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Monday, October 4, 2010

Diversity a Strength in Maryland

Dave Wang

Maryland is 42nd in size in the United States. On this small tract of land, however, we have the 19th highest population and two of the wealthiest counties in the nation (Montgomery and Howard). We also enjoy being one of the most diverse states in our country. 30% of Marylanders are African-American, 6% are Hispanic, and 6% are Asian American.

We are poised to join Hawaii, New Mexico, Texas, and California as the only majority-minority states in the Union.

I've heard Governor O'Malley say on several occasions that diversity is Maryland's greatest strength. A diversity of informed voices in the conversation means more ideas, more innovation, and more solutions.

As Director of Asian American and Pacific Islander (AAPI) outreach for the Maryland Democratic Party, I see tremendous potential for growth of political activism for the AAPI community in our State. Over the past decade, Maryland's population has grown by about 7.6%. The AAPI community has grown by 32.8%. According to the US Census, the AAPI community is the fastest growing ethnic group in Maryland, slightly outpacing growth even of Hispanics.

And we vote Democrat.

According to a 2009 Gallup poll, while Americans tend to lean Democrat 49-41 (this changes on a weekly basis, but this figure serves as a good baseline for our purposes), AAPI lean Democrat 61-24. This staggering number puts AAPI behind only African Americans in progressive tendencies.

The Maryland Democratic Party wisely rolled out the "Diversity Leadership Councils" this year, which gives the ethnic groups of Maryland a permanent voice within the Party. The AAPI Leadership Council has Committees for Grassroots Outreach, Communications, Finance, and Membership.

The grassroots committee has completed over 2,000 calls on behalf of the Party and Governor O'Malley in Howard and Montgomery County, and organized three community meetings with attendance of over 200 individuals.

The communications committee puts out a monthly newsletter to our subscribers and submits articles to AAPI-specific media outlets, such as newspapers and radio shows.

The finance committee cultivates the community of AAPI donors and keeps and updated list of them. The membership committee focuses on recruiting new people to join the Council.

To find out more about us, to start a local chapter, or to get involved in Howard or Montgomery County, email For press inquiries, please contact Co-Director Cezar Lopez at


Editor's Note: Dave Wang is Director
Asian American Outreach
Maryland Democratic Party/Coordinated Campaign

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