Historic Quad-Partisan Presidential Election Forum Highlights Rising Influence of AAPI Vote

Bill Clinton, Sean Reyes, Gary Johnson, and Jill Stein Aim to Win Votes From Fastest Growing Racial Group

LAS VEGAS – On Friday, Hillary Clinton surrogate and former President Bill Clinton, Donald Trump surrogate and Utah Attorney General Sean Reyes, Libertarian presidential nominee Gary Johnson, and Green Party presidential nominee Jill Stein addressed more than 2,500 journalists and community leaders in the largest gathering of Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders (AAPIs) in the history of presidential campaign cycles.  

Asian and Pacific Islander American Vote (APIAVote) and Asian American Journalists Association (AAJA), with 40 partner organizations, hosted this historic Presidential Election Forum in the Colosseum at Caesars Palace in Las Vegas, Nevada, an election battleground state where nearly one in ten residents is AAPI.

“From Southeast Asia to the Indian subcontinent to Native Hawaiians, the AAPI community represents a heritage and history that spans the globe,” said APIAVote founding board member Daphne Kwok. “A recognition that this community is the lifeblood of our nation was cemented this week, as top campaign officials not only defined what AAPI meant to them personally, but also advanced discussions around how policies proposals from immigration and education to national security and trade are being focused on to empower the collective prospects of AAPIs across the country.”

During the forum, Rock the Vote announced its “Power Up” campaign, in partnership with APIAVote and youth organizations, focused on getting young AAPIs to vote. Congressman Mike Honda stated that 7,000 17-year-olds turn 18 every day. He also emphasized the power of AAPI voters to determine winners, particularly in six swing states and 85 congressional districts that are 10 percent AAPI.

AAPIs are the fastest growing racial group in the country, expected to grow from 20 million to more than 50 million by 2060. The rising influence of the AAPI community is evident in the past two election cycles, where the AAPI vote has been an important factor in election outcomes in key battleground states. In many of these states, the AAPI voter population either equaled or exceeded the margin of victory in previous presidential elections.

Congresswoman Judy Chu, who chairs the Congressional Asian Pacific American Caucus (CAPAC), pointed out that in 2010, Nevada Senator Harry Reid won re-election in a tight race with the support of nearly four in five AAPI voters who made up four percent of the electorate.

Data from APIAVote’s 2016 State Factsheets show that nearly half of all registered Asian American voters identify education (48%), healthcare (47%), national security (47%), and jobs (45%) as extremely important to how they cast their ballot — issues that the Democratic, Republican, Libertarian, and Green Party representatives addressed in the forum. This same block of eligible AAPI voters also represents vital margins in swing states across the country, holding the key to determining the winner of the Presidential election.

  • Arizona: 146,000 eligible AAPI voters comprise 3% of the electorate
  • Florida: 372,000 eligible AAPI voters comprise 2.5% of the electorate
  • Michigan: 145,000 eligible AAPI voters comprise 1.8% of the electorate
  • Minnesota: 136,000 eligible AAPI voters comprise 3.1% of the electorate
  • Nevada: 177,000 eligible AAPI voters comprise 9% of the electorate
  • North Carolina: 136,000 eligible AAPI voters comprise 1.8% of the electorate
  • Ohio: 127,000 eligible AAPI voters comprise 1.3% of the electorate
  • Pennsylvania: 223,000 eligible AAPI voters comprise 2.1% of the electorate
  • Virginia: 310,000 eligible AAPI voters comprise 5% of the electorate

The historic forum plays a vital role in educating this segment of the electorate, ultimately empowering them to vote on Election Day and elevating their representative profile among national campaigns, voter mobilization programs, and global media outlets.

To access high-resolution photos from the event, visit here.

To access APIAVote’s 2016 State Factsheets, visit here.

A Word document press release can downloaded here.

When Words Fail: Careful Framing Needed in Research on Asian Americans


Karthick Ramakrishnan published his commentary about the Pew report on Asian Americans on Hyphen’s website. Karthick is associate professor of political science at the University of California, Riverside, and fellow at the Wilson Center in Washington, DC.

