Member, AAIV; Henrico, VA
  38. Rose Chu, Fairfax, VA 
  39. Ping Chu, Treasurer/Board of Trustee, AASoCV Representing the Chinese Community in Central Virginia; Board Member, OCA Asian Pacific American Advocates – Central VA Chapter (OCA-CVC); Henrico, VA
  40. Jin Hui Eudora Chua, Virginia Beach, VA
  41. Coalition of Asian Pacific Americans of Virginia (CAPAVA) 
  42. Diana Ding, Board Member, OCA-CVC; Glen Allen, VA 
  43. Ann Donne, Manakin Sabot, VA 
  44. Cindy Du, Glen Allen, VA 
  45. David Duong, Principal, Evergreen Financial, Henrico, VA 
  46. Jimmy Fang, Executive Vice President, C&F Enterprises; Williamsburg, VA 
  47. Ali Faruk, Henrico, VA 
  48. Edlyn Feng, Henrico, VA 
  49. Max Frias, Vice President, Filipino American National Historical Society 
  50. Tony Fung, Former Deputy Secretary of Technology, Commonwealth of Virginia; Henrico VA
  51. Goutam Ghandi, Henrico VA 
  52. Wilson Goh, Co-founder/Founding Chair/Current Board of Trustee, AASoCV; Board Member, OCA-CVC
  53. Ted Gong, Executive Director, 1882 Foundation; President, Chinese American Citizen’s Alliance – DC Chapter; Fairfax, VA
  54. Peter Gur, Farmville, VA 
  55. Nina Ha, Blacksburg, VA 
  56. Mary Hao, Glen Allen, VA 
  57. Shyamali Hauth, First Vice Chair, DAAV; Chair, Veterans and Military Families Committee, Fairfax County Democratic Committee; Fairfax, VA
  58. John He, Virginia Beach, VA 
  59. Francis S. Hsu, Midlothian, VA 
  60. Peggy Hsu, Midlothian, VA 
  61. Yanqing Huang, Waynesboro, VA 
  62. John Kang, Henrico, VA 
  63. John Kim, Board of Trustee, AASoCV Representing the Korean Community in Central Virginia; Former President, Korean American Society of Greater Richmond, Midlothian, VA 
  64. Joong Won Kim, Blacksburg, VA 
  65. Cheng Chueh Kuo, Midlothian, VA 
  66. Shanghuei Mary Kuo, Midlothian, VA
  67. Ming S. Lee, Midlothian, VA 
  68. Yu Mei Lee, Midlothian, VA 
  69. Jaye Li, Manakin Sabot, VA 
  70. John Li, Henrico, VA 
  71. Fengqi Lin, Board Member, OCA-CVC; Henrico, VA 
  72. Dr. Leroy Lin, Co-founder, OCA-CVC; Henrico, VA 
  73. Maudie Lin, Former Principal, Richmond Chinese School; Henrico, VA 
  74. Junyi Meng, Henrico, VA 
  75. Jamie Moreno, Virginia Beach, VA 
  76. Petula Moy, Founder Asian American Alliance; President, Asian Business Association of Hampton Roads; Virginia Beach, VA
  77. Tin H. Myint, Board of Trustee, AASoCV Representing the Myanmar Community in Central Virginia; Henrico, VA
  78. Dr. Vijay Nadgir, Glen Allen, VA 
  79. Tricia Orpilla, Co-chair, FilFest USA; President, Asian Pacific American Heritage Organization of Tidewater; Vice Chair, Pacific Island American Group of Tidewater; Board of Directors, Council of United Filipino Organizations of Tidewater; President, The Asian Pacific Cultural Center, Virginia Beach, VA
  80. Rupali Pendse, Board of Trustee, AASoCV Representing the Indian Community in Central Virginia; Board Member, India Association of Virginia; Henrico, VA
  81. Laura Pho, Founding Member/Chair, AAIV; Henrico, VA 
  82. Shunlin Ren, Manakin Sabot, VA 
  83. Jennifer Reyes, Virginia Beach, VA 
  84. Marion Roque, Norfolk, VA 
  85. Dr. Chung I Shaw, Midlothian, VA 
  86. Dewita Soeharjono, Chair Emeritus, DAAV; Arlington, VA 
  87. Hueina Su, Henrico VA 
  88. Rachael Su, Roanoke, VA 
  89. Justine Suegay, President, George Mason University, Asian Pacific American Coalition; Gainesville, VA
  90. Lillian Sun, Fairfax, VA 
  91. Hongshuo Tang, Harrisonburg, VA 
  92. Arnel Tanyag, Virginia Beach, VA 
  93. Nardo Tengco, Filipino-American Community Action Group; Virginia Beach, VA 
  94. Merlinda Tengco, Filipino-American Community Action Group; Virginia Beach, VA 
  95. My Lan Tran, Executive Director, Virginia Asian Chamber of Commerce, Ashland, VA Chris Tsui, Henrico, VA 
  96. Nancy Wan, Glen Allen, VA 
  97. Hao Wang, Owner, Two Weeks Salon; Staunton, VA 
  98. Helen Wang, Henrico, VA 
  99. Yidan Wang, Staunton, VA 
  100. Mei Wu, Richmond, VA 
  101. Robert Wu, Former President, OCA-CVC; Midlothian VA 
  102. Hanzhang Xia, Henrico VA 
  103. Quentin Yan, Henrico, VA 
  104. Dr. Xiaohua Yan, Family Medicine; Henrico VA 
  105. Cindy Yao, Henrico, VA 
  106. Miaofang Yin, Charlottesville, VA 
  107. Dr. Jinxing Yu, Professor of Radiology, VCU Health; Henrico VA 
  108. Dr. Bonnie Zare, Blacksburg, VA 
  109. Harry Zhang, Former President, OCA-EVC; Virginia Beach, VA 
  110. Kun Zhang, Staunton, VA 
  111. Liz Zhang, Ashland, VA 
  112. Jidan Zhao, Harrisonburg, VA 
  113. Fengying Zhu, Former Board Member, OCA-EVC; Virginia Beach, VA