Podcast: Reclaiming the California Dream

Podcast: Reclaiming the California dream


Reclaiming the California Dream is a limited podcast series featuring amazing stories from deeply rooted California community members and what their community means to them. By working together to pass the Schools and Communities First Act, we can sustain our culture, provide stability for our families and build a future where all Californians have access to quality health care and education we deserve.

Reclaiming the California Dream is brought to you by AAPIs for Civic Empowerment Education Fund (https://aapiforce-ef.org) and Project by Project San Francisco (https://projectbyproject.org).

Produced by Raymond Luu. 

Listen to the podcast trailer:


To stay up to date on our episode releases, follow Reclaiming the California Dream on Spotify here.

#ChooseUs Week of Action

#ChooseUs Week of Action

While workers in California struggle to make ends meet, corporate billionaires get richer. That is not acceptable. Community groups, unions, policy groups and philanthropy groups across California are coming together to launch the: 

#ChooseUsNotBillionaires CALIFORNIA WEEK OF ACTION (July 31 – Aug 7th)

We demand that Gavin Newsom and our elected officials #ChooseUs — the people of California — not wealthy corporations. Every day from Friday, July 31st to Friday, Aug 7th, we will demand that legislators invest in a just #RecoveryForAll that reverses historical inequities and creates collective benefits for us all.

Why are we having this week of action?

  • Too many of California’s politicians allow wealthy corporations and their lobbyists to bend the rules and determine our policy and budget priorities.
    • The rich make billions, while essential workers earn less than a living wage. Renters are forced to pay sky high rent to live in unstable housing. Immigrants live in fear and exclusion. All the while, schools, and neighborhoods remain underfunded.
  • With an uprising in the midst of a pandemic, we have a historic opportunity to choose our fellow Californians – Black families, students, essential workers, renters, and immigrants – over billionaires and corporations.
  • Right now, and this election year, is our moment to rewrite our collective future so that all of us – not just a wealthy few – are safe and thriving.
    • This moment isn’t about a lack of resources, especially in a state that is as wealthy as California. There is enough for everyone to have what we need to stay healthy, safe, and connected. The choices we make now on how to use the abundant resources we have will determine our future.
  • California’s leaders must choose, do you work for corporate billionaires or us?
    • We see now more than ever that the status quo that favors the wealthy – and leaves the rest of us sick, poor and over-policed – is an act of systemic racism and inequality. California’s lawmakers must choose a path forward that protects health, safety, and long-term economic well-being for all of us.
  • We are powerful when we act together. We choose us. We choose California. We need Governor Newsom and our other elected leaders to choose us too.
    • Now is the time to #ChooseUs!

There will be in-person and digital actions demanding that California protects essential workers, Black lives, immigrants, students, and renters. Will you #ChooseUs over billionaires?


AAPI FORCE-EF Condemns Trump’s Memorandum Excluding Undocumented Immigrants from Census Count

AAPIs For Civic Empowerment Education Fund Condemns Trump’s Memorandum Excluding Undocumented Immigrants from Census Count


July 22, 2020

Media Contact: Lan Nguyen, Lan@aapiforce.org

In yet another attack on immigrant communities, President Trump issued a Presidential Memorandum yesterday requiring the U.S. Census Bureau to exclude undocumented individuals from being counted for the allocation of congressional seats. This memo is unconstitutional and is being challenged by legal advocacy groups.


This is a continuation of Trump’s ongoing efforts to defund and disempower immigrant communities. In 2018, the Trump Administration announced a plan to include a question about citizenship status on the 2020 Census, but the attempt was blocked by the Supreme Court last year. The 2020 Census questionnaire does NOT have a question asking about citizenship, and no such question will be added.


Trump’s memorandum is shameful and racist by insinuating that undocumented people do not count as “persons” living in each state. He is wrong. Undocumented immigrants live, work, and go to school in every state, and practice civic engagement in a variety of ways to make our communities thrive. Our undocumented communities count.


“This memorandum continues Trump’s campaign to sow fear amongst all immigrants and discourage our communities from taking action in the streets and at the ballot box in a moment where their political activity could prove decisive in the 2020 election,” says Timmy Lu, executive director of AAPIs for Civic Empowerment Education Fund (AAPI FORCE-EF).


Data from the U.S. Census is used to determine representation in the U.S. House of Representatives, along with allocation of federal funds. Immigrants, along with communities of color, are deemed “hard to count”, with the AAPI population having the lowest Census response rate of any race. This leads to less of political power in Congress, and fewer resources for local communities. California is already at risk of losing representation due to a Census undercount and with 1 out of 8 Asian immigrants being undocumented in California, Trump’s memorandum presents a direct threat to the health, well-being, and political power of our communities. 


“We expect that our undocumented communities will continue to do what they have been doing in the face of past attacks: supporting their families, making a positive impact in the communities they reside in, and being politically engaged, which includes completing the Census,” says Lu.


Artists Create Art to Promote AAPI Participation in the 2020 Census

Artists Create Art to Promote AAPI Participation in the 2020 Census

In May of this year, we put a call-out for AAPI artists and community members to use their creative talents and create artwork inspiring hard to count AAPI communities to fill out the census. Asian Americans, along with Pacific Islanders, are the racial groups least likely to fill out the census. With COVID-19 preventing organizers