Downloadable: English Press Statement
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: CONTACT:Eunsook Lee
TUESDAY, MAY 11, 2004 Jane Chung
ASIAN & PACIFIC ISLANDER AMERICANS LAUNCH MAJOR ELECTION CAMPAIGN
Fastest Growing Population Organizes Political Clout
WASHINGTON â€“ Dozens of Asian Pacific Islander American (APIA) community leaders joined Congressional Asian Pacific American Caucus (CAPAC) Chair Rep. Mike Honda (Calif.), CAPAC Vice-Chair Rep. Eni Faleomavaega (Amer. Samoa), CAPAC Executive Committee Member Rep. David Wu (Oregon), and CAPAC Member Rep. Danny Davis (Illinois) and to launch a major non-partisan initiative to turn out millions of APIA voters in the 2004 elections. The announcement kicked-off Asian Pacific Islander American heritage month. The Los Angeles Times last month reported that the number of Asians and Pacific Islanders in the United States will triple over the next half-century as an aging white population slips from its traditional majority perch.
Rep. Honda said, “As Chair of the Congressional American Pacific American Caucus (CAPAC), I expect the APIA community to turn out in force this election and make its voice heard. The many APIA communities celebrating this year’s APIA Heritage Month should be proud of our diverse heritage, and aware of the impact our increasing numbers and participation will have in November. In the sixties, President Kennedy won by just over 3,000 votes. Today, there are over 5.4 million APIAs eligible to vote. In an election as close as this one, the APIA community will make a large difference.”
Rep. Faleomavaega, CAPAC Vice-Chair said, “The issues that affect the APIA community are nonpartisan â€“ APIA Vote is doing a thorough job of addressing the community’s concerns and ensuring that they are heard. Furthermore, I am heartened to see the broad coalition that APIAVote has built. It represents and speaks for a spectrum of our Asian Pacific Islander American community on a wide range of issues. I applaud the community for its steadfast dedication to increasing civic and political involvement.”
Rep. David Wu, CAPAC Executive Committee Member said, “The APIAVote project is a great opportunity for the Asian and Pacific Islander American community to work together. Together, this diverse and wonderful population can unite and help promote greater participation in the American political process. I am proud to be a part of that effort and look forward to continue working together to make APIA voices heard.”
Rep. Danny Davis, CAPAC Member said, “I commend the Asian and Pacific Islander American Community and APIAVote for your civic and community involvement. I represent Chinatown in Chicago and have been pleased to take note of the high level of enthusiastic community interaction there. I look forward to working with all of you to increase voter registration, education and turn-out as we fulfill our citizenship rights and responsibilities.”
EunSook Lee, National Korean American Service & Education Consortium (NAKASEC) Executive Director said, “Collaboration is key in pushing for the full participation of Asian Pacific Islander Americans. NAKASEC is excited to be a part of an effort as diverse as the APIAVote coalition. Together we can channel our resources and strength to ensure Asian Pacific Islander American voters emerge as a powerful political voice.”
Tanzila Ahmed, South Asian American Voting Youth (SAAVY) Director said, “Now is the time to tap into the younger APIA community and invigorate their interest in civic participation. APIA youth are ripe with passion and new ideas, and SAAVY intends to work closely with APIAVote to bring our skills and resources to the younger APIA communities nation-wide.”
Kiran Ahuja, National Asian Pacific American Women’s Forum (NAPAWF) Executive Director said, “APIA women vote because they care about their community; they care about the issues that affect their community, like access to healthcare and benefits, educational access, ending violence against women, language barriers, and much more. NAPAWF and other women’s organizations are spearheading get out the vote campaigns all over the country. The importance of the female vote cannot be underestimated. APIA women, like all other women, understand the importance of not only voter registration but voter education in the community.”
Gloria Caoile, Asian Pacific American Labor Alliance (APALA) Executive Director, stressed that APALA is hard at work for the APIAVote coalition. Caoile said, “APALA VOTE 2004, a non partisan voter registration, voter education, and get-out-the vote program is up and running. This program is designed to break the cycle of low voter turnout so that in future years, political campaigns recognize the voting power of APIAs. However, simply registering APIA voters is insufficient. It is also important to help our community understand the issues at stake that affect their everyday lives. We are committed to partnering with community organizations to educate and mobilize so that APIA voices are heard.”
Christine Chen, Organization of Chinese Americans Executive Director said, “The APIA community is becoming increasingly sophisticated and lunging forward with a strategic plan to build a national infrastructure for APIA political mobilization efforts. As an integral part of this effort, APIAVote aims to develop a national database of comprehensive APIA voter profiles. For the first time, APIA voter files will exist from which APIA voting patterns can be evaluated for future research and education outreach efforts.”
Lisa Hasegawa, National Coalition for Asian Pacific American Community Development (National CAPACD) Executive Director said, “National CAPACD is excited about joining as a National Partner of APIAVote. As the fastest growing ethnic group in this country, Asian and Pacific Islanders Americans need greater political strength in the electoral process. As a part of APIAVote, National CAPACD and our member organizations’ efforts to address issues such as affordable and fair housing, immigration, access to quality health care, economic inequalities, and civil rights will only be strengthened.”
Daphne Kwok, Asian Pacific American Institute for Congressional Studies (APAICS) Executive Director said, “APIA Elected Officials are a known catalyst to engaging our community in the political process. APAICS is proud to be an APIAVote partner and we will be working with our APIA Elected Officials to increase our community’s political participation at all levels for elections this November and beyond.”
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Preetmohan Singh, Sikh Mediawatch and Resource Task Force (SMART) National Director said, “We are pleased to be working with APIAVote to collectively send candidates and parties the message that the APIA community will be coming out in record numbers during this November’s election. The Sikh American community has become more politically active in the last few years, and we know they are going to hold candidates accountable on many issues that effect our community, including hate crimes, racial profiling and immigration reform.”
Bo Thao, Hmong National Development Executive Director said, “Asian Americans have made a difference through our vote. Voting is the most basic civic duty we have, and by casting a vote we are telling political candidates what issues matter to us. In 2004, Hmong National Development will continue to support efforts that help ensure everyone in our community can and will exercise their right to vote as American citizens regardless of their language ability.”
APIAVote spent the last year collecting support from opinion leaders and allies. The organization today begins implementing the incredibly ambitious strategic plan to organize, educate and mobilize APIA voters across the country. Representing a wide coalition of Asian Pacific Islander American groups, APIAVote will conduct voter registration trainings and link voter education with mobilization efforts.
The Asian Pacific Islander American community worked together in 1996 to register almost 100,000 new voters outraged over welfare and immigration reforms. In 2004, APIAVote will coordinate voter registration, education and mobilization campaigns in selected regions in nine states in where APIAs have the highest concentration of eligible voters, focusing specifically on Washington, Nevada, and Minnesota. APIAVote is a non-partisan coalition of groups that believes Asian Pacific Americans must raise their level of political participation.
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