July 27, 2020

Lead with your story: Apply for APANO’s Building Civic Power program in Washington County!

Deadline: Monday, August 17, 2020, 9:00am
Apply here: bit.ly/bcpwashcoapp

What is Building Civic Power?

Building Civic Power is a pilot program that will bring together 8-10 Asian and Pacific Islanders (APIs) in Washington County to amplify their storytelling power and civic leadership potential.

The goal of Building Civic Power is to develop API civic leaders in Washington County who can use their stories to powerfully advocate for their communities and actively participate in decisions that impact them. Currently in its pilot year, the program will include seven biweekly online workshops from September-December 2020 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 workshops will be designed and coordinated by Sushmita Poddar, a Washington County community member and APANO member. The program will culminate in a community event in 2021 led by participants that will allow them to share their stories and learnings.

Participants will be expected to attend all online workshops and participate in the final community event (which may be online or in-person, depending on what is possible at that time). Final workshop 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, August 17, 2020 -- Applications due by 9:00am

Week of August 24, 2020 -- Applicants notified of selection decisions and finalized workshop dates, based on group availability

Week of September 13, 2020 -- Biweekly workshops begin

Week of December 6, 2021 -- Final workshop

January-March 2021 -- Community storytelling event, date TBD based on group availability

How do I apply?

We are seeking participants who identify as Asian and/or Pacific Islander, are based in Washington County, 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 in Washington County, and have interest in advocacy, civic engagement, and elevating the voices of APIs in decision-making. Feel free to email candace@apano.org and sush@isush.com with questions.

If you are interested in participating, please fill out this Google Form by Monday, August 17, 2020, at 9:00am. If you would like to prepare your responses in advance of filling out the Google Form, narrative questions from the application are as follows:

  • Why would you like to participate in this project?
  • What is your connection to Asian and Pacific Islander communities in Washington County?
  • What do you think are the biggest barriers to civic participation for APIs in Washington County?
  • 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 and Sushmita Poddar, Building Civic Power Community Organizer, at sush@isush.com.