Arizona Asian American Native Hawaiian Pacific Islanders for Equity (AZ AANHPI for Equity)

Arizona Asian American Native Hawaiian Pacific Islanders for Equity (AZ AANHPI for Equity)

Since we advocate for marginalized communities, our organization is women and LGBTQ+ led. We strongly believe that directly impacted and marginalized folks are the experts of social issues and we have the solutions our communities need. With the overturn of Roe v. Wade, the attack on trans rights, and the

Arizona Asian American Native Hawaiian Pacific Islanders for Equity (AZ AANHPI for Equity)

Since we advocate for marginalized communities, our organization is women and LGBTQ+ led. We strongly believe that directly impacted and marginalized folks are the experts of social issues and we have the solutions our communities need. With the overturn of Roe v. Wade, the attack on trans rights, and the potential risk to marriage equality, our staff is energized to fight for rights passionately and tirelessly since we are directly impacted. Here are examples of three out of our six full time staff: Our Democracy Defender Director was formerly incarcerated and organized for criminal justice and migrant rights with the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) and Puente Human Rights Movement. Our Democracy Defender Director joined our organization because she saw that the AANHPI community in Arizona lacked organizing for social issues. She also led the efforts in organizing the AAPI Candlelight Vigil for the Atlanta shooter victims and then shortly after, organized the Unity March in Phoenix to promote multicultural collaboration. Arizona currently has the fourth highest incarceration rate in the country and by our director sharing her story, she is able to humanize and destigmatize formerly incarcerated people and help end mass incarceration which is disproportionately disparaging marginalized communities. Our Youth Community Outreach Director is multiracial and embraces her Pacific Islander heritage. She is currently the representative of Arizona for the United Nations Association for Climate and Oceans, which makes her a significant mentor for the youth fellows since many of them are passionate about climate justice. Since we believe that the youth are the drivers of change, we are joining the fight for climate justice and offering tools to them to organize against the crisis. Our Field Director for our Voter Registration program played a key role to get Phoenix's City Councilwoman, Yassamin Ansari elected. Yassamin is the youngest councilwoman elected and also the first Iranian elected official in Arizona. Our Field Director is someone who worked exceptionally hard to see AANHPI and youth representation as well as having someone elected who ran a platform on climate justice for communities of color.

About the Organization:

Since we advocate for marginalized communities, our organization is women and LGBTQ+ led. We strongly believe that directly impacted and marginalized folks are the experts of social issues and we have the solutions our communities need. With the overturn of Roe v. Wade, the attack on trans rights, and the potential risk to marriage equality, our staff is energized to fight for rights passionately and tirelessly since we are directly impacted. Here are examples of three out of our six full time staff: Our Democracy Defender Director was formerly incarcerated and organized for criminal justice and migrant rights with the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) and Puente Human Rights Movement. Our Democracy Defender Director joined our organization because she saw that the AANHPI community in Arizona lacked organizing for social issues. She also led the efforts in organizing the AAPI Candlelight Vigil for the Atlanta shooter victims and then shortly after, organized the Unity March in Phoenix to promote multicultural collaboration. Arizona currently has the fourth highest incarceration rate in the country and by our director sharing her story, she is able to humanize and destigmatize formerly incarcerated people and help end mass incarceration which is disproportionately disparaging marginalized communities. Our Youth Community Outreach Director is multiracial and embraces her Pacific Islander heritage. She is currently the representative of Arizona for the United Nations Association for Climate and Oceans, which makes her a significant mentor for the youth fellows since many of them are passionate about climate justice. Since we believe that the youth are the drivers of change, we are joining the fight for climate justice and offering tools to them to organize against the crisis. Our Field Director for our Voter Registration program played a key role to get Phoenix's City Councilwoman, Yassamin Ansari elected. Yassamin is the youngest councilwoman elected and also the first Iranian elected official in Arizona. Our Field Director is someone who worked exceptionally hard to see AANHPI and youth representation as well as having someone elected who ran a platform on climate justice for communities of color.

organizational budget

$500,000 - $1 MILLION

existence for

0-5 Years

Organization benefits AAPIs residing in the following state(s):

Arizona

organizational budget

$500,000 - $1 MILLION

existence for

0-5 Years

Organization benefits AAPIs residing in the following state(s):

Arizona

The Issue:

Arizona's democracy is under attack with marginalized communities being targeted. Arizona has had a history of white nationalists targeting immigrant communities since the introduction of SB 1070, which was nicknamed "Show Me Your Papers" in 2007. SB 1070 made it a state misdemeanor crime for an undocumented person to be in Arizona without carrying the required documents and obligated police to make an attempt, when practicable during a "lawful stop, detention or arrest", to determine a person's immigration status. Because of this bill, many Latinx grassroots organizations were established to organize the community against the racist policy. According to the National Conference of State Legislators, 71% of legislators were white/caucasian in 2015. If we work to encourage people of color to engage in politics and to run for office, bills like SB 1070 would not have passed. Fighting SB 1070 took a lot of resources and participation from the community but sadly, there was no organizing of the AANHPI community even though many AANHPI people were harmed during workplace raids. Currently, marginalized communities are still fighting the constant racist policies like HB 2492, a bill that was passed which mandates the Attorney General to prosecute naturalized citizens who register to vote and are not found in the stale government transaction data, such as DMV driver’s license data, to ascertain who is currently a citizen. This bill will require naturalized citizens to go through an unnecessary additional step to prove their citizenship instead of checking the box that says they are a U.S. citizen, which has been the standard practice for voter registration. Creating barriers and categorizing certain U.S. citizens is not the direction we want to see our democracy go so we must stop the momentum as more racist policies are being introduced in Arizona.

The Solution:

Our solution is to become a part of the broader racial justice movement in Arizona. According to the 2020 U.S. Census, Arizona is the 13th most diverse state in the United States, but only 38% of legislators are people of color. Our mission consists of striving for equity and justice by building power through community directed organizing, increasing civic engagement, and empowering young leaders while emphasizing on the Asian American, Native Hawaiian, and Pacific Islander (AANHPI) community. One of our tactics for fighting racial inequity is with our voter registration and education program. AZ AANHPI for Equity is the only organization targeting the AANHPI community to get them registered to vote in this state. Arizona's AAPI voter registrations increased to almost 90,000 last year (for comparison, the growth was 22,000 in 2016). This is an example of the tremendous growth of the community but also of our improved ability to identify and interact with these voters accurately. We also advocate for voting rights and are part of a statewide coalition who strategizes on how we can fight the 100 voter suppression bills introduced this year. The AANHPI community is directly impacted since legislation was passed that will create unnecessary barriers for naturalized citizens who want to vote. In order for us to mobilize the AANHPI community, we need to heal within the community. Our organization hosts Healing Circles to talk about topics like colorism, status, shame/guilt, and mental health. This is a way to get the AANHPI community together so we can discuss how personal issues are linked to social issues and use our collective power to organize for resolutions. One key element for our organization is our Youth Fellowship Program where we host workshops that empowers youth by discussing AANHPI contributions to the U.S., the history of voting rights, organizing 101, unpacking biases of racism and colorism, and how legislation is passed with a field trip to the state capitol. We also provide tools and resources for youth to start Students for Equity in their schools. We currently have them in two universities and one high school.

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