DNC 2020: Spotlight on Milwaukee’s Asian American Communities

The Democrats announced Milwaukee as the site for the 2020 Democratic National Convention, July 13-16, 2020. Milwaukee’s Hmong and Asian American communities will have an opportunity to shine in the national spotlight.

Wisconsin voters last November elected Indian American Josh Kaul as Attorney General, the first Asian American to hold that office.

Milwaukee’s Asian American population began with immigrants from China in the late 19th century and grew modestly until the 1970s when the devastation of the Vietnam War brought a surge of Hmong families from Laos, Vietnam, and Thailand to start a new life in the Midwest.

Milwaukee is also a thriving college town, and a number of international students choose to make their home there after graduation.

The result is a multifaceted Asian American experience in the city and a population numbering over 20,000 strong as of the 2010 census.

In addition to the growing Hmong community, Milwaukee’s diverse Asian American population includes Americans and immigrants of Korean, Japanese, Vietnamese, Chinese, Filipino, and Indian ethnicity.

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CAPAC Announces Newly Elected Leadership for the 116th Congress

The Congressional Asian Pacific American Caucus (CAPAC) this week elected its leadership for the 116th Congress.

Congresswoman Judy Chu (CA-27) was re-elected as Chair of the Congressional Asian Pacific American Caucus (CAPAC); Congresswoman Grace Meng (NY-06) was elected as First Vice Chair; Congressman Mark Takano (CA-41) was elected as Second Vice Chair; Congressman Ted Lieu (CA-33) was elected as Whip; and Congressman Andy Kim (NJ-03) was elected as the Freshman Representative.

“Since its founding in 1994, CAPAC has always strived to ensure that diverse voices are represented in the halls of Congress,” said Chair Chu. “I am honored to have been re-elected as Chair of CAPAC and to serve alongside the incredible Members of our leadership team. Not only is the 116th Congress the most diverse in history, but it also includes a record number of 20 AAPI Members of Congress and our largest CAPAC membership in history.

“I want to congratulate our newly elected CAPAC leadership team, including First Vice Chair Grace Meng, Second Vice Chair Mark Takano, Whip Ted Lieu, and Freshman Representative Andy Kim. I look forward to working with all of them to advance CAPAC’s priorities in the 116th Congress.

“I also want to congratulate our newly appointed CAPAC Task Force leads: CAPAC Appropriations Task Force Chair Grace Meng; Civil Rights Task Force Chair Bobby Scott (VA-03); Economic Development Task Force Chair Ro Khanna (CA-17); Education Task Force Chair Mark Takano; Healthcare Task Force Co-Chairs Barbara Lee (CA-13) and Ami Bera (CA-07); Housing Task Force Chair Al Green (TX-09); Immigration Task Force Chair Pramila Jayapal (WA-07); Veterans & Armed Services Task Force Chair Ted Lieu; and Native Hawaiian & Pacific Islander Task Force Chair Michael San Nicolas (GU).

“CAPAC is also excited to welcome five new Executive Committee members, Andy Kim, TJ Cox (CA-21), Michael San Nicolas, Ed Case (HI-01), and Gil Cisneros (CA-39), as well as two new Associate members, Hakeem Jeffries (NY-08) and Harley Rouda (CA-48).

“Together, the CAPAC Members of the 116th Congress will continue to be a strong voice for the AAPI community and work to build a brighter future for all Americans

The Congressional Asian Pacific American Caucus (CAPAC) is comprised of Members of Congress of Asian and Pacific Islander descent and Members who have a strong dedication to promoting the well-being of the Asian American and Pacific Islander (AAPI) community. Currently chaired by Congresswoman Judy Chu, CAPAC has been addressing the needs of the AAPI community in all areas of American life since it was founded in 1994.

David Chiu elected new chair of Calif. API Legislative Caucus

California Assemblymember David Chiu announced today his election as Chair of the Asian and Pacific Islander Legislative Caucus:

This month, I’m humbled to have been elected the new Chair of the Asian and Pacific Islander Legislative Caucus. As the son of immigrant parents, serving our API communities has been a lifelong passion of mine. As the first Asian American to represent eastern San Francisco in the California legislature, I am grateful that my colleagues have given me the opportunity to lead the Caucus. I want to thank outgoing chair Assemblymember Rob Bonta for his tremendous leadership, and look forward to working around the state to ensure the needs of our diverse API communities are met.

David was first elected to the California State Assembly in November 2014, representing the 17th Assembly District, which encompasses eastern San Francisco. He was re-elected in 2016 and 2018.

