A Recap of Voices of Change 2016: A Celebration of Asian American Pacific Islander Heritage Month

By Melissa Magana

Friday, May 6th marked the start of APANO’s second year at JAMS– the Jade/APANO Multicultural Space–where we proudly celebrated our fifth annual Voices of Change Celebration. While standing near the entrance during our program I marveled that it’s hard to believe a full year has passed, which caused me to enter a somewhat existential internal monologue where I deeply considered how rapidly the years pass, how many years lay between myself and other generations, the amount of change that can occur inter- and intra-generations, and how long (or not ) it will be until I’m one of the “old” generations. During this brief mental repose amidst the rustle and press of our 230+ Voices guests, I was infused with a vast satisfaction that our second Voices of Change Celebration at JAMS was such a thorough success.

I would venture to propose that measure this success in three distinct ways:

Expression & recognition of the expanse of APANO’s work, and the age diversity of our growing membership.

In my humble opinion, the most notable indicator of our success at this year’s Voices of Change Celebration can be summed in one word: “multi-generational.” Organizationally, APANO has a strong internal history of our origins and past successes. We offer much deference and laudation to our esteemed APANO founders & elders, and to the many iterations of board members, leaders, volunteers, and staff from the past 10+ years.

To bolster our ability to reach younger community members, and to commend the excellent efforts and accomplishments of our youth organizing program, we chose to prioritize the younger generations of APANO at Voices this year. We set the bar high, wanting to showcase a cultural performer that spoke to the contemporary manifestation of creative expression, as well as wanting to feature two co-MCs who are leaders emerging from our high school and college-age programs. We succeeded with both, allowing of course for some minor technical errors and high-energy nerves.

This is also the second year in which we proudly presented two annual awards: the Minoru Yasui Voices of Change Award and the Youth Voices of Change Award. This year the honor of the Minoru Yasui Voices of Change Award was bestowed upon local lawyer and activist Peggy Nagae for her lifetime of selfless service and leadership within the Oregon API community, in the footsteps of Minoru Yasui. The Youth Voices of Change Award was presented to ALLY member-leader Jessica Yu for her dedication to API Leaders for the Liberation of Youth (ALLY) and her hard work in the successful conclusion of the Missing Pages of our History Ethnic Studies Campaign. Both of the women honored are such respected leaders and certainly demonstrate the expanse of the accomplishments throughout the many generations represented by APANO’s members.

Memorable connections with friends, supporters, partners, and community.

Thanks to the substantial value raised on behalf of APANO through the Voices of Change event, and particularly due to the generous gifting-back of unused seats by beneficent sponsors, we were able to offer complimentary seats to 60 guests–the majority of whom are our high school and college-age youth, and their families. We also welcomed a dozen special guests, from State Representatives and State Senators, to County and City Commissioners, to PPS Superintendent and Board Members, and all their respective teams. We’re thrilled to have developed relationships with five first-time Voices of Change sponsors, renewed relationships with several past sponsors, and continued to build with many supporters, members, partners, and community members. It was a delight to see such an array of faces in the crowd, ages 9 months to 90 years old.

Record total value of funds raised, and in-kind donations or services received.

This has been a record year for our Voices of Change fundraising. With the registrations & contributions of 230+ guests, 32 Sponsors (corporations, government entities, and organizations), 14 local businesses who donated to our raffle, and the countless hours of hard work put in by staff and volunteers, we were able to raise:

  • Over $7,000 from Individual Donations
  • Over $31,000 from Sponsorships & Registrations
  • Over $5,000 (estimated) from In Kind Donations      
  • TOTAL VALUE: Over $43,000!

Thank you for being a part our successes here at APANO. We do all that we do to better our communities in the coming years, and for future generations. Please continue to be a part of our work. Who knows, in the blink of an eye we may all be the older generations, telling our stories of success for APANO. Finally, since our success is yours too we look forward to sharing and celebrating with you all again next year!