July 8, 2019

Reflections from the Building: On the 2019 Legislative Session

As we look back on this session, we are inspired by the passage of policies that affirm and advance the health and prosperity of API families and communities. We believe that all families deserve the rights, recognition, and resources they need to thrive. In stark contrast to national events--families torn apart at the border, children detained in devastatingly inhumane conditions, and reproductive justice under unprecedented attack--we have worked to secure policies that uplift and empower families and caregivers, particularly keeping the voices and experiences of API women central to our advocacy because we recognize that women are disproportionately tasked with caregiving responsibilities.

Policies passed this session will empower folks of color, particularly women, to care for and support their families. After our wins in 2017 and 2018 for reproductive health equity, both at the legislature and the ballot; paid family and medical leave is the next major step toward ensuring all workers have time to care for each other. With the passage of this policy, we are excited to discuss and act on new ideas to advance economic justice and prosperity for the API community. As income inequality and federal tax cuts for the wealthy, the gap between the haves and the have nots continues to widen. It’s up to us in Oregon to take action on inequality.

The work also looked different this year. Both in the Capitol and outside of it, our coalitions have emerged stronger than ever, with an increasing emphasis on racial equity. We are grateful to the many incredible organizations and community members who moved these policies forward. The ongoing impact of a more representative legislature was on display this session, with the passage of bills explicitly impacting racial justice, as well as the centering of equity in legislation like the Student Success Act.

With so many long-awaited progressive priorities passing this session, we are excited to see what priorities emerge next from our members and partners. We envision a world where families are not just able to make ends meet, but to prosper and thrive, despite the systemic inequities they face. This session, we saw meaningful progress toward this goal.


Jenny Lee, Advocacy Director

This programming message brought to you by APANO Communities United Fund, a 501(c3) nonprofit organization.