Sometimes, a two-page press release can have greater impact on race relations in the United States than an entire report. That certainly seemed to be the case last week, when the Pew Research Center put out a 215-page report on the growing importance of Asian Americans.

The report had many commendable aspects, including presenting new data on the six largest Asian American groups, adding to our knowledge from past demographic studies and surveys. It presented a trove of graphs, maps, and tables for the largest national-origin groups. Unfortunately, it also prioritized questions asked of Asian Americans — regarding their parenting styles and their own stereotypes about Americans — that seemed more concerned with Amy Chua’s Battle Hymn of the Tiger Mother than with the priorities of Asian Americans themselves, either as revealed in past surveys or as articulated by organizations serving those communities. And the demographic analysis did not adequately cover national origin groups whose economic outcomes are far less promising.

More concerning than the Pew report, however, was the sensationalist headline on the press release that introduced the study to news media …

Read Karthick’s full commentary on hyphenmagazine.com.

First Asian American Serial Killer Movie Begins Crowd-Fundraising Drive

The filmmakers responsible for the hit independent film, The People I’ve Slept With, are joining together again to make Chink, the first Asian American serial killer movie. It is the directorial debut of Stanley Yung, the film is written by Koji Steven Sakai and produced by Stanley, Koji, and Quentin Lee. The film stars Jason Tobin (Better Luck Tomorrow and The Fast and the Furious: Tokyo Drift) and Eugenia Yuan (Memoirs of a Geisha and The Eye 2).

They are hoping to raise at least ten thousand dollars to cover production expenses on USA Projects, created by United States Artists to expand its mission of investing in America’s finest artists. They plan on beginning production in the spring of 2012.

Chink is about an Asian American man who has internalized the racism he felt as a child and turned it into a hatred of all Asians – including himself. His anger and his desire to be like his hero (Ted Bundy) leads him to violence and ultimately to his dream of becoming the greatest serial killer in history.

The production team of Stanley Yung, Koji Steven Sakai and Quentin Lee have produced more than a half-dozen independent motion pictures. Their films have been exhibited on television, in theaters, and at major festivals such as AFI, São Paulo, Golden Horse in Taiwan, Toronto, and most of the Asian American and LGBT film festivals throughout the world.

USA Projects is a community where America’s finest artists and those that love and support them can share their latest work, discover new artists, enter into a dialog with each other, and make direct donations (of any size, all of which are tax deductible) to new projects created by each artist. This is the first website that allows direct public donations between art patrons and accredited artists on the Internet.

For more information and to donate, visit http://www.unitedstatesartists.org/project/chink.

Source: Press release via Koji Steven Sakai

Asian American Activists, Once Inspired by Jean Quan, Lament Her Handling of Occupy Oakland

I received this email as a forward from Richard Wada, who received it from Harvey Dong, a recipient of the original email sent by author Steve Woo. I cannot authenticate the email and publish it here with that disclaimer. – Keith

Dear Mayor Jean Quan,

We first met you celebrating the 40th anniversary of the founding of the Asian America Political Association. As a former activist in the TWLF student protests and Asian American movement of the 1960s, you helped to inspire and renew our commitment to the social justice movement. As founding members of the AAPI Alumni Association, we celebrated the legacy of the TWLF movement together with you.

This excitement continued into your mayoral campaign, where many members of the Alumni Association and young activists supported you in your run for office. We had hoped that with your election to being Oakland’s mayor would come a different style of leadership and a new vision for our community.

Today our sentiment is much different. We’re disappointed and angered to have witnessed the recent course of events that turned Oakland into a war zone.

While both of us peacefully protested the corporate greed and intensely unequal distribution of wealth which plagues American society, multiple canisters of teargas exploded on us, along with rubber bullets and flashbangs being shot into the crowd, sending us reeling for cover. None of this much compares, however, to the life-threatening injuries endured by Iraq veteran Scott Olsen, who remains hospitalized in critical condition after being struck in the head.

Recalling the memories of the fight for Third World Liberation and the government-sponsored violence that you and your fellow comrades faced, it is almost unbelievable to have fallen victim to such militant repression in the city in which you lead. It is a sad day. We once believed you to be an ally to low-income, communities of color; to progressive politics; to real democracy. What happened?

