Ong Highlights Disproportionate Suffering of Asian American Businesses

Paul Ong, director of the Center for Neighborhood Knowledge at UCLA Luskin, was featured in an NBC News article about challenges facing Asian American communities during the pandemic. One study co-authored by Ong found that Asian-owned businesses were hit the hardest during the pandemic due to halts in customer-facing operations as well as increased racism. To better support lower-income and underrepresented Asian American and Pacific Islander communities, the White House announced an initiative to disaggregate data under the “Asian” umbrella and expand language options for federal programs. Ong noted that some Asian American entrepreneurs are immigrants with a rudimentary command of English that is not sufficient to navigate federal program applications, especially when the information is provided only in English. He said some older business owners were not aware programs like the Paycheck Protection Program existed and could not quickly move their services online. “There seems to be a double whammy,” Ong said.

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