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Asian and Pacific Islander American Vote (APIAVote) was founded in 2007 with a vision to increase civic engagement among Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders (AAPI). As a national, nonpartisan organization, APIAVote’s mission is to work with local and state community based organizations (CBOs) to mobilize AAPIs in electoral and civic participation. During the 2020 election cycle, APIAVote rose to meet the unique challenges of the pandemic that exacerbated long standing barriers to the AAPI community in casting our votes and increasing AAPI voter turnout by 39% from 2016, the highest increase of any racial group.
About the Organization:
$100,000 - $500,000
Our AAPI community in Michigan is growing every year—AAPI Data projected a 75% growth rate in MI between 2000 and 2020—and the turnout needs help in growing with it. Our core work in Michigan is crucial as it is known to be a swing state, because people tend to swing towards the politicians they feel will best support their community’s needs. So it’s crucial that we empower the AAPI community at large to speak up in local, state and national elections, and get out and vote and be a part of the civic change in our communities. It’s common for anyone to feel like they can’t and shouldn’t speak up in election and civic processes which end up impacting our lives directly. But if we don’t speak up for our communities’ needs, who will? APIA Vote-MI acts in a nonpartisan way to support our community in advocating for its needs. Our AAPI community needs help from us in a number of capacities: 1) assisting our immigrant families whose first language is not English, and who need a translator at the polls, 2) by increasing access to community resources to health care and public services by translating public health and community resource materials into AAPI languages, and 3) by providing access to food and school supplies, and other community resources directly to our AAPI community to ease living conditions and help eliminate barriers to access in voting. The ability to vote is also impacted by quality of living, and as the AAPI community has the highest socioeconomic gap in the country, we have a significant number of AAPI community members who need our help in accessing the services and care they need to make quality of life and the ability to vote easier and more accessible.
Voter Education, Registration, Outreach. APIA Vote-MI reaches out to the AAPI community in Michigan through phone banking, voter registration drives, and community events to get as many people as possible to get out and vote! We also host multilingual webinars in Bangla, Tagalog, Mandarin Chinese, Hindi, Urdu, Thai, Vietnamese, Japanese, Korean, Hmong, Khmer and others. We are also working with cities to get ballot boxes located where it is easiest for our community to submit their votes. Community Care and Resources. APIA Vote-MI translates videos and flyers about community resources including food and health care for our community into Bangla, Chinese, Tagalog, Arabic and others. We also distribute food, school supplies and hygiene supplies—and as living costs continue to rise, several AAPI families, especially immigrant families, become the hardest hit and at risk. We have also been providing COVID awareness and coordinating mobile vaccination clinics to help our community have ease of access to get vaccinated. Stop AAPI Hate Campaign. We are supporting our community in the wake of the politicized COVID-related increase in anti-Asian hate crimes through community dialogues, protests, vigils, and most recently through our outreach with a remembrance/rededication event on the 40th anniversary of the hate-fueled murder of Vincent Chin. APIA Vote-MI will also aid in distributing the Vincent Chin Foundation’s legacy guides to schools in Michigan to help with education and awareness. Substance Use Recovery and Mental Health Support. APIA Vote-MI is recently connecting the AAPI community in Michigan with mental health resources and assistance with substance use recovery as we continue to see a rise in difficult living conditions and a dramatic increase in anti-Asian hate crimes. We are working to create awareness and group counseling talks with therapists and interpreters to increase mental health care. LEAD Mentorship Program. APIA Vote-MI is assisting AAPI youth in becoming future community leaders through its pilot racial equity-based mentorship program. Our youth will learn about the crises that affect our AAPI community and acquire tools to empower our AAPI community in advocating for our rights and equal opportunities across housing, health care, employment and other life sectors.