The Occupy Oakland movement is growing, and your constituency will not stand for such police brutality. You need to renew our faith in you as an ally to the progressive community.

Our open question to you: will you allow Occupy Oakland protestors to continue their peaceful assembly/encampment and will you back down from the use of police brutality now and in the future?


Susan Fang and Steve Woo

with endorsement from fellow alumni and Oakland residents:

Harvey Dong
Bea Dong
Victoria Wong
Liz Del Sol
Belvin Louie
Miriam Ching Louie
Matt Blesse
Hatty Lee
Keith Kojimoto
Manuel Delgado
Alex Tan
Leon Deleon
Emily Jieming Lee
Connie Huang
Kori Chen
Brian Lau
Pauline Sze
Nhi Tran

We Cannot Afford to Lose on Goodwin Liu, Ed Chen Judicial Appointments

If you ever want to see an Asian American appointed to the Supreme Court, join us now to support Goodwin Liu and Judge Ed Chen.

President Obama’s appointments of Judge Ed Chen to the federal district court and of Goodwin Liu to the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals has been held hostage by Senate Republicans for reasons that can only be described as petty politics. While these appointments certainly should not be rubber-stamped by the Senate, the appointments should at least be presented for a vote by the full Senate.

“A determined Republican stall campaign in the Senate has sidetracked so many of the men and women nominated by President Barack Obama for judgeships that he has put fewer people on the bench than any president since Richard Nixon at a similar point in his first term 40 years ago,” reported the Washington Post.

If we cannot support the President’s appointments of extremely qualified Asian Americans to the lower courts against political obstruction, how can we ever expect him to appoint an Asian American to the highest court in the land?

Several activities and events are in high gear this week to stress the importance of ending the Senate gridlock and obstructionism of these nominations.

Tuesday, September 21: “STICK” Up for Goodwin! Movement Meeting

Join David Biderman, Joan Haratani, Dale Minami, Edwin Prather, Priya Sanger, Malcolm Yeung and others on Tuesday, September 21, 2010, at 12:00 noon, for a statewide coordinated event at the Law Offices of Edwin Prather, 461 Bush Street, Suite 350, San Francisco, to support the confirmation of Professor Goodwin Liu to the 9th Circuit Federal Court of Appeals. Lunch and refreshments will be provided.

In an effort to engage the grassroots, educate the mainstream about diversity on the bench, and change the media frame on Goodwin Liu’s nomination to the 9th Circuit, the Asian American Justice Center, National Asian Pacific American Bar Association and local Asian Pacific American (APA) bar organizations have launched a “Stick” Up for Goodwin! initiative and companion website (http://www.confirmnow.org).

The website provides the story behind the initiative, the lack of APAs in the federal judiciary, why Prof. Liu is important to the APA community, and other action items such as the nomination of Magistrate Judge Edward Chen for the District Court in the Northern District of California. The website also offers social media tools and traditional action alerts to help engage community members, such as uploading photos on how the stickers are used to increase visibility for the “Stick” Up for Goodwin! initiative and to build momentum toward confirming Goodwin Liu, as well as Ed Chen.

A similar gathering takes place on the same day in Los Angeles: Tuesday, September 21, 2010, at noon, at Jenner & Block LLP, 633 West 5th Street, Suite 3500, Los Angeles (lunch and refreshments provided). RSVP to the LA event by emailing contactapaba@gmail.com.

Friday, September 24: Press Conference with Asian American Electeds on Judge Ed Chen’s Appointment

Chinese for Affirmative Action plans on holding a press conference at 10:30 a.m. to discuss Judge Ed Chen’s appointment to the federal district court and what steps members of the community can take to end the roadblock on the Senate vote on his appointment. More details will be published here when available.

Wednesday, September 29: Alliance for Justice Brown Bag Lunch Briefing on Judicial Nominations During the Obama Administration

This brown bag lunch briefing by Alliance for Justice will include information on what you can do to help ensure the swift confirmation of Goodwin Liu and Judge Edward Chen to the federal bench.  The gathering is on Sept. 29, 1:00p.m. – 2:30p.m., at Howard Rice, Three Embarcadero Center, Seventh Floor, San Francisco.

