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APIDA (Asian Pacific Islander Desi Americans) Racial Justice: Home

About This Guide

This guide is designed to share resources about the Asian Pacific Islander Desi American (APIDA) experience, racial justice issues, solidarity actions, and community resource guides.

If you have suggestions for additional APIDA-related resources, please add to our growing shared document


While pan-Asian categories such as APIDA (Asian Pacific Islander Desi Americans) can play a powerful role in political organizing across nationalities, APIDA remains one of the categories created for the U.S. Census.

As DeLa Dos and Alisha Keig arguedata disaggregation and the concept of intersectionality remain vital tools for better understanding and interpreting the complex history and role of APIDA groups in the United States. This guide is designed to provide an introduction to further reading rather than a comprehensive list. 


Many thanks to to all of the Highline staff, faculty, and students who have provided feedback, resources, and intellectual inspiration for creating and developing this guide

APIDA Population

Asian and Pacific Islander Population in the United States
[Source: U.S. Census Bureau]


APIDA: "We use the term APIDA, which stands for Asian Pacific Islander Desi American, as a pan-ethnic classification that intentionally includes South Asians (Desi) as part of our community. There is a great diversity of identities and ethnicities encompassed under the APIDA umbrella, including East Asian, South Asian, Southeast Asian, and Pacific Islander." (Who is APIDA? Northwestern APIDA Staff Affinity Group)

Disaggregation of Data: "Splitting large, general categories into more specific groups. When we are talking about race data disaggregation, for example, Asian Americans can be divided into cultural groups such as Hmong, Vietnamese, Lao, Chinese, Korean, etc." By disaggregating data, researchers and decision makers can determine "what variables actually help us understand how someone might access or experience a service, what types of outcomes we might expect to see from their participation in a program, and/or what types of resilience or assets they might have to help them cope in different situations." (Minnesota Compass - Race data disaggregation: What does it mean? Why does it matter?)

Intersectionality: A theoretical framework that describes the complex personal and systematic ways that discrimination impacts the lived experiences of people across several overlapping identities (across experience of race, class, religion, gender, sexuality, ability, etc). It was first coined within Legal Studies' Critical Race Theory and third-wave Black Feminism frameworks by lawyer and academic Kimberle Crenshaw over 30 years ago. Many activists speak of the importance of intersectional-understandings and values being central to wider justice movements beyond single-issue or identity camps (see the Intersectionality article linked below).

Intersectionality, explained: meet Kimberlé Crenshaw, who coined the term 30 years ago, it was a relatively obscure legal concept. Then it went viral.

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