Building Bridges for Justice and Freedom
June 28-29, 2023
We convened our grantees, donors, and special guests in Montgomery, the birthplace of the Civil Rights Movement. As members of AAPI communities, it was an opportunity to understand the context and history of Montgomery and our nation so that our work ahead is rooted and informed via an intersectional lens.
Day One began with a self-guided tour of the Equal Justice Initiative’s National Memorial for Peace and Justice and The Legacy Museum, a central part of our visit. The day continued with the first plenary, “Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders and the Carceral System,” with Ny Nourn (Asian Prisoner Support Committee), Easther Mulipola (Project-Respectt, Inc.), and Billy Taing (Asian Pacific Islander Reentry and Inclusion through Support and Empowerment), moderated by Sebastian Yoon (Open Society Foundations).
We kicked off Day Two with an opening plenary, “Looking Back to Move Forward,” to discuss the 2022 elections. Moderated by Jennifer Sconyers, the panel featured Haris Aqeel (Catalist) who presented an overview of the turnout data and Carrie Pugh (National AAPI Power Fund) who provided a summary analysis of polling research, followed by perspectives from leaders on the ground, Eric Jeng (Asian Community Development Council), Jennifer Chau (Arizona Asian American Native Hawaiian and Pacific Islander for Equity), and Chai Moua (Freedom, Inc). The day continued with grantee-led workshops on topics such as alternative leadership models, deepening social and emotional skills, wellness, and addressing conflict in the movement. Concurrently, grantees were offered one-on-one coaching sessions on data and analytics, digital strategies, evaluation, individual fundraising, and narrative development.
Shared Liberation: Winning Our Future Together
June 29, 2022
The program began with a conversation between Claire Jean Kim, Professor of Political Science and Asian American Studies at the University of California, Irvine, and M Adams, former Co-Executive Director at Freedom, Inc. and a leading figure at Movement for Black Lives. It was followed by a panel, “AAPI Women: Winning for Community,” moderated by Sayu Bhojwani of Women’s Democracy Lab and featured Representative Kaohly Her (MN), Senator Stephanie Chang (MI), Councilmember Esther Kia‘āina (HI), and State Delegate Kathy Tran (VA).The panelists shared what intersectionality looked like in practice, spoke to why they ran for office, and discussed the wave of change towards helping us realize a multiracial democracy.
While grantees gathered as a part of the Shared Liberation Network, funders convened separately to hear a presentation, “Losing Ground or Loyally Partisan? AAPIs in the 2022 Midterms” by the AAPI Fund’s Senior Fellow, Taeku Lee. Attendees were also able to participate in five concurrent workshops: “Crisis Communications”; “Changing the Narrative with Your Story”; “Fundraising, Mindset, Tips and Relationships”; “From Volunteers to Organizers: Strengthening Our Base”; and “AAPI Feminist Response to Misogyny and Violence in Movements.”
Moving Beyond Moments:
Solidarity and Infrastructure for the Movement
June 4, 2021
In response to health concerns posed by the COVID-19 pandemic, we hosted two one-day convening virtually. The program began with a performance from Funny Asian Women Kollective (FAWK), followed by an opening plenary session, “The Power of Our Narrative,” featured Rinku Sen (Narrative Initiative) and DA Bullock (Reclaim the Block). These speakers shared best practices on narrative development for movement building and raising audience awareness of policies. The session was moderated by Bo Thao-Urabe (Senior Programs Strategist for the AAPI Fund)
There were eight workshops on digital resilience, language equity and voter protection, the Chinese Digital Engagement project, criminal justice policies, crisis communications and earned media, storytelling, and the Movement Hub. The day concluded with a Shared Liberation Network peer-to-peer learning session and a performance from Kiwi Illafonte (Native Guns, Mass Bass).
Sharing Stories, Creating Alliances, Building Power
February 3-4, 2020
Day One opened with “History of Power: How We Actively Weave Our Histories Together for Movement Building” – a timeline activity to explore the history of the Southeast Asian communities in the U.S. as a starting point for making connections between struggles with other communities. This session was co-led by community organizers of Mekong NYC, Freedom, Inc. from Madison, and the Providence Youth Student Movement.
Day Two featured “Fighting for the Right to Vote,” a conversation on the voting rights challenges faced by AAPIs. It was followed by peer-to-peer strategic planning sessions and “Building Power with Data (Learning As We Build Power)” breakouts identifying future research priorities and offering an orientation to The Movement Cooperative. The day concluded with the session, “The Day After: Post Election Scenario Planning.”
