We Need Your Help: Make California’s November Elections Safe and Simple for All

We Need Your Help: Make California’s November Elections Safe and Simple for All

California has been a national leader on voting reforms for years. COVID-19 should not stop us from continuing to ensure democracy works for all people, not just a select few. California must meet the moment making the November election safe and simple for all.

While we applaud state leaders that are calling for every voter to be mailed a ballot, voting by mail is not enough.  

California leaders must expand the number of in-person voting locations this November to support voters that need a replacement ballot, need any kind of in-person language or physical assistance, do not have an address to receive a vote-by-mail ballot, are new to voting, or need to register and vote on the same day. Having as many in-person locations as possible, with as many early voting opportunities as possible, is the only safe way to conduct an election under the current conditions. And poll workers need good pay and protections to protect their health.

Send a letter to State Legislative Leaders calling them to expand safe and simple options for voting this November.

Our families and neighborhoods are stronger, safer and healthier when we show up and represent for one another.  


Alliance of Californians for Community Empowerment (ACCE)
Asian Americans & Pacific Islanders for Civic Empowerment (AAPI FORCE)
California Calls
California Donor Table
California Environmental Justice Alliance
California League of Conservation Voters
Coalition for Humane Immigrant Rights (CHIRLA)
IE United
NARAL Pro-Choice California
Orange County Civic Engagement Table
PICO California
Power California
SEIU California

A Town Hall on Anti-Asian Racism

A Townhall on Anti-Asian Racism

Race, Struggle, and Solidarity In The Time of a Global Pandemic

On March 28th, 2020, our executive director Timmy Lu spoke in a town hall addressing Anti-Asian racism in the midst of COVID-19. The town hall discussed the U.S.’s long history of Yellow Peril racism against Asian Americans and emphasized solidarity with other communities of color, alternatives to policing, applying a disability justice framework, and more.

Click on the links below to see our live tweets from the event and to access a recording of the town hall.

Community Care During COVID-19

Community Care During COVID-19

A message to and from AAPIs

“Movements are born of critical connections rather than critical mass.” –Grace Lee Boggs

As we’re facing a once-in-a-generation crisis with the COVID-19 pandemic, it’s more important now than ever to center human connections and be a part of a movement for community care. This means that while we are experiencing physical distance from our communities, the compassion and love we have for each other remains strong.


During this crisis, our communities are being targeted and scapegoated, with GOP politicians referencing COVID-19 as the “Chinese Virus” and numerous incidents of hate crimes against Asians. We’ve seen this before. Throughout history, Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders have been oppressed, harmed, and even killed due to our race. But time and time again, we have prevailed from these hardships by taking care of each other.


We come from peoples who have survived and flourished despite war, colonization, and environmental catastrophe. As working-class Asian American immigrants, refugees, and Pacific Islanders, our people have survived and thrived by putting community care over individual needs. We see this in elderly folks who sacrifice their time in retirement to raise their grandchildren. We see this in community members pooling money together to form community-based loan systems to combat discrimination from banks. When employers won’t grant workers adequate time off, we see workers sharing their sick leave with colleagues so that they can care for themselves and their loved ones.


We have been trained to adapt an individualistic mindset that tells us that we have to fend for ourselves. But we must remember that during the most devastating moments, community care, not hyper-individualism, is what allows us to prevail.


Despite experiencing physical isolation, we’re witnessing the power and beauty of compassion and community care. We’ve seen neighbors offering to watch each other’s children as schools close, community members delivering groceries for elders, loved ones celebrating birthdays via video chat and organizers collaborating to push for policy changes that would protect our most vulnerable populations.


Due to safety concerns about congregating in person, we may not be able to show care through physical convening and touch, but there are other ways to show love:


  • Reach out and talk to elders and immunocompromised people who are housebound and who may be experiencing loneliness from social isolation.

  • Participate in mutual aid networks like the ones in Seattle or Oakland and volunteer your time or donate money/supplies to those in need. If you can’t find a mutual aid network in your area, you can build your own or simply post what labor/goods you’re willing to offer in local neighborhood groups. Offering to make a trip to the grocery store or pharmacy could go a long way for someone in a vulnerable group.

  • Donate to community care funds like the National Domestic Workers Alliance’s Fund and APEN’s fund for Asian immigrant families. Many community members will face a loss in income and/or employment, and these funds will help them mitigate the impacts.

  • Fill out the 2020 Census and remind others to fill out the Census. Funding for local health clinics and programs like Medicaid — which are essential in crises like this one — is determined by Census responses. Asians are the least likely of any racial group to fill out the Census. And the U.S. Census Bureau offers no language support for Pacific Islander languages, leaving states and community organizations to fill the gap. To get care for our communities, we must fill out the Census ourselves and encourage others to do so.

