As I celebrate my one year work anniversary in my new role as Lead Political Organizer at APANO, I celebrate just how far our c4 political program has grown in the last year. What started in March 2017 as an idea to expand the advocacy tools available to our organization has now blossomed into a full-fledged electoral politics program — complete with candidate endorsement programs, and resources to help elect leaders who will fight for our communities.
In the May Primary elections, APANO’s impact was felt — 6 out of the 7 candidates that APANO endorsed won, and several made history. Our very own member Jackie Leung became the first person of color to serve on the City of Salem Council, beating a long-time incumbent. Susheela Jayapal was elected Multnomah County Commissioner for North/Northeast Portland, and will be the first Indian American to serve in any elected office in Oregon. APANO devoted significant field resources to advance Jo Ann Hardesty to the runoff in November, paving the way for the first woman of color to ever be elected to Portland City Council. Representation matters, and seeing our elected officials reflect the communities they serve is essential to a government that values racial equity and fairness.
In January, to win Measure 101, APANO volunteers spoke with voters at the doors, on the phones, and over social media for nine days straight leading up to election day. By the end of it, Oregonians affirmed the belief that everyone deserves to get the healthcare they need regardless of their race/ethnicity, place of origin, gender identity, or financial resources.
I get energized about APANO’s work because we take political stands, we advocate wholeheartedly for the things we care about, we speak truth to power, and we lead with our progressive values and focused mission to build AAPI political power in Oregon.
The facts point to our growing power in the state: in 2017 the Asian population became Oregon’s fastest growing demographic, with Micronesian communities the single fastest growing ethnic minority.
While folks in our community are at different stages in their political awakening and advocacy journeys, I find it a feature not a flaw that APANO is explicitly and emphatically political. Politics alone cannot save us, but certainly for this November 2018, we have another chance to fight back against dangerous forces at the ballot. I hope you’re just as excited as I am to fight.
This programming message is brought to you by APANO, a 501c4 nonprofit organization.