Prior to joining the State Assembly, David served as President of the San Francisco Board of Supervisors for six years. He was the first Asian American to hold the post. David’s reputation as a problem solver led his fellow supervisors to select him as Board President for an unprecedented three consecutive terms. As Board President, David Chiu authored 110 ordinances across a wide range of policy areas.

In his first year in the state legislature, David was appointed by Speaker Toni Atkins to serve as Assistant Speaker pro Tempore. Since 2015, David has served as Chair of the Assembly Housing and Community Development Committee.

Before elected office, David served as a civil rights attorney with the Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights, a criminal prosecutor with the San Francisco District Attorney’s Office, and a founder and Chief Operating Officer of a public affairs technology company, Grassroots Enterprise.

In the mid-1990s, David served as Democratic Counsel to the U.S. Senate Constitution Subcommittee and Senator Paul Simon’s aide to the U.S. Senate Budget Committee.

The first son of immigrant parents, David Chiu grew up in Boston and received his undergraduate, law and master’s in public policy degrees from Harvard University. David is married to Candace Chen. A third-generation San Franciscan, Candace is a public interest lawyer who manages a refugee and foster care youth program. David and Candace are raising their two-year-old son, Lucas.

Midterms: Asian Americans continue to make political history

UPDATE (11/08/18, 5:00 p.m. PT): A number of additional Asian American victories were added thanks to the feedback from many election watchers.

We took back the House on Election Day and a number of Asian Americans made political history.

Numerous groups heavily invested in Asian American voter activation and helped ensure that our communities turned out.

  • The CAPA21 PAC raised more than $100,000 for candidates and field activities through its Asian Americans #TakeItBack campaign.
  • The Asian Americans Against Trumpism PAC ran in-language print ads opposing Republican candidates in Congressional Districts 39, 45, and 48 in Southern California.
  • APALA’s civic engagement program focused on door knocking, phone banking, registering voters, and protecting voters at the polls in California, Minnesota, Nevada, Pennsylvania, Virginia, and Washington.
  • APIAVote was part of the largest national election protection coalition in history and conducted a wide range of programs including a voter hotline and in-language voting resources,

Below is a list highlighting results or the status (as of Nov. 8 at 9 a.m. Pacific Time) of races across the country involving Asian American candidates or communities. This is not meant to be an exhaustive list. If you have something to add to this list, share your comment on our Facebook post.


Democrat Hiral Tipirneni (House, Arizona 8th) lost to Debbie Lesko.


Democrats Doris Matsui, Ami Bera, Ro Khanna, Judy Chu, Ted Lieu, Mark Takano all won re-election. Rep. Chu chairs the Congressional Asian Pacific American Caucus. Democrat TJ Cox (California 21st) lost to Rep. David Valadao. Democrat Andrew Janz (California 22nd) lost to Rep. Devin Nunes. Democrat Gil Cisneros trails Republican Young Kim in California 39th. If Kim wins, she will be the first Korean American woman elected to the U.S. House.

At the state level, Controller Betty Yee was re-elected and will joined at the state executive ranks by Fiona Ma as Treasurer, succeeding John Chiang in that position.


Democrat William Tong was elected as the state’s first Asian American attorney general. He is the nation’s second Asian American elected attorney general. UPDATE: Tong joins Josh Kaul of Wisconsin as the second and third Asian Americans elected state attorneys general. I’ll leave to others to decide who’s second and third.


Rep. Stephanie Murphy (Florida 7th) won re-election.


Democrat Stacey Abrams is standing strong and refusing to concede the governor’s race after an election marred by voter disenfranchisement. Asian Americans were part of a coalition of civil rights groups that sued secretary of state Brian Kemp in his official capacity over a 2017 voting law that hampered the registrations of more than 50,000 people — of whom approximately 80 percent are Black, Latino or Asian American.


Senator Mazie Hirono, Rep. Tulsi Gabbard, and Gov. David Ige each easily won re-election. Ige is the country’s only Asian American governor. Former Rep. Ed Case returns to Congress, succeeding Colleen Hanabusa who vied for but lost her primary challenge against Ige. Both houses of the state legislature are led by Japanese Americans, Ron Kouchi in the Senate and Scott Saiki in the House. Native Hawaiian Keali`i Lopez chairs the Hawai’i Democratic Party. Filipina American Shirlene DelaCruz Santiago Ostrov chairs the state Republican Party.


