LEAP Urges Diverse Supreme Court Nominee and Prompt Senate Hearing

The unexpected and tragic passing of United States Supreme Court Justice, Antonin Scalia over a week ago has triggered a political power play in and around the judicial branch of government. As a nonprofit organization dedicated to advocating for diverse leadership at all levels, Leadership Education for Asian Pacifics (LEAP) believes that the new appointee should bring a diverse perspective to the U.S. Supreme Court.

Our nation is facing great change, which brings both challenges and opportunities. A nominee who comes from a diverse background can bring critical thought not rooted in the same old way of thinking and doing and thus lead the high court to better decisions thereby strengthening this country. Right now, a perspective that is not represented at this level of leadership is the Asian American voice.

It is imperative that the U.S. Supreme Court function at its optimum capacity thus LEAP strongly urges the Honorable members of the Senate Judiciary Committee and the Honorable members of the United States Senate to give prompt consideration to a U.S. Supreme Court Justice nominee through a fair and thorough hearing and vote.

LEAP also encourages President Obama to nominate one of several highly qualified Asian American jurists to the Supreme Court of the United States. LEAP acknowledges that you have appointed more diverse judges to the federal bench and would like to see you cement your legacy of inclusion through another history-making nomination.

During this time of loss, we the people, have the opening to see good leadership demonstrated and role modeled by our elected officials. This leadership includes taking action and showing that our President & Senators truly value the diversity of our country and will ensure that our institutions for the people, by the people, truly includes all of the people.

– Linda Akutagawa (LEAP President and CEO)

LEAP’s Statement on Pew’s Research Study on Asian Americans

Statement from Leadership Education for Asian Pacifics, Inc. (LEAP) on Pew’s Research Study on Asian Americans

Los Angeles, California June 20, 2012 – LEAP is encouraged by the Pew Research Center’s first step to study the important and burgeoning Asian American community in their recent study The Rise of Asian Americans. While their research on the community paints a rosy picture, the Asian American community is not monolithic and many segments of the population, who were featured only as “other”, face a significantly more difficult climb.

The study clearly identifies the importance of job and career success to Asian Americans and that they do not believe that being Asian makes no difference to school admission or hiring and promotion decisions. Yet, for Asian Americans at the highest levels of leadership in corporate America, academia, government, nonprofits and foundations, the actual numbers paint a completely different picture.

LEAP’s own research studies, launched in 2009 to measure current Asian and Pacific Islander (API) representation at the highest levels of leadership positions in different sectors of U.S. society, found that although APIs are the fastest growing minority group and a vital part of the nation’s talent pipeline, APIs remain one of the least represented groups in leadership roles:

Fortune 100:
• In 2011, only 30 companies had API representation on their boards
• 29 API directors held 32 board seats out of 1,211 total seats
• 2 out of 100 CEOs were of API descent

Top 100 Nonprofits:
• In 2011, only 47 nonprofits had API representation on their boards
• 75 API directors held 78 board seats out of 3,051 total seats
• No API served as CEO

Top 100 Foundations:
• In 2010, only 24 Foundations had API representation on their boards
• 36 API directors held 37 board seats out of 748 total seats
• No API served as CEO

Further findings on executive suite representation will be shared by LEAP on June 27, 2012 when the sixth and newest leadership series report, API Executive Officers and Top Earners in the Fortune 500 is released.

We strongly encourage the Center to dive deeper in their future reports addressing Asian Americans and report on much needed disaggregated data research and analysis to paint a clearer and more complete picture of the vast diversity of issues affecting differently all subgroups that make up this community.

About LEAP:
Leadership Education for Asian Pacifics, Inc. (LEAP) is a national organization founded in 1982 with a mission to achieve full participation and equality for Asian and Pacific Islanders (API) through leadership, empowerment and policy. With original programs in leadership training, public policy research and community education, LEAP raises the impact and visibility of APIs in all sectors. LEAP is headquartered in Los Angeles and has an office in Washington, DC.

CONTACT: Rima K. Matsumoto
VP, Research & Strategic Alliances
Tel. (202) 412-4190
[email protected]