Grassroots Asian American organizations are building power at state and municipal levels across the country for racial, economic, gender, and environmental justice. As progressive and issue-based Asian American nonprofit organizations have grown in the last decade into effective and scaled voter engagement operations, so too has the demand to grow corresponding 501(c)(4) infrastructure to impact campaigns at the local, state, and federal levels. What was an informal network of new and emerging organizations coming together for peer support solidified in the 2020 General Election and subsequent Georgia run-offs into a group capable of incubating new projects in critical battleground states and staffing major field and organizing operations.
At the same time, Asian American communities face twin crises of the pandemic and escalating anti-Asian racism and xenophobia. From March 2020 to September 2021, there have been over 10,370 reported anti-Asian hate incidents on the reporting site #StopAAPIHate, and over the last year, we have seen attacks range from verbal harassment to violent physical attacks. The attack in Georgia on March 16th, 2021 represented the worst of our fears. But even through these challenges, our community has been able to respond thanks to the presence of long-standing community organizations, and new organizations formed to build and exert the political power of our communities.
In 2020, ten state-based Asian American c4 organizations united to create a strong, well-resourced c4 infrastructure. The Asian American Power Network builds an America where Asian American Pacific Islander (AAPI) communities have equal power and access. Asian Americans are the fastest-growing demographic in the United States and have the power to steer pivotal campaigns for progressive wins. As a network, AAPN:
Builds progressive political power for the AAPI community through greater representation and beyond
Will win meaningful changes for their local communities, and
Fill holes in political and power building infrastructure