Rep. Raja Krishnamoorthi (D) won re-election. State Rep. Theresa Mah (D), the first Asian American elected to the Illinois General Assembly, was re-elected, and will be joined in the legislature by Democrat Ram Villivalam, the first Indian American elected to the Illinois state Senate.

UPDATE: Jennifer Gong-Gershowitz was elected state representative.


UPDATE: Democrat Tram Nguyen unseated incumbent Republican state Rep. Jim Lyons.


State Rep. Stephanie Chang won election to the state Senate. She is the first Asian American woman to serve in the Michigan Legislature.


Democratic–Farmer–Labor state Rep. Fue Lee won re-election and will be joined by a record four other DFL Hmong Americans in the state legislature: Jay Xiong, Kaohly Her, Samantha Vang, and Tou Xiong.


Rep. Jacky Rosen defeated Sen. Dean Heller with help from the Asian American community, including efforts by APALA and One APIA Nevada.


Democrat Andy Kim declared victory last night over incumbent Rep. Tom MacArthur in New Jersey’s 3rd Congressional District. This will be the first time a Korean American serves in Congress since 1999.


Rep. Grace Meng won re-election. Meng, the first Asian American Member of Congress from New York State, chairs the ASPIRE PAC, the leadership PAC of the Congressional Asian Pacific American Caucus.

Taiwanese American John Liu and Indian American Kevin Thomas – both Democrats – were elected as the first Asian Americans elected to New York’s state senate. Yuh-Line Niou (D) and Ron Kim (D) in the State Assembly both won re-election.


Update: Democrat Patty Kim won re-election to the Pennsylvania House of Representatives.


Gina Ortiz Jones (D) is standing her ground and refusing to concede to Rep. Will Hurd (R), trailing him by less than 700 votes. Sri Preston Kulkarni (D) lost his challenge to Rep. Pete Olson (R). And Beto … sigh.

UPDATE: Three Asian American women were re-elected unopposed in El Paso County Texas. District Judge Linda Chew, Probate Judge Patricia Chew, and County Court At Law Judge M. Sue Kurita.

And additional Asian American election wins:

Christine Weems, Judge for 281st Judicial District Court

Frances Bourliot, Justice 14th Court of Appeals District, Place 5

Gene Wu (re-elected), Texas House of Representatives, District 137

Hubert Vo (re-elected), Texas House of Representatives, District 149

Jason Luong, Judge for Texas District Court 185

Juli Mathew, Judge for Fort Bend County Court @ Law, No 3

Rabeea Collier, Judge for 113th Civil District Court of Harris County

KP George, Fort Bend County Commissioners Court Judge


Rep. Bobby Scott won re-election. Scott is the only Filipino American currently serving in Congress.


Rep. Pramila Jayapal won re-election.

This is not meant to be an exhaustive list. If you have something to add to this list, share your comment on our Facebook post.


UPDATE: Indian American Josh Kaul declared victory in the state attorney general’s race. Kaul joins William Tong of Connecticut as the second and third Asian Americans elected state attorneys general. I’ll leave to others to decide who’s second and third.

Dr. Leana Wen Becomes First Asian American and First Immigrant to Serve as President of Planned Parenthood

Planned Parenthood Federation of America today announced that Dr. Leana Wen will serve as its sixth president — the first time in nearly 50 years that a physician will helm the organization.

Dr. Wen currently serves as the Commissioner of Health for the City of Baltimore. A patient advocate and emergency physician, she has led the Baltimore City Health Department — the oldest, continuously-operated health department in the United States — since January 2015.

Dr. Wen has dedicated her career to expanding access to health care for the most vulnerable communities, reducing health disparities, and finding innovative solutions to address public health problems. Known as the “Doctor for the City” in Baltimore, she oversees more than 1,000 employees with an annual budget of $130 million; two clinics that provide more than 18,000 patients with reproductive health services; and medical programs for 180 Baltimore schools.

As a practicing physician, Dr. Wen helped organized thousands of doctors and health professionals against President Trump’s proposed domestic gag rule, saying it fundamentally alters the nature of the doctor-patient relationship and will dramatically reduce the quality of care for thousands of women.

Last month, Dr. Wen helped lead a lawsuit against the Trump administration for intentionally and unlawfully sabotaging the Affordable Care Act, jeopardizing health care for thousands of people in Baltimore.

Under her direction, the Baltimore City Health Department leads the country in health innovations and was recently recognized by the National Association of County and City Health Officials as the Local Health Department of the Year.

