Sunday, March 10, 2013

Pacific Islanders included in Illinois definition of "under-represented minority"

We've written extensively about the decades of data on the underrepresentation of Native Hawaiians and other Pacific Islanders.  But until I read this article in the Daily Eastern News, I didn't know that Illinois state laws also recognize Pacific Islanders as an underrepresented group.  

According to the article, the following groups are included as "minorities" and "under-represented minorities" in laws like the Illinois Diversifying Higher Education Faculty in Illinois Act, and the Business Enterprise for Minorities, Females and Persons with Disabilities Act: 
American Indian or Alaskan native, Asian, black or African-American, Hispanic or Latino, and Pacific Islander.
Given our focus on increasing Pacific Islander access to underrepresented minority programs, we were pleased to hear about this.

I was interested in reading the laws and sharing that info with our readers, as we often try to do for posts that mention public policy. (Blame it on my post-college years as a Congressional aide.) For those who want to see the Illinois state law that includes Pacific Islanders in the definition of underrepresented, here it is: link

Mahalo to the state of Illinois for passing laws that reflect the reality of Native Hawaiian and other Pacific Islander underrepresentation.


For those interested, here is a cut and paste of the law that defines underrepresented to include Pacific Islanders:

    (30 ILCS 577/35-5) 
    Sec. 35-5. Definitions. For the purposes of this Article:
    "Under-represented minority" means a person who is any of the following:
        (1) American Indian or Alaska Native (a person having
origins in any of the original peoples of North and South America, including Central America, and who maintains tribal affiliation or community attachment).
        (2) Asian (a person having origins in any of the
original peoples of the Far East, Southeast Asia, or the Indian subcontinent, including, but not limited to, Cambodia, China, India, Japan, Korea, Malaysia, Pakistan, the Philippine Islands, Thailand, and Vietnam).
        (3) Black or African American (a person having
origins in any of the black racial groups of Africa). Terms such as "Haitian" or "Negro" can be used in addition to "Black or African American".
        (4) Hispanic or Latino (a person of Cuban, Mexican,
Puerto Rican, South or Central American, or other Spanish culture or origin, regardless of race).
        (5) Native Hawaiian or Other Pacific Islander (a
person having origins in any of the original peoples of Hawaii, Guam, Samoa, or other Pacific Islands).

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