Nan Aron, Alliance for Justice president, will be the guest speaker. Light refreshments will be provided.

Senate Republicans recently prevented twenty-two out of twenty-six of President Obama’s judicial nominees from receiving an up-or-down vote on the Senate floor — despite the fact that the majority of those nominees have been waiting for several months and in two cases, a full year.  Two of those nominees, Goodwin Liu and Edward Chen, must now be renominated and reapproved by the Senate Judiciary Committee.

During this brown bag lunch you will learn more about the status of judicial nominations during the Obama Administration, the lack of diversity on the federal bench (especially for Asian American judges), and what you can do to help ensure Goodwin Liu and Edward Chen receive a vote on the floor of the Senate.

RSVP here

Finally, if you haven’t already done so, please sign a letter supporting Judge Chen on FairJudges.net and join other supporters of Goodwin Liu at ConfirmNow.org.

Need Your Help: Time Running Out on Judge Ed Chen’s Nomination

As you may know, Judge Edward Chen was nominated to the federal district court in San Francisco by President Obama in August, 2009. His nomination has been now pending for nearly one year — he is the longest waiting judicial nominee under this administration. Despite being highly qualified, Judge Chen has been unfairly subjected to delay and obstruction.

More than 1,800 of you from across the country signed letters in support of Judge Chen — and this demonstration of support has made a difference.

But time is running out. It is important that Judge Chen be confirmed by the Senate before the August recess which could start the first week of August. Once again, we ask your support in urging the Senate leadership to schedule a vote on Judge Chen’s confirmation.

If you’ve already signed a letter of support for Judge Chen, please forward this email and ask others to visit http://fairjudges.net to sign the support letter. If you haven’t signed a letter, please visit http://fairjudges.net. Signing the letter online takes only a few minutes.

Judge Chen’s nomination is important. He would be the first Chinese American ever to serve on the district court that serves the diverse San Francisco Bay Area. And Judge Chen has a long history of public service and commitment to justice:

  • Judge Chen represented Fred Korematsu in Fred’s historic suit overturning his WWII conviction for refusing to comply with the Japanese internment order;
  • Judge Chen has represented victims of race and language discrimination and sought to protect civil rights throughout his legal career;
  • As a federal magistrate judge for the last 9 years, Judge Chen has earned a sterling judicial record and gained the support and respect of all sectors of the bar.
  • Judge Chen received the highest rating possible from the American Bar Association — unanimously well qualified.

Again, time is running out. It is important that Judge Chen be confirmed by the Senate before the August recess.

Your continued support is needed and appreciated.

Visit http://fairjudges.net and show your support by signing the letter today!

More Asian American, Pacific Islander Applicants Sought for California Redistricting Commission

Every ten years, the voting lines in California are redrawn to evenly divide the voting districts based on the latest census data. How the lines are drawn can determine who will run for office and who will win, and whether communities are kept together or split unfairly.

In the past, the State Legislature has drawn the district maps for the State Senate, Assembly, and Board of Equalization. Because of Proposition 11, a 14-person citizens commission will be in charge of redistricting in 2011. The application process for the commission began December 15, 2009, and will be open until February 12, 2010.

As of January 5, 2010, only 192 of the 4,724 applicants (4.1 percent) were Asian American and Pacific Islander (AAPI). People of color as a group make up less than 18 percent of the applicants. AAPIs represent nearly 15 percent of the state’s total population, and communities of color make up over half of the state’s total population.

Unless additional people of color including AAPIs apply, there is significant risk that the commission will not reflect California’s diversity.

Up-to-date statistics can be found at https://application.wedrawthelines.ca.gov/statistics.

The commission will hold public hearings throughout California, evaluate relevant materials, and eventually draw the new district maps. The commission may hire staff and consultants in order to support its work.

The maps the commission draws will determine whether Asian American and Pacific Islander communities are kept together or split by district boundaries. “It is critical that the commission reflects the diversity of California, including Asian Pacific Islander representation,” said Mina Titi Liu, Executive Director, Asian Law Caucus.