  • Advocate for emergency policy changes regarding paid sick leave, moratorium on evictions, easier access to prescription medications for disabled people, small business relief, protection for incarcerated populations, and access to healthcare for all regardless of immigration status. Join our mailing list for an update on policy actions you can sign on to support.

As an organization working to build power amongst working class AAPIs, we recognize that working class communities will be some of the most heavily hit during this crisis. Workers such as servers, sanitation workers, manicurists, etc. may experience financial difficulties due to a cut in hours.


Here are resources to help with labor issues:

It’s especially crucial right now to stay informed and avoid spreading misinformation. Here are some resources in English and other languages to share about COVID-19:




Traditional Chinese

Simplified Chinese






This is the time to come together — not physically, but through our actions. Community care doesn’t just look like participating in mutual aid or donating funds — it also looks like adhering to physical distancing regulations. By exchanging a trip to the gym or a night out with friends for a quiet night in or a celebration via video chat, we are actively working against the spread of the virus. We are all capable of contracting and spreading the virus, but we are also all capable of keeping our communities safe. We will do our part to prevent the spread of COVID-19. We will demand that our government protect not just us, but the most vulnerable in our community. Even if we’re not out on the streets protesting, we are still looking out for each other and fighting for justice.


Call for entries: Get out the AAPI Count Art Contest!

Call for entries: Get out the AAPI Count Art Contest!

art contest announcement

Purpose of Contest:

The Census determines how over $1.5 trillion dollars in federal funding is allocated to fund local communities resources, schools, hospitals, and programs like MediCare. The Census also determines how much representation local communities receive in Congress. AAPI populations have the highest number of community members who don’t fill out the census, which means a loss of resources and political power. We need your help to change that. With COVID-19, community organizations are unable to knock on doors or host in-person events to have conversations with community members about the Census. Your contribution will make a difference in making sure that our communities are being counted!


Call for entries:

We are encouraging community members who identify as Asian American and/or Pacific Islander to submit artwork that inspires and mobilizes the AAPI community to complete the 2020 Census. Your artwork may be geared toward specific audiences within the AAPI community such as young adults, specific ethnic groups, immigrants, etc. Open to everyone 13 years old and up! If you choose to have text, the text in the artwork may be in another language.


Submit your entry by May 12th, 11:59pm!


Examples of artwork:

View this post on Instagram

As Native people we know our truths, including our histories, cultures, and identities. While 71% of us live in urban areas, we are all still tribal people and maintain our values, practices, communities, and stories. Wherever we go, we carry the hopes of our ancestors. We Count. UIHI is launching an initiative to raise awareness around the #2020Census and its importance to Native communities. We will provide educational materials and tools that our community can access to better understand the Census and help spread the word. Click the link in the bio to visit our new We Count website to learn more [link in bio] #WeCount #Natives #BeCounted #IndianCountry

A post shared by Urban Indian Health Institute (@urbanindianhealthinstitute) on


The Artwork:

Please submit a square image of the artwork (1080 x 1080 pixels or larger). Although the submission is digital, the artwork does not have to be digital – you can use other mediums and take a picture of the artwork.


How to enter:

  1. Post an image of your artwork on your personal facebook or instagram page; and

  2. Add a caption that discusses the importance of participating in the Census, and include the Census website (www.my2020census.gov). Tag us at @aapiforceef and use the hashtags #CountUsIn #AAPI2020; and

  3. Upload your artwork using this link; and

  4. All artwork and social media posts must be submitted by May 12th 11:59pm


Selection & Prizes:

  • $1,000 for first place, to be chosen by a selection committee.

  • $600 for second place, to be chosen by a selection committee.

  • $300 for third place, to be chosen by a selection committee.

  • First 50 submissions will receive a $10 gift card.

  • Selection committee will include communications staff from AAPI FORCE-EF’s steering committee organizations who are well-versed and experienced in crafting effective messaging to AAPI communities. Members of the selection committee represent community organizations that are actively working to get AAPI populations counted in the 2020 Census.

  • Selections will be judged based on artwork’s originality, creativity, effectiveness of messaging the importance of completing the Census.

  • Winners will be announced on AAPI FORCE-EF’s Facebook and Instagram page on May 18th at 12pm PST, and winners will be contacted via email.



  • You may submit multiple entries, but each entry should be sufficiently different from previous entries in design and aesthetic. Contestants who submit multiple entries and are within the first 50 entries are only eligible for one $10 gift card.

  • Must be in the U.S. and at least 13 years of age to enter; parental consent required for submissions from artists under the age of 18.