Dr. Wen was born in Shanghai, China, and immigrated to the United States with her family just before her eighth birthday. She and her parents were granted political asylum, and they became U.S. citizens in 2003.

Dr. Wen graduated summa cum laude from California State University, Los Angeles at the age of 18, and earned her medical degree from Washington University School of Medicine before becoming a Rhodes Scholar. She obtained her master’s degrees at the University of Oxford and completed her residency training at Brigham & Women’s Hospital and Massachusetts General Hospital, where she was a Clinical Fellow at Harvard Medical School. During medical school, she was elected president of the American Medical Student Association and took a year off to fulfill her leadership duties, including leading 65,000 physicians-in-training to fight for universal health and advocate for reproductive rights.

Growing up, Dr. Wen, as well as her mother and younger sister, often relied on Planned Parenthood for health care. During medical school, she volunteered at a Planned Parenthood health center in St. Louis.

Dr. Wen has received recognition as Modern Healthcare’s 50 Most Influential Physician Executives and Leaders and Top 25 Minority Executives in Healthcare. A Fellow of the American Academy of Emergency Medicine and Academy of Medicine, she serves on the faculty at the George Washington University School of Medicine and the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health. In 2016, Dr. Wen was honored to be the recipient American Public Health Association’s highest award for local public health work. In 2017, she was named one of Governing’s Public Officials of the Year.

Dr. Wen and her husband, Sebastian, have a one-year old son.

Dr. Wen’s first day at Planned Parenthood Federation of America will be November 12.

Read the full announcement from PPFA here.

Photo via 1199SEIU

How AAPIs fared in the Hawai’i, Minnesota, and Connecticut Primaries

Hawai’i held its primaries on Saturday and Minnesota and Connecticut had contests yesterday.


U.S. Senator Mazie Hirono was unopposed in the Democratic primary and will face Republican Ron Curtis and nonpartisan Arturo Pacheco Reyes in the general election.

Samoan American Rep. Tulsi Gabbard won re-election against challenger Sherry Alu Campagna, who has Native Hawaiian, Japanese, and Chinese heritage, to retain her seat representing Hawai’i’s House 2nd. Gabbard will face former state Rep. Cam Cavasso in the general Republican Brian Evans.

In the First Congressional District, a seat vacated by Rep. Colleen Hanabusa to run for Governor, the Democratic Primary was won by former Rep. Ed Case. Lt. Gov. and former state Attorney General Doug Chin came in second, with state Sen. Donna Mercado Kim (Filipino/Korean American) placing third. Justice Democrat state Rep. Kaniela Saito Ing (Native Hawaiian/Japanese American), and Republican-turned-Dem former state Rep. Beth Fukumoto rounded out the top five. Case will face Republican Brian Evans former state Rep. Cam Cavasso in the general.

The heated race for governor saw incumbent Gov. David Ige prevail against Congresswoman Colleen Hanabusa. Ige will face GOP gubernatorial nominee state Rep. Andria Tupola (Samoan American).

Hawai’i’s major political parties are both led by AAPI women: Native Hawaiian Keali`i Lopez is the Democratic Party chair; Filipina American Shirlene De La Cruz Ostrov chairs the state Republican Party.


Hmong American Jay Xiong was unopposed in the DFL primary for the state House seat representing the east side of St. Paul. Hmong American Samantha Vang won a three-way race in the DFL primary for another House seat. North Minneapolis state Rep. Fue Lee (also Hmong American) won his DFL primary.

UPDATE 8/15/18: I received a note from Prof. Lee Pao Xiong, Director of the Center for Hmong Studies at Concordia University, St. Paul. I include below parts of this message.

Dear Keith,

For Minnesota, you should add, Gaoly Her also ran for a state representative seat unopposed in St. Paul for the seat vacated by Representative Erin Murphy when she resigned for the gubernatorial seat. Councilmember Tou Xiong also ran for state representative seat in Maplewood unopposed.  If successful, we will have five Hmong-American in the Minnesota House of Representative.  With Minnesota State Senator, we will have six Hmong-Americans serving in the Minnesota State Legislature and three Hmong Americans in the Ramsey County judicial system as judges.

Former Minneapolis City Councilmember also ran for a seat on the Hennepin County Board. He will advance to the general election in November.

Two Hmong individuals also ran for judgeship in  Ramsey County.  They too will go on to the general election in November.

If successful in November, former Eau Claire City Councilmember Thomas Vue will be the first Hmong-American and Asian to serve on the Wisconsin State Assembly.