Commissioners will serve until 2020; however, the vast majority of the commission’s work will occur from January to September 2011 since the district maps must be completed by September 15, 2011. From January 2011 until the adoption of the maps, the commissioners may spend 10-40 hours a week or more on their responsibilities. The commissioners are paid $300 per day plus expenses when doing commission business.

To apply for the commission, applicants must fill out an online form. The form can be found at http://www.wedrawthelines.ca.gov and is due by February 12, 2010.

The Asian Law Alliance (ALA), Asian Law Caucus (ALC), and East Bay Asian Voter Education Consortium (EBAVEC) will conduct application workshops in the Bay Area during January and the first part of February to provide interested individuals with information about the commission and assistance with the application process. ALA, ALC and EBAVEC held workshops in early January in San Francisco, Oakland and San Jose.

After the application period is over, the 14 commissioners will be selected in a multi-step process that is supervised by the California State Auditor. A panel of three government auditors will review the applications and select 120 applicants for interviews. The panel will then choose a final list of 60 applicants from which eight commissioners are randomly chosen. These eight commissioners will then pick the remaining six commissioners.

The commission members will be appointed by December 31, 2010. The commission will be made of five registered Democrats, five registered Republicans, and four individuals who are either decline-to-state or registered with a third party.

To serve on the commission, an individual must be a registered voter in California for at least the last five years with the same party (or non-party) affiliation; have voted in at least two of the last three statewide general elections; and have relevant analytical skills, be impartial, and appreciate California’s diversity.

An applicant will be disqualified if, within the past ten years, he/she or a member of his/her immediate family has been in or a candidate for federal or state office; been appointed as a member of a political party central committee; served as a paid congressional, legislative, or Board of Equalization staff; been a registered lobbyist; or contributed $2,000 or more to any congressional, state, or local candidate in a year.

Additionally, individuals who are appointed to the commission face restrictions on future political activities. Until the end of 2020, they may not run for federal, state, county or city office. Until the end of 2015, they may not be appointed to federal, state or local office; serve as paid staff for the state legislature or any individual legislator; or register as a federal, state or local lobbyist within California.

For more information about the commission or the workshops, call the Asian Law Caucus at (415) 896-1701 ext. 121, Asian Law Alliance at (408) 287-9710, East Bay Asian Voter Education Consortium (925) 933-6778 or visit http://www.tinyurl.com/capafr2011.

Also, the California State Auditor has information translated in Chinese, Japanese, Korean, Spanish, Tagalog and Vietnamese posted on its website at http://www.wedrawthelines.ca.gov/toolkit.html.

$1,000 Grand Prize: Kollaboration SF Talent Competition, Jan 14 Deadline

Kollaboration San Francisco is holding a talent competition and they want you to audition! The organization’s mission is to encourage the Asian American community to express themselves artistically and break through media stereotypes while coming together as a community.

Kollaboration is hosting its first annual show on Saturday, April 10, 2009, at the Palace of Fine Arts in San Francisco, where they hope to feature amazing local talent in all genres – dancing, singing, music, spoken word, comedy, etc.

There will be a grand prize of $1000. There will also be other cash prizes for audience favorites and freestyle competitions.

You can join the Kollaboration movement by:
1. Auditioning
2. Spreading the word to the community and local talent encouraging them to audition
3. Attending our April show and volunteering

For those who want to audition, they must to our website and fill out the form at http://kollaborationsf.org/audition.php by Jan 14th. For more details please refer to their website.

For those would like to volunteer in our various community service opportunities, they can sign up by emailing kaitie.wong@kollaborationsf.org.

Support Kollaboration:

Twitter – http://twitter.com/Kollabsfbayarea

Facebook Page – http://www.facebook.com/pages/Kollaboration-SF-Bay-Area/119472599197

YouTube – http://www.youtube.com/user/kollaboration00

Kollaboration is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization and an annual talent showcase specifically for the empowerment of the Asian American community. It originated down in Los Angeles and has since spread to NYC, Chicago, Houston, and more, and has finally arrived to the amazing SF Bay Area, home to the nation’s third largest Asian American population!