Terms and Conditions:

  1. By submitting an entry, applicants confirm that they have the consent of any persons’ whose images may appear in the artwork, and have license to use any images that are utilized in the artwork. Entries must be original, unpublished works that do not contain, incorporate or otherwise use any content, material or element that is owned by a third party or entity. Participants are welcome to use open available materials such as templates, creative commons images, or any other materials which you have permission to use to create the submission.

  2. By submitting an entry, applicants confirm that the artwork is original and created by the artist submitting the work. AAPI FORCE-EF reserves the right to disqualify any contestants who utilizes unauthorized materials.

  3. By submitting an entry, applicants agree that AAPI FORCE-EF post their artwork on our social media pages, newsletters, and other communications with no compensation to the applicant for this use, but with written credit to the artist and links to artists’ website or social media pages.

  4. PARENTAL CONSENT: Minors who enter must have obtained parent’s permission prior to entry. Minor Entrants must provide proof of written consent of a parent or legal guardian in order to be eligible to receive any prizes. If a potential winner fails to provide such documentation, the prize may be forfeited and AAPI FORCE-EF, may, in its sole discretion, select an alternate potential winner.

  5. GENERAL CONDITIONS: All federal, state and local laws and regulations apply. AAPI FORCE-EF reserves the right to disqualify any Entrant from the Contest if, in AAPI FORCE-EF’s sole discretion, it reasonably believes that the Entrant has attempted to undermine the legitimate operation of the Contest by cheating, deception, or other unfair playing practices or annoys, abuses, threatens or harasses any other entrants, AAPI FORCE-EF, or the Judges.

  6. TAXES: In order to receive a prize, potential winners must submit tax documentation requested by AAPI FORCE-EF or otherwise required by applicable law, to AAPI FORCE-EF, or the relevant tax authority, all as determined by applicable law. The potential winner and finalists, and if the winner/finalist is a minor, their parents or legal guardians, are responsible for ensuring that they comply with all the applicable tax laws and filing requirements. If a potential winner fails to provide such documentation or comply with such laws, the prize may be forfeited and AAPI FORCE-EF, may, in its sole discretion, select an alternate potential winner.

Resources about the Census:

  • Count Us In website: Coalition of community organizations working to get an accurate count of Asian Americans Native Hawaiian Pacific Islander populations.

  • 2020 Census Resource Guide from the U.S. Census Bureau

AAPI FORCE-EF Coalition Takes Part in Historic Schools & Communities First Ballot Initiative

AAPI FORCE-EF Coalition Takes Part in Historic Schools & Communities First Ballot Initiative


April 2, 2020


AAPI FORCE-EF Coalition Takes Part in Historic Schools & Communities First Ballot Initiative

To qualify for the November 2020 ballot, the multi-racial coalition behind Schools & Communities First submits over 1.7 million signatures of support


MEDIA CONTACT: Lan Nguyen, Lan@aapiforce.org


Today, AAPIs for Civic Empowerment Education Fund (AAPI FORCE-EF) is proud to announce that our state-wide mutli-racial coalition has submitted over 1.7 million signatures for the Schools & Communities First Initiative, which would direct $12 billion every year to the most pressing needs in our communities, including critical local services and schools, while protecting homeowners, renters, and small businesses.


With these signatures submitted, the initiative will qualify for the November 2020 ballot. This is the most signatures ever submitted in California for a ballot initiative, which is a historic benchmark that displays the public’s strong support for this initiative. AAPI FORCE-EF and our partner organizations, who build political power for working class Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders, collectively gathered over 5,300 signatures from our community members. Organizations that took part in our movement to collect signatures for Schools & Communities First include AYPAL, Asian Pacific Environmental Network, Chinese Progressive Association, Filipino Advocates for Justice, Hmong Innovating Politics, and Khmer Girls in Action.


“A lot of the volunteers and activists were excited about reclaiming resources for public education, and to finally address the longstanding issue of disinvestment that our public schools faced,” said Jennifer Phung, Field Director at AAPIs for Civic Empowerment. “When we asked voters to sign the petition, most people thought it was a no-brainer. It made sense that we should prioritize improving our schools, and also invest in all the things that we rely on as a community (libraries, health clinics, community programs, etc).”


A recent report from the University of Southern California (USC) showed that every county in the state stands to benefit from the Schools & Communities First initiative, and polling has shown that the Schools & Communities First initiative is supported by 58% of likely California voters.


“As we’re in the midst of this COVID-19 crisis, it is more clear now than ever that our local communities deserve the funding we need to help our communities stay healthy and thrive, from public school resources to sanitation departments to health clinics,” said Lan Nguyen, Communications Manager at AAPIs for Civic Empowerment. “Our community members are stepping up on the frontlines as healthcare providers, grocery store workers, childcare providers, and volunteers in the community. It’s time our government steps up too and invests in our communities.”