January 8, 2021

Hey East Portland! Apply for APANO’s Building Civic Power program!

Deadline to apply has passed.

Building Civic Power is an online program that will bring together 6-10 Asian and Pacific Islanders (APIs) who live or work in East Portland to amplify their storytelling power and civic leadership potential.

The goal of Building Civic Power is to develop API civic leaders in East Portland who can use their stories to powerfully advocate for their communities and actively participate in decisions that impact them. Currently in its second cohort after its pilot run in Washington County, the program will include six biweekly online workshops from February-April 2021 that will provide opportunities for participants to explore what it means to be a leader, engage in peer-to-peer learning surrounding advocacy and civic engagement, and practice their storytelling skills. Workshops will be discussion and story-based and explore multiple dimensions of leadership, such as what it means to hold power and responsibility, lead sustainability, participate in civic life as an API, and more. The program will culminate in an online community event led by participants that will allow them to share their stories and learnings.

The workshops will be designed and coordinated by facilitators Marilou Carrera and Alyshia Macaysa. To benefit most from the program curriculum, participants should have a basic understanding of systemic oppression and be committed to social change in solidarity with BIPOC (Black, Indigenous, and People of Color) communities.

Participants will be expected to attend all online workshops and participate in the final online community event. Final workshop and event dates will be determined by applicants’ availability as received in the application. Each participant will receive a $200 gift card to honor their participation.

Why is storytelling important?

APANO believes that telling our stories, speaking truths, imagining alternatives, and shifting social narratives matters as a strategy for cultural change. By elevating members’ stories and connecting them to issues, APANO aims to advance a long-term cultural strategy to impact beliefs, actions, and policies through centering the voices of those most impacted and silenced, resisting and shifting harmful narratives and ideas, and moving beyond defensive strategies to envisioning alternatives. Building Civic Power is one of many initiatives within APANO’s Cultural Work program. Read more about APANO’s Cultural Work strategies in our current Strategic Plan.


Monday, January 25, 2021 -- Applications due by 9:00am
Week of February 1, 2021 -- Applicants notified of selection decisions and finalized workshop dates, based on group availability
Week of February 7, 2021 -- Biweekly online workshops begin
Week of April 18, 2021 -- Final online workshop
May-June 2021 -- Online community storytelling event, date TBD based on group availability

Should I apply?

We are seeking participants who identify as Asian and/or Pacific Islander, live or work in East Portland, and want to develop their storytelling and civic leadership potential. Ideal participants believe in the power of storytelling to cultivate social change; live or work east of, or immediately adjacent to, 82nd Avenue; and have interest in advocacy, civic engagement, and elevating the voices of APIs in decision-making.

Additionally, participants who are best positioned for this program at this time have a basic understanding of systemic oppression, are interested in storytelling and advocacy from a place of decolonization and healing, and are committed to advocacy in solidarity across BIPOC communities -- understanding that while storytelling is a place to name our own personal experiences as APIs, the advocacy connected to it should not happen at the expense of other BIPOC communities. Feel free to email candace@apano.org with questions.

How do I apply?

Application has deadline has passed. If you would like to prepare your responses in advance of filling out the Google Form, narrative questions from the application are as follows:

  • What identities do you carry with you?
  • Why would you like to participate in this project?
  • What is your connection to Asian and Pacific Islander communities in East Portland?
  • What do you think are the biggest barriers to civic participation for APIs in East Portland?
  • What role(s) do you think arts, culture, and storytelling play in cultivating social change?
  • Currently, how comfortable do you feel sharing your stories and experiences with others?
  • What would you like to learn through your participation in Building Civic Power?


Contact Candace Kita, Cultural Strategy Director, at candace@apano.org.

This program is made possible by the Collins Foundation and the East Portland Action Plan.

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