Asian/Pacific Islander Youth Violence Prevention Center Essay

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The Asian/Pacific Islander (API) Youth Violence Prevention Center (also known as the API Center) was developed by the University of Hawaii at Manoa and the National Council on Crime and Delinquency in October of 2000. Funded by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention as one of 10 Academic Centers of Excellence in Violence Prevention, the work of the API Center has focused upon examining API youth, a relatively unknown group in relationship to violence.

The activities of the center have included conducting a risk and protective factors survey of about 700 Cambodian, Chinese, Laotian/Mien, Vietnamese, Filipino, Native Hawaiian, and Samoan youth and their parents in Oakland, California, and on the island of Oahu. Another focus has been the mobilization of API communities on violence prevention. The center has collected and disseminated data about API youth involvement in crime and violence, their academic progress, and health issues via a semiannual newsletter, fact sheets, conference presentations, articles in academic journals, participation in community events, and press conferences, as well as through the media. The work of the center led to the Statewide Dialogue on Asian and Pacific Islander Youth Violence held at the Sacramento Convention Center on August 17, 2005, which was attended by over 350 individuals. The event was cosponsored by the California Attorney General’s office and over 40 organizations.

The API Center has worked with communities in San Francisco and Richmond in California to collect data that provide portraits of the status of API youth in these communities. Lessons learned from these activities have included that aggregating data for API youth may mask many critical issues that needed to be addressed; on the surface, for API youth, crime and violence rates appear low, academic achievement seems high, and health and emotional issues are nonexistent. Disaggregating data by API ethnicity has shown that Pacific Islanders and Southeast Asian youth have had the highest crime rates after African Americans in Oakland, and the highest of all groups in San Francisco. These same groups have had among the lowest scores on standardized tests, and the highest truancy and dropout rates.

Another aspect of API youth, one that received media attention in 2005 and 2006, is their victimization in schools and in their everyday lives. This information has been captured in a survey of API youth in San Francisco in 2003, as well as in an analysis of the Healthy Kids Survey administered in the Oakland public schools every other year. Several brutal victimizations of API youth in both San Francisco and Southern California eventually led to an increase of the statute of limitations for suing perpetrators of hate crimes.

In addition to collecting data on API youth in San Francisco and Richmond, the API center has become the springboard for actively seeking services for API youth who live there.


  1. National Council on Crime and Delinquency. (2003). Culture counts: How five community-based organizations serve Asian and Pacific Islander youth. Oakland, CA: Author.
  2. National Council on Crime and Delinquency. (2003). Under the microscope: Asian and Pacific Islander youth in Oakland: Needs, issues, solutions. Oakland, CA: Author.
  3. National Council on Crime and Delinquency. (2006).
  4. Statewide dialogue on Asian and Pacific Islander youth violence: Dialogue proceedings, recommendations, resources. Oakland, CA: Author.
  5. The Services and Advocacy for Asian Youth (SAAY) Consortium. (2004). Moving beyond exclusion: Focusing on the needs of Asian/Pacific Islander youth in San Francisco. San Francisco: Author.

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