A great era for Hmong-Americans political engagement.


State Rep. William Tong won the Democratic primary for state Attorney General, and is the first Asian American nominee from any party for that position. Dita Bhargava lost her Dem primary race for state Treasurer.


Filipina American community leader and advocate Dr. Dawn Bohulano Mabalon passed away on August 10 while vacationing in Hawaiʻi. A memorial fund has been established in her memory. Dawn was Associate Professor of History at San Francisco State University, where she taught courses in United States history, race and ethnicity, food history, and US/Philippines relations. Read more.


August 20: “Trump/Abe Bromance – An Assessment”
with Glen S. Fukushima, presented by Japan Society of Northern California
Monday, August 20 | 12:00 PM – 2:00 PM
PricewaterhouseCoopers LLP |  3 Embarcadero Center 20th Floor, San Francisco

Join award-winning author and US-Japan trade expert Glen S. Fukushima as he assesses the Trump/Abe relationship from the perspectives of Washington and Tokyo, and considers whether it will remain strong. He will also explore the future of US-Japan trade, investment and security ties should those bonds continue to fray. Fukushima was elected to two terms as President of the American Chamber of Commerce in Japan and is currently a Board member of the Japan-America societies in Boston, San Francisco, and Washington, DC, as well as Honorary Co-Chairman of the National Association of Japan-America Societies. Gourmet Japanese bento lunch will be provided.

Glen is co-founder and chair of the CAPA21 Action Fund.

August 26: Unite for Justice #StopKavanaugh

All across the country, Americans will stand united on August 26 in commitment to our freedom and our future to demand that the U.S. Senate stop Judge Brett Kavanaugh’s nomination for a lifelong appointment to the Supreme Court.

In Brett Kavanaugh, Donald Trump chose a nominee who not only has extremist, ultra-conservative legal views on a range of issues, but who has repeatedly argued that the Supreme Court should put the president above the law. Donald Trump is at the center of a criminal investigation, and he should not be allowed to pick his own judge and jury.

Kavanaugh would rule against reproductive freedom, health care, the environment, voting rights, workers’ rights, LGBTQ rights, and immigrant rights for generations. Senators in all fifty states must listen to their constituents, do their jobs to uphold the will of the people, protect the soul of our country and Constitution, and block this nomination. United, we will fight to ensure Brett Kavanaugh never gets confirmed by the Senate. We will #StopKavanaugh. Join us.

How Asian Americans* fared in yesterday’s primaries

* and a Muslim American

Here’s some Asian American highlights – focused mostly on Congressional races – from yesterday’s primaries in Kansas, Michigan, Missouri, and Washington.

But first … We salute U.S. Senator Mazie Hirono for continuing to be a strong critic of the Kavanaugh nomination.

Washington StateRep. Pramila Jayapal won her top-two race against Republican Craig Keller with 81 percent to 19 percent. Rep. Jayapal and Keller face off again in the general. She is the first Indian American woman to serve in the House of Representatives, the first women to represent her district in Congress, and the first Asian American to represent Washington in Congress.

Michigan – Former state representative Rashida Tlaib is on her way to become the first Muslim woman elected to Congress after securing the Democratic primary in Michigan’s 13th, formerly represented by Congressman John Conyers. Suneel Gupta came in third in a crowded primary field in Michigan’s 11th. Special mention: State Rep. Stephanie Chang, elected the first Asian American woman in the Michigan State Legislature, won her race for the state senate.

Kansas – There were no Asian American candidates in federal races, but Rui Xu won his uncontested primary for Kansas 25th state house district. His general opponent is Republican Melissa Rooker, the incumbent representative.

Missouri – No Asian American candidates that I’m aware of, but some trivia: Republican Eric Greitens (who resigned as governor rather than face impeachment over allegations of sexual misconduct and violations of campaign finance law) appointed in March 2017 the first Asian American cabinet official – Anna S. Hui – in the state’s history. Hui remains the Director of the Department of Labor and Industrial Relations.

Upcoming Primaries

August 11: Hawaii
August 14: Connecticut, Minnesota, Vermont
August 21: Alaska, Wyoming
August 28: Arizona, Florida


United For Compassion 2: A Japantown Community Gathering
Don Tamaki from the #StopRepeatingHistory campaign will speak tomorrow night (Aug. 9) at a San Francisco Japantown community gathering to address issues such as family separations at the border, the Muslim ban, and racial and religious scapegoating.

