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A Message from EEOC Chair Charlotte A. Burrows for 2024 Asian American, Native Hawaiian, and Pacific Islander Heritage Month

May is Asian American, Native Hawaiian, and Pacific Islander (AA and NHPI) Heritage Month, when we honor the history, culture, and achievements of AA and NHPIs. This year’s theme for AA and NHPI Heritage Month, “Bridging Histories, Shaping Our Future,” invites us to celebrate the contributions AA and NHPIs have made to shape their communities and forge a path for the future. 

AA and NHPI persons have made significant contributions to our economy and society. Organizations serving AA and NHPIs have provided communities across the country with legal services, language assistance, and other support. Many of these organizations have also fought to combat xenophobia, discrimination, and harassment directed at AA and NHPIs.

For example, in 1963, leaders and members of the Japanese American Citizens League (JACL) participated in the March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom, which helped lead to passage of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. JACL members marched, in part, to acknowledge the link between the discrimination that AA and NHPI persons had long faced in America and the system of Jim Crow segregation that curtailed opportunities for African Americans. During that same time period, the Agricultural Workers Organizing Committee (AWOC), composed primarily of Filipino migrant farmworkers, fought to improve agricultural working conditions in central California.

More recently, AA and NHPIs and organizations such as Stop AAPI Hate have worked collaboratively to combat discrimination and harassment arising from a backlash to local, national, or world events, such as the COVID-19 pandemic.

As the primary federal agency charged with combatting employment discrimination, the EEOC continues to receive charges alleging discrimination, harassment, or retaliation against AA and NHPI individuals on all bases, including race, color, national origin, and religion.  The agency has responded by working diligently to ensure that AA and NHPI persons know their workplace rights and how to report discrimination.

In fiscal year 2023, the EEOC’s work on behalf of AA and NHPIs included:

  • Coordinating community engagement efforts with the White House Initiative on Asian Americans, Native Hawaiians, and Pacific Islanders (WHIAANHPI). The EEOC’s outreach staff conducted events to reach AA and NHPI communities across the country, including listening sessions, roundtables, technical assistance programs, and webinars, many in coordination with other federal agencies. 
  • Releasing an updated language access plan in accordance with Executive Order 13166, “Improving Access to Services for Persons with Limited English Proficiency.” The plan provides information on the availability of interpretation services in field offices for the public, access to more than 200 languages for callers to our 1-800-669-4000 number, and translation of key agency documents into several languages. It also notes recent updates to the availability of critical information about the laws enforced by the EEOC in eight languages, including Chinese, Korean, Vietnamese, and Tagalog.
  • Filing impactful lawsuits against employers that engaged in race or national origin discrimination against AA and NHPI persons.  For example, in July 2023, the agency sued a for-profit provider of graduate medical education for refusing to promote an Asian American employee because of his race, national origin, and age, as well as retaliating against him for complaining about the discrimination.
  • Adding a new section on human trafficking to the EEOC’s Youth@Work website.  The new section includes tips for staying safe in the workplace, examples of EEOC lawsuits involving human trafficking, and links to other resources to assist people who believe that they or others may have been trafficked.

As we approach the 60th anniversary of the landmark Civil Rights Act of 1964, the EEOC acknowledges the contributions that AA- and NHPI-serving organizations and communities have made throughout history to combat injustice.  The agency remains committed to continuing its work to help ensure AA and NHPIs receive equal opportunity in the workplace.


Charlotte A. Burrows (she/her/hers)


U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission


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