30 under 30: "count me in" campaign

Too Many Names to List
Ages: 21-24
Student Leaders of the "Count Me In" Campaign

Why they're influential: Because all AAPI students should be counted. In 2006 and 2007, a small group of UCLA students led the "Count Me In" campaign to get the UC to disaggregate data on AAPI students. Starting Fall 2008, the UC started listing 23 different AAPI ethnic group boxes for people to identify their ethnicities. And their model of student campaigns is being followed by other groups who also see data as a strategy for social justice activism.

We all know that there is a group of wealthier Asian Americans who are doing well in school, but we also know there's a significantly large number of lower income, less privileged Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders whose educational needs are ignored by institutions, because the diversity of socioeconomic conditions among AAPI populations is not reflected in the data that lumps all these ethnic groups into one group.

Starting with a handful of students in UCLA's Asian Pacific Coalition deciding to take proactive action, the campaign unified the diverse AAPI community, and educated peers on the need for ethnic data disaggregation. They got non-AAPI students, faculty, and administrators on board with the campaign, which spread to all 9 UC undergrad campuses.

To all of you out there saying, "Yeah, but they're in California. It's just easier to do stuff at the UC," don't forget that the core group was only 10 students or less, at any given time. These 17 leaders are key people who were involved over 2 years. Some graduated mid-campaign. Sustaining a campaign when half your core leadership graduates... now that's impressive, and very possible through diverse coalition-building with other people of color!

(Contributed by Oiyan Poon)

See the rest of the 30 Most Influential Asian Americans Under 30 here.

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