Amidst the challenges of 2020, we continued to build power with Asian and Pacific Islander leaders and communities. In the 2020 November election, APANO’s field and volunteer reached out to our community at a scale we’ve never done before:
398,865 people reached.
217,079 texts sent.
49 volunteers took action.
8 endorsed candidates won in Portland and state level seats.
7 endorsed ballot measures passed.
7 partner organizations funded to conduct voter outreach.
We couldn’t have done it without our Voter Outreach, Training & Education (VOTE) Network.
Thank you to Oregon Marshallese Community Association, Chinese American Citizens Alliance, Japanese American Citizens League, Iu Mien community leaders, Cambodian American community leaders, Hmong American Community of Oregon, and Micronesian Islander Community for reaching out to your communities and building voter power.
We spoke with our Civic Engagement Manager Coua Xiong about what the 2020 election meant to her.
APANO: What is the significance of CBOs (community based organizations) in conducting voter outreach?
Coua: Connections and relationships are a big factor in getting people to vote.
Yes, we want to vote the [bad leaders] out of office. Yes, we want to vote BIPOC candidates into office (and we have). But the 2020 elections are done. So now what?
It’s time to hold our elected leaders accountable to making the change they campaigned on. Our VOTE Network CBO’s have the connections and relationships with first time voters and non-English speaking communities to educate them on the importance of voting. It’s one part of change making. We can’t assume that our representatives will take care of the rest. It’s about showing your community that they have always had voter and constituent power and that we have to mobilize beyond the ballot box.
APANO: What was a big takeaway for you for engaging first time and younger voters?
Coua: Trust and invest in community because whether you voted for your first or fiftieth time, this election showed that change is possible when we come together.