By Kelvin Vuong
We just wrapped up a national debrief and retreat with APIAVote National partners. All of the many organizations that came together from throughout the US (see the list below) really highlighted the power of the AAPI voice and the need to ensure the we all have a voice at the table. Though we come from all different backgrounds, we share a common identity as integral parts of American society.
From organizations just starting with electoral engagement last year to those continuing on for the umpteenth year, there was much to learn from all of our partners and allies. Innovative uses of social media and traditional grassroots organizing increased the community's presence throughout the US. Some key learnings that we at APIAVote-Michigan will be and have been grappling with and were lifted up at the retreat are:
1) Elections are a cycle, but there really is no start or end. Though we really gear up our efforts during election years, we need to think about how we engage and maintain relationships with our communities
throughout the year. At APIAVote-Michigan we're working to expand our program. Later this month on April 16, we'll be sharing the results of our Needs Assessment Project. RSVP now.
APIAVote-Michigan plans on continuing our voter engagement efforts in targeted Southeast Michigan municipal elections in 2013 to continue the momentum heading into the 2014 midterm elections.
2) Our community has great leaders and leadership potential, and we need to foster this and develop potentials for leadership. If we aren't going to be fostering our young people and engaging them to participate civically in society, who will? At APIAVote-Michigan, we hold annual youth leadership trainings to do just that. Know someone who would be great, tell them now or sign up here.
3) We need to not be afraid to ask for resources. Electoral work is critical to ensuring that we have a voice, and it's not free to do this work. We need support from our communities. Whether it be time, money, or in-kind donations, we need your support. So how about it? Can you donate $25 and become a member of APIAVote Michigan right now?
As a new member of the APIAVote-Michigan Board of Directors, I'm in awe of the work that we have done and am excited about the work we continue to do and will do in the years to come. I hope you will join
us on this journey!
List of Partner Organizations at the Retreat:
Georgia - Asian American Legal Advocacy Center
Virginia - NaFFAA, South Asian Legal Defense and Education Fund, Hai
Hua Community Center, Voices of Vietnamese Americans
Hawaii - No Vote No Grumble
California - Empowering Pacific Islander Communities
Florida - Asian American Federation of Florida
North Carolina - National Association of Asian American Professionals
-Research Triangle Park
Texas - Boat People SOS, OCA-Greater Houston
New York - MinKwon Center
Ohio - Asian Services In Action
Oregon - Asian Pacific American Network of Oregon
Washington - Asian Pacific Americans for Civic Engagement
Minnesota - Minnesota Collaborative
National - ECAASU, NAPA