Weaving for Strength:
Integrated Civic Engagement Throughout Our Communities
January 14-16, 2019
Los Angeles, CA
Facilitated by Nicola Chin and Jennifer Sconyers, this convening kicked off with an evening panel discussion with Debbie Chen (OCA-Greater Houston), Vetnah Monessar (EMGAGE-Florida), Huong Nguyen (New Mexico Asian Family Center), and Jonathan Paik (Korean Resource Center) on their organizations’ experience of the 2018 Election. The first day concluded with a drumming performance by children and youth drummers of the Korean Resource Center.
The first session of Day Two unpacked the most recent elections and was followed by group discussions on how to build governing power in 2019 and in local elections. Concurrent workshops covered strategic communications, featuring Bo Thao-Urabe, from the Coalition of Asian American Leaders; Cha Vang, from Hmong Innovating Politics; SangHo Hwang, Korea Daily reporter; and Vincent Pan, the Co-Executive Director of Chinese for Affirmative Action. In the afternoon, participants traveled to the Japanese American National Museum for a panel featuring speakers Stephanie Cho, Executive Director of Asian Americans Advancing Justice-Atlanta; Sujata Tejwani, who served as 2018 Coordinated Campaign Director in Georgia on behalf of Stacey Abrams; and Nse Ufot of the New Georgia Project and the New Georgia Project Action Fund. Speakers focused on the intersections of politics, race, and organizing through the work carried out during the gubernatorial race in Atlanta during their panel.
AAPIs in 2018: Keeping Democracy and Justice Alive
March 12-14, 2018
We brought together grantee partners, funders, and special guests to build relationships amongst a new cohort of grantees and foster conversations on creating a culturally affirming, vibrant AAPI movement. The event kicked off with an evening panel on AAPI Community Power featuring Dan Ichinose (Asian Americans Advancing Justice-Los Angeles), Tram Nguyen (New Virginia Majority Education Fund), and Sayu Bhojwani (New American Leaders). Participants also engaged in sessions ranging from conversations on strategic alliance building and gender justice to trainings on data, election campaign basics, governing power, base building, and learning to manage staff and delegate effectively.
Building AAPI Power: Being the Change that Transforms America
October 24-25, 2017
New Orleans, LA
We gathered with our grantees, donors, and special guests at the Ashe Cultural Arts Center and the Troubadour Hotel. Attendees had a chance to share insights on forming a racial and gender justice analysis to the AAPI experience in America and the need for a culturally affirming, vibrant AAPI movement. Program highlights included a panel, “AAPIs Rising to the Challenge,” featuring Taeku Lee (Asian American Decisions), Haris Aqeel & Christina Coloroso (Catalist), and Karthick Ramakrishnan (AAPI Data); and workshops on fundraising, leadership types, base building, and Integrated Voter Engagement.
Building AAPI Community Power in 2016
January 19-20, 2016
Los Angeles, CA
We convened stakeholders from across the country including grantees, special guests, coaches, and donors to bolster their skills, deepen their knowledge of the field, and strengthen their networks.
A program highlight was a dinner plenary featuring Taeku Lee (Political Scientist and Professor of Law at the University of California, Berkeley), John Chiang (California State Treasurer), and Maria Elena Durazo (International Union Vice President for Civil Rights, Diversity and Immigration, UNITE HERE). Moderated by Cathy Cha of the Evelyn & Walter Haas, Jr. Fund, the panel discussed the past and potential impact of AAPI civic participation, underscoring the importance of work of local groups on the ground. The program also included skills building workshops on Integration and Base Building, Volunteer and Leadership Development, Election Campaign Basics, and Power Mapping.
Step by Step, and in Leaps and Bounds:
Building the Power of AAPI Communities
February 4-6, 2015
We held our inaugural convening that reflected our belief that growth happens in moments, and through time, and that all learning, big or small — whether from our own life experiences or by training and coaching from experts in the field — is essential. All that we do each day contributes to the building of both our organizations and community and furthers the shared goal of strengthening AAPI civic participation within a vibrant American democracy.
It was designed first and foremost in response to requests from our grantees to meet, dialogue, and learn from one another’s work. Whether the organization has been working for 20 years or two, all were present to hone in on their engagement skills, develop a shared analysis of 2014, and explore what can unite AAPIs and the New American Majority in the year ahead and beyond.