San Francisco Fundraiser for Gina Ortiz Jones (TX-23) 
Thursday, August 16th
San Francisco, CA


Dale Minami: The Math (and Path) is Clear. We Must Take Back Congress in Order to Restrain Trump.

NAPAWF condemns the President’s decision to nominate Brett Kavanaugh to the Supreme Court.

AALDEF is concerned that the nomination of Judge Kavanaugh does not augur well for immigrants and communities of color.

A group led by conservative activist Ed Blum is suing Harvard University for discrimination against Asian Americans. Make sure you have the facts.

Black Man Confronts Racist Woman Complaining About Asians at a Boston Supermarket.

Yesterday’s elections advance history-making Asian American candidates

Arkansas, Georgia, Kentucky, and Texas held their primaries yesterday.

Gina Ortiz Jones won the Democratic primary in the Texas 23rd Congressional and could become the first lesbian, Iraq War veteran, and first-generation Filipina American to hold a US House seat in Texas. http://ginaortizjones.com

Sri Preston Kulkarni won the Democratic primary in the Texas 22rd Congressional and could become the first Indian American Member of Congress from Texas. http://kulkarniforcongress.com

David Kim advances to a July 24 Democratic primary run-off in the Georgia 7th Congressional. http://davidkim2018.com

IN OTHER RACES, Asian American voters have an opportunity to elect history-making candidates of color.

Former Dallas sheriff Lupe Valdez won the Democratic primary runoff Tuesday to become the state’s first-ever openly gay and Latina gubernatorial nominee from a major party. http://lupevaldez.com

Stacey Abrams won the Democratic gubernatorial primary in Georgia and is in her way to become the country’s first Black woman to serve as Governor. http://staceyabrams.com

Steve Phillips writes in The Nation (http://bit.ly/2KQktmz) on how a coalition of people of color and progressive whites propelled Abrams to the nomination.

DID YOU KNOW that no Asian American or Pacific Islander Democrat has ever been elected to the Nevada legislature?

Nevada AAPI community leader Evan Louie wrote earlier this week: “In our national landscape, Nevada is a strategic state for our AAPI community with the fastest growing demographic in the entire U.S. We talk about the importance of the AAPI vote for Federal, State, and Municipal elections yet the most important thing is that we have no representation in our state legislature. In fact, there has been ZERO AAPI’s Democrats in Nevada’s state legislature in history. We have had two Republicans in the past over the decades of elections.”

Thanks to Paul Nimsuwan, we have a chance to change that. Paul is running for the Democratic nomination on June 12 in Nevada’s 35th Assembly district. A former Marine and Presidential Management Fellow, Paul is also a lawyer and entrepreneur. Learn more about Paul and donate to his campaign: http://paul4nevada.com/donate

TWO NEW PUBLICATIONS launched this month.

CAPAC Chair Chu, House Leadership, and the House Administration Committee launched the new “Asian and Pacific Islander Americans in Congress” publication, the most comprehensive history available on the Asian and Pacific Islander Americans who have served in Congress. http://bit.ly/2LbE2Xx

The U.S. Department of Interior published “Finding a Path Forward: Asian American Pacific Islander National Historic Landmarks Theme Study,” which will serve as a guiding document to preserve Asian American and Pacific Islander cultural and historic sites of national significance. http://bit.ly/2KMJsHL

AAPI National Historic Landmarks Theme Study Released

The U.S. Department of Interior hosted an event today with Asian and Pacific Islander Americans in Historic Preservation to celebrate the completion of “Finding a Path Forward: Asian American Pacific Islander National Historic Landmarks Theme Study,” which will serve as a guiding document to preserve Asian American and Pacific Islander cultural and historic sites of national significance.

Former Department of Interior Secretary Ken Salazar in 2013 led efforts to develop a theme study focused on the historical and cultural contributions of Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders in America.

“The sites identified in this theme study reflect the rich history and cultural contributions of the Asian American and Pacific Islander community, from historic temples and schools to World War II Japanese American confinement sites,” said Congresswoman Judy Chu, Chair of the Congressional Asian Pacific American Caucus. “They tell the tale of individual experiences that simply cannot be told in words, and memorialize specific times in history that shaped who we are as a nation.”


New Publication is Most Comprehensive History on AAPIs Who Served in Congress

In a press release today, CAPAC Chair Chu, House Leadership, and House Administration Committee launched the new “Asian and Pacific Islander Americans in Congress” publication, the most comprehensive history available on the Asian and Pacific Islander Americans who have served in Congress.

