MinKwon Center for Community Action – APA VOICE Coalition

MinKwon Center for Community Action – APA VOICE Coalition

APA VOICE is a 22 member organization strong coalition convened by the MinKwon Center in 2014. We emerged as the first pan-Asian coalition in NYC to increase civic participation rates among AAPIs, which historically ranked lowest in the City. APA VOICE ties its origins to the Asian American Community Coalition

MinKwon Center for Community Action – APA VOICE Coalition

APA VOICE is a 22 member organization strong coalition convened by the MinKwon Center in 2014. We emerged as the first pan-Asian coalition in NYC to increase civic participation rates among AAPIs, which historically ranked lowest in the City. APA VOICE ties its origins to the Asian American Community Coalition on Redistricting and Democracy (ACCORD), launched in 2011 to bring attention to unfairly drawn and gerrymandered districts in densely populated AAPI neighborhoods; ACCORD worked with AALDEF, Center for Law and Social Justice, and Latino Justice - PRLDEF to produce Unity Maps, and were able to successfully advocate for a minority influence Congressional district, NY-6, which led to the election of Grace Meng, the first AAPI Congressional Representative on the East Coast. Since 2014, APA VOICE has expanded its coalition, increased the institutional knowledge and expertise of civic participation among AAPIs particularly in NYC, has directly led to over 200,000 direct voter contacts on average per year. APA VOICE has some of the most attended and successful civic participation activities, from Census outreach workshops, borough and citywide candidate forums. multi-language voter education drives, voter pledges, and exit polling. Our impact can not be understated. In the period that APA VOICE has existed from 2014 to 2021, we’ve directly registered over 100,000 new AAPI voters in NYC, and have increased voter participation rates by 350%. While we do not claim sole credit for this increase, we see ourselves making an oversized contribution due to our targeted and accessible grassroots voter education and mobilization efforts, particularly amongst LEP AAPI immigrants.

About the Organization:

APA VOICE is a 22 member organization strong coalition convened by the MinKwon Center in 2014. We emerged as the first pan-Asian coalition in NYC to increase civic participation rates among AAPIs, which historically ranked lowest in the City. APA VOICE ties its origins to the Asian American Community Coalition on Redistricting and Democracy (ACCORD), launched in 2011 to bring attention to unfairly drawn and gerrymandered districts in densely populated AAPI neighborhoods; ACCORD worked with AALDEF, Center for Law and Social Justice, and Latino Justice - PRLDEF to produce Unity Maps, and were able to successfully advocate for a minority influence Congressional district, NY-6, which led to the election of Grace Meng, the first AAPI Congressional Representative on the East Coast. Since 2014, APA VOICE has expanded its coalition, increased the institutional knowledge and expertise of civic participation among AAPIs particularly in NYC, has directly led to over 200,000 direct voter contacts on average per year. APA VOICE has some of the most attended and successful civic participation activities, from Census outreach workshops, borough and citywide candidate forums. multi-language voter education drives, voter pledges, and exit polling. Our impact can not be understated. In the period that APA VOICE has existed from 2014 to 2021, we’ve directly registered over 100,000 new AAPI voters in NYC, and have increased voter participation rates by 350%. While we do not claim sole credit for this increase, we see ourselves making an oversized contribution due to our targeted and accessible grassroots voter education and mobilization efforts, particularly amongst LEP AAPI immigrants.

organizational budget

2 MILLION - 3 MILLION

existence for

31+ YEARS

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

California

organizational budget

2 MILLION - 3 MILLION

existence for

31+ YEARS

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

California

The Issue:

APA VOICE is a 22 member organization strong coalition convened by the MinKwon Center in 2014. We emerged as the first pan-Asian coalition in NYC to increase civic participation rates among AAPIs, which historically ranked lowest in the City. APA VOICE ties its origins to the Asian American Community Coalition on Redistricting and Democracy (ACCORD), launched in 2011 to bring attention to unfairly drawn and gerrymandered districts in densely populated AAPI neighborhoods; ACCORD worked with AALDEF, Center for Law and Social Justice, and Latino Justice - PRLDEF to produce Unity Maps, and were able to successfully advocate for a minority influence Congressional district, NY-6, which led to the election of Grace Meng, the first AAPI Congressional Representative on the East Coast. The lack of AAPI civic participation is multi-dimensional and intersectional. While the AAPI population in New York has grown over 70% since 2000 and now is 18 percent of NYC's population translating to almost 1 in 5 New Yorkers being AAPI, voter participation rates, funding resources, political representation and power have not kept pace with growth . Less than half of our community votes, due in large part to low naturalization & citizenship rates, voter registration, and engagement rates. NYC AAPI subgroups represent the highest percentage of foreign-born immigrants within the City at 71 percent. According to the 2016 American Community Survey, AAPIs have the highest rate (42.5 percent) of linguistic isolation of any racial group. In addition to the long-standing model minority myths, the lack of AAPI civic participation, political representation and empowerment leads to an overall underfunding and underinvestment of local and state resources in our communities. Despite the fact that AAPIs have one of the highest poverty rates in NYC (23.4% compared to the citywide poverty rate of 19.9% in the 2017 NYC Government Poverty Measure), AAPI led and serving organizations receive only 4 percent of the City's discretionary funding and 1.5 percent in social service contracts. In order to alleviate poverty and empower AAPI communities, we need better representation in local government that understands and advocates on our behalf.

The Solution:

Since our inception, APA VOICE has played a critical infrastructure role to build the capacity and expertise of grassroots organizations in direct contact with the different Asian ethnic communities to increase the civic participation of AAPI New Yorkers, particularly among limited English proficient immigrants and low propensity voters. We accomplish this through six non-partisan, comprehensive efforts -- voter registration, research, education, mobilization, assistance, and protection. Voter Registration Registering voters and expanding the voting electorate to reflect the immigrant communities that we serve and represent is the foundation of the coalition’s civic engagement work. Since 2010, our coalition has registered over 100,000 Asian-Americans in New York.

Voter Research Our Get Out the Vote outreach is driven by the electoral data we collect, track and disseminate to our community members. Our language access advocacy is also grounded in research. We also collaborate with national Asian - American voting organizations to benchmark local trends with federal data. Voter Education APA VOICE organizations work directly with community members to lead voter education seminars. In the most recent lead up to the 2021 primary election, we are leading ranked choice voting outreach and providing voter education in a diverse range of community languages. Voter Mobilization As the first Asian-American organization to engage in large-scale phone banking and door knocking in New York City, MinKwon maintains access to voter databases to analyze and focus on voters who haven’t voted in past elections GOTV efforts. We provide technical assistance and coordination to APA VOICE members with their GOTV to mobilize their communities. Voter Assistance Our coalition creates and distributes thousands of voter and candidate information guides in multiple languages for every primary and general election. We operate the only community multilingual election hotline in New York City to assist voters on important election information, such as identifying poll sites and obtaining the status of their registrations. Voter Protection APA VOICE coordinates with the AALDEF to engage Asian-American voters in exit poll surveys on every election day to track and ensure the protection of voters' rights. We survey voters if they experienced any problems, delays, omissions or harassment.

Get Updates about the Gold Futures Challenge

Join our email list to receive challenge updates!