August 31, 2017

What does it mean to respond to this political moment?

by Robin Ye
Field Organizer

Although we here at APANO don’t have all the answers, we understand that to truly uphold our mission, vision, and values requires us to be bold, to speak truth to power, and to understand that our communities cannot wait for others to improve our lives.

In this political moment, I’ve seen people more than ever willing to join the movement to redefine what it means to belong, to make sure that everyone in our communities can bring their whole selves to the world wherever they go. APANO can offer that space for Asian Pacific Islanders to get involved in this fight. And make no mistake, this is a fight, and the staff and members here at APANO are ready for it -- but we cannot do it alone. Our organization is a small but mighty force, but our capacity will always be limited compared to all the things we wish we could do. Our capacity grows when our members get involved and help build the world they want to see.

Our organization is rapidly growing. This year, we became a 501(c)(4) organization engaged in more direct political organizing. My role as a Field Organizer is to bridge and make cohesive the strengths of APANO -- Community Organizing, Leadership Development, Political Advocacy, Cultural Work, and Community Development (Jade District) -- into this new chapter of electoral organizing, while centering current and new member voices in the process.

To do this, we're constantly assessing opportunities to expand and create new programming, making sure these programs are sustainable and skills-oriented, that our members and participants grow through our programming and hone their own power while doing so.

We’re creating more space for our community to gather, socialize, and discuss: APANO Monthly Member Meetings -- starting this September 21st (5:30-7:30 pm; Location TBD, SE Portland) and continuing every 3rd Thursday of the Month. Our first Member Meeting, complete with food and refreshments, will explore the question: “Are we Winning? Are we being Heard?”

We’re returning to College Campuses to activate Student Organizing, starting with Portland State University in partnership with the PSU Pacific Islander, Asian & Asian American Student Center (PIAAA).

We’re embarking on a Listening Tour in 8 cities across the State to better inform our organization’s grassroots-led policy and advocacy agenda.

We’re taking the next step with our 501c4 Political Endorsements for the upcoming 2018 Election Cycle. APANO hopes to be a pivotal player influencing and holding our elected officials accountable to our communities.

We’re forming a Political Team and looking for an APANO Political Director to shape our c4 work.

At APANO, we’re asking ourselves what it means to build political power for the API community in Oregon. This means imagining what civic engagement looks year-round, not just when an election comes around. It means asking APIs to be active and engaged members of your community -- the communities you know and understand the best. It means organizing people and organizing resources to control and create change on our own terms.

For the APIs out here in Oregon, I encourage you to Get Involved with APANO (and email with all of your questions!). Bring a friend, build a community.

If you feel overwhelmed or disconnected with our politics, it’s because our world has been intentionally and systematically built for you to feel that way. But we can change that, together. Our voices and perspectives are needed now more than ever to elevate the level of public debate.

Be Bold. Don’t ever give away your power. Find community wherever you can. I hope APANO can be that community. I hope you will join us in this fight.