The Office of the Historian and the Office of the Clerk produced the historical reference publication under the guidance of the Committee on House Administration.

Congresswoman Judy Chu (CA-27), CAPAC Chair: “As Chair of the Congressional Asian Pacific American Caucus, I am so thrilled by the launch of this historic publication, which chronicles the rich history and contribution of the 60 Asian Americans, Native Hawaiians, and Pacific Islanders who have served in the U.S. Congress since 1900. Flipping through the pages of this publication, I am reminded of the immense strength and resilience of our community.  In just over a century, we have gone from nearly complete exclusion and marginalization at the hands of the U.S. government to now being an integral part of the diversity that makes our nation great.

“My own grandfather was forced to carry a certificate of registration at all times or risk deportation due to discriminatory anti-Asian laws pass by the federal government.  To be able to serve as the first Chinese American woman elected to Congress just two generations later alongside a record number of 18 AAPI elected officials in Congress is truly a testament to how far we have come.”

Congresswoman Nancy Pelosi (CA-12), Democratic Leader of the United States House of Representatives: “The House Historian’s excellent new book is a wonderful celebration of the proud history and dedicated service of AAPI Members of Congress.  As we celebrate Asian Pacific American Heritage Month, this book offers a fitting tribute to the innumerable contributions that AAPI trailblazers have made to the Congress and to the country.  It was a pleasure to join CAPAC to honor the leadership of AAPI Members of Congress in the fight to advance diversity, equality and opportunity across America.”

Read more about the publication here. It can be downloaded as a PDF for free.

Rep. Judy Chu, Political Groups Announce Joint Effort to Advance AAPI Empowerment

Today, Rep. Judy Chu, chair of the Congressional Asian Pacific American Caucus (CAPAC) and leaders from CAPA21 Action and other Asian American and Pacific Islander (AAPI) political organizations announced their efforts to maximize the AAPI community’s impact on the November 2018 elections.

Joined by congressional candidates Hiral Tipirneni (AZ-08), David Min (CA-45), Aruna Miller (MD-06), Andy Kim (NJ-03) and Aftab Pureval (OH-01), the organizations pledge to support the record number of AAPI candidates who are running for Congress through the launch of the AAPI Clearinghouse.

The AAPI Clearinghouse will provide political activists a unified place to learn about the more than 50 AAPI candidates who are running for Congress and the opportunities to support them in the 2018 mid-term elections and beyond.

Through the Clearinghouse, the organizations aim to collaborate with each other to strengthen their political voice, empower the AAPI community nationwide, and demonstrate the power and influence of the AAPI community on the country’s future.

“This collaboration between AAPI political organizations is a positive step toward achieving the fullest political representation that our communities deserve,” said Glen S. Fukushima, CAPA21 Action Chair. “We must uplift our collective voices and stand against those who seek to diminish and divide us.”

Thirteen AAPI political organizations have united to maximize political representation and victory in the November 2018 elections: AAPI Progressive Action, AAPI Victory Fund, America’s Opportunity Fund (AOF), APALA, Asian American Action Fund, ASPIRE PAC, CAPA21 Action Fund, Desis for Progress, Indian American Impact Fund, KAYA, Korean Americans for Organizing (KAFO), PIVOT and (RUN).

The AAPI Clearinghouse can be found at: https://aaafund.org.

“There is so much at stake with this year’s mid-term elections. That’s why an unprecedented number of AAPI candidates are running for Congress so we can have a larger voice in our political system. These political organizations are pledging to do all they can to elect more AAPI candidates to Congress and turn out the AAPI vote. We cannot take any opportunity for granted. It starts with launching the Clearinghouse so candidates and voters from across the country know where to turn for resources. By working towards a unified goal, AAPIs will secure our place at the table,” said Rep. Judy Chu, Immediate Past Chair of ASPIRE PAC and Chair of the Congressional Asian Pacific American Caucus.

“We must invest early in candidates who can increase the diversity of our elected officials,” said Tung Nguyen, Chair of AAPI Progressive Action. “I look forward to this partnership, which will undoubtedly increase our ability and resources to support progressive AAPI candidates.”

“The electorate in America has changed, and the old campaign playbook of ignoring smaller communities resulted in disastrous results in the 2016 elections,” said Shekar Narasimhan, Chair of the AAPI Victory Fund. “Elections continue to be won by the slimmest of margins and ensuring success requires candidates to get the ‘margin of victory’ votes. With the right investment and cultivation, we can ensure a sustainable majority.”

