A couple of days have passed since our APANO Lobby Day at Oregon’s state capitol, but the energy still lingers from our one of our most powerful days of action and participation. 60 APANO members clad boldly in red t-shirts; they represented a beautiful mosaic of diversity from over 15 different ethnicities, various sexual orientations, languages, and cultural identities. They came from various parts of our state, from Eugene, Corvallis, Gresham, Lake Oswego, Beaverton, and the Portland-metro area. Our mission was to unite Asian and Pacific Islanders to advocate for their rights to an equitable education, accessible and affordable healthcare, and fairness in the workplace. We felt that mission being carried out through our members, from the way they told their stories with confidence, to the meaningful relationships they built with their legislators.
It was an exciting day of activism and leadership development for new members who have never lobbied before, to the seasoned ones who join us year after year. Some of the highlights I wanted to include:
- We met with 30 Republican and Democratic legislators, including champions like Rep. Alissa Keny-Guyer, Speaker Tina Kotek, Sen. Michael Dembrow and Rep. Joe Gallegos who are fighting for policies that serve our diverse, immigrant communities of color
- We dropped our legislative priorities packet to 15 additional legislative offices
- We trained over 12 Team Captains to lead and coach groups of constituents during the meetings with electeds
- We made sure everyone we talked to knew about COFA, the Compact of Free Association and health equity issues for it’s citizens.
We heard the resounding theme of speaking up and using our voice to make change throughout the day, thanks to our amazing speakers. Everyone of our members from elders to youth, immigrant, refugee, to U.S. citizen amplified this powerful theme. Thank you to our members for your courage, strength, and being a voice for the many thousands. You are APANO.