API PA Power Caucus

API PA Power Caucus

Asian Americans United exists so that people of Asian ancestry in Philadelphia exercise leadership to build their communities and unite to challenge oppression. AAU was founded in 1985 to create an organized response to rising issues of anti-Asian violence, substandard housing and education rights for non-English speaking Asians. Today, AAU

API PA Power Caucus

Asian Americans United exists so that people of Asian ancestry in Philadelphia exercise leadership to build their communities and unite to challenge oppression. AAU was founded in 1985 to create an organized response to rising issues of anti-Asian violence, substandard housing and education rights for non-English speaking Asians. Today, AAU leverages its 36 years of experience to empower community members to address intersectional needs. In 2019, AAU, along with leaders across Pennsylvania, co-founded the AAPI Power Caucus, a statewide network of API nonprofit organizations. AAU will serve as the fiscal sponsoring organization for this AAPI PA Power Caucus project.

About the Organization:

Asian Americans United exists so that people of Asian ancestry in Philadelphia exercise leadership to build their communities and unite to challenge oppression. AAU was founded in 1985 to create an organized response to rising issues of anti-Asian violence, substandard housing and education rights for non-English speaking Asians. Today, AAU leverages its 36 years of experience to empower community members to address intersectional needs. In 2019, AAU, along with leaders across Pennsylvania, co-founded the AAPI Power Caucus, a statewide network of API nonprofit organizations. AAU will serve as the fiscal sponsoring organization for this AAPI PA Power Caucus project.

organizational budget

$100,000 - $500,000

existence for

31+ YEARS

The Issue:

The fastest growing demographic and portion of the electorate in the state and country, AAPIs remain chronically under-engaged by candidates and mainstream political institutions. Pennsylvania’s API population numbers at 603,000 with the five largest AAPI ethnic groups being Indian (155,887), Chinese (136,206) Vietnamese (49,306), Korean (47,480), Filipino (42,544). From 2012 to 2018, the number of eligible API voters in Pennsylvania grew 33%. This compares to a 1% growth rate for the state-wide eligible voting population between 2012 to 2018. These growth trends correlate strongly with where electoral victories and opportunities have presented themselves over the last few years. Despite significant challenges, including language barriers and a funding gap for outreach, AAPI community organizations in PA launched a historic coordinated c3 GOTV effort in 2020. At the same time, we know that access to democracy remains fundamentally elusive to Asian Americans, and will continue to do so until we have full language access in our ballots, are free from intimidation and discrimination at the polls, and put an end to anti-democracy, anti-voting narratives about limiting access to the ballot and undermining our electoral process. To build Asian American democracy, it is crucial to both defend our historic expansions in voting rights and turnout, while expanding access to the ballot to all members of our communities. It is clear that our communities’ path to civic participation and making all our voices heard includes a robust, values-driven, language-accessible defense of the freedom to vote. Expanding democracy for AAPIs will meaningfully stitch us into the fabric of our society and secure justice and self-governance in the long term for all communities across the Commonwealth. Our diverse AAPI communities in Pennsylvania deserve to have full access and participation in the political processes that create the rules that govern our lives.

The Solution:

In the second half of 2022, the Power Caucus will resource and coordinate our 15 API member organizations across PA around joint civic engagement, once again making history by generating unprecedented API voter turnout. Ultimately, our goal is to ensure that the API vote in PA is once again 2% of the total voteshare, setting the stage for both increased political participation amongst our communities and an increased spotlight on our communities’ issues and struggles in the commonwealth. This will include four strategic lanes of work: c3-appropriate candidate engagement including voter guides, candidate fora, message tests, and more. This will grow out of the public launch of the historic API Policy Platform for PA in Summer 2022 and ensure an authentic representation of our diverse communities’ perspectives are spotlighted in an election cycle where there’s unprecedented public interest in our communities and where AAPIs in PA, similar to 2020, will likely be the margin of victory. A joint civic engagement plan with unprecedented turf coordination including additional staffing capacity for regional and statewide coordinated canvassing, phone banking, text banking, mailers and lit across the voter registration, vote-by-mail, and GOTV phases. This coordination will harness the capacity of the Power Caucus as a force greater than the sum of its parts, avoiding the resource and capacity drains of duplication and miscoordination of in-turf work. Values-driven, culturally-relevant, and in-language media strategies including coordinated digital organizing, social media toolkits and assets, ethnic media drops, and voter-created content with tested messaging that is grounded in the needs and perspectives of AAPIs. The Power Caucus will oversee translation and interpretation needs, as the additional barriers to outreach for LEP (low English proficiency) voters in our communities cannot be overstated. Training and coaching to meet immediate and longterm capacity building needs related to field and technology including front-end trainings for staff, board members, and lead volunteers of Power Caucus member organizations to support their learning edge on field tactics. It will build off of members’ existing interest in and lessons learned in the 2020 cycle on the potential of technology experiments to support voter engagement.

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