“America’s Opportunity Fund is committed to serving the progressive AAPI community and our participation with our allies and colleagues through the AAPI Clearinghouse will allow us to be a resource to AAPI candidates, operatives, and activists who are interested in growing our political pipeline. We look forward to creating more opportunities for collaboration and strengthening our strategic alliances within the community as we utilize the resources provided by our individual organizations,” said Allen Chen, Program Director of America’s Opportunity Fund (AOF).

“The stakes for our community and our country have never been higher than in this mid-term election. The Asian American Action Fund is thrilled to support ten extraordinary AAPI candidates for Congress in this historically important election, and honored to work with a dozen important AAPI groups to build and maintain the new online AAPI clearinghouse on behalf of our community. AAPIs persons have made great progress in the political arena during the last twenty years, and by working together more closely we are looking forward to shaping the outcome of the November elections,” said Paul Tiao, Co-Founder of the Asian American Action Fund.

“ASPIRE PAC is proud to join the new AAPI Clearinghouse. We have an unprecedented number of AAPI candidates running for federal office across the country, and this online clearinghouse will give AAPI voters the information they need to engage with these campaigns and make their voices heard,” said ASPIRE PAC Chair Congresswoman Grace Meng.

“The strength of our community comes from our diversity. Until now, each organization focused entirely on empowering the voices and mobility of those whose backgrounds and interests aligned with their core mission. Today’s unification of multiple organizations combines our ability to bring real political and policy power to the issues that affect the entire Asian American diaspora. We are proud to join these efforts and to bring the perspective of our progressive South Asian supporters,” said Koustubh “K.J.” Bagchi, Chair of Desis for Progress.

“At a time when our community and our values are under attack by xenophobic rhetoric and regressive policies, it is more critical than ever that Indian Americans build and wield political power to fight back,” said Gautam Raghavan, Indian American Impact Fund. “We are inspired and energized by the over 80 Indian American candidates on the ballot in 2018, and in particular, the four Congressional challengers and six state and local candidates we have endorsed thus far. Voters are hungry for the kind of fresh thinking and bold leadership that they represent, and we look forward to helping them run, win, and lead.”

“KAYA: Filipino Americans for Progress™ remains fully committed to mobilizing the Filipino American community as we approach the 2018 midterm elections and beyond. From supporting candidates with progressive values on the local and national level to putting together leadership programs that empower young Filipino Americans, KAYA’s goal is to prepare our generation and the next generation to be the voice for our communities. We stand united with other members of the Asian American and Pacific Islander community to build a brighter and more inclusive future for all Americans,” said Mary Tablante, KAYA chair.

“A central hub for all grassroots, Democratic AAPI organizations will enable us to unify all of our brands under one roof so we can amplify our work, take advantage of expanded networks, and consolidate AAPI political action to be as impactful as possible in our work to elect progressive leaders. KAFO is excited to be a part of the AAPI Clearinghouse and work with allied organizations to achieve our common goals,” said Julia Kim Chun, President of Korean Americans for Organizing (KAFO).

“In the last two presidential elections, Vietnamese Americans have increasingly voted more progressive, and they live in swing Congressional Districts. Our goal is to encourage them to vote for progressive candidates,” said Tung Nguyen, President of PIVOT.

“Every election cycle, political institutions and traditional media largely ignore the 21 million AAPI citizens across the country. This year that changes. (RUN) is honored to be included in the AAPI clearinghouse to galvanize the youth vote through storytelling, live events, and digital content,” said Brad Jenkins, Co-Founder of (RUN).

CAPAC to Launch AAPIs in Congress Publication

On May 16, members of the Congressional Asian Pacific American Caucus (CAPAC) and Congressional leadership will host their annual Congressional Ceremony celebrating Asian Pacific American Heritage Month.

During this event at the Russell Senate Office Building, CAPAC will also officially launch the Asian and Pacific Islander Americans in Congress publication prepared under the direction of the U.S. House of Representatives Committee on House Administration and the Office of the House Historian. Speakers will discuss the contributions of Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders (AAPI) to our nation.

Scheduled to participate:

  • CAPAC Chair Judy Chu (CA-27)
  • Senate Democratic Leader Chuck Schumer (NY)
  • Senate Democratic Whip Dick Durbin (IL)
  • Senator Mazie K. Hirono (HI)
  • House Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi (CA-12)
  • House Democratic Whip Steny Hoyer (MD-05)
  • House Democratic Chairman Joseph Crowley (NY-14)

For more details, visit https://capac-chu.house.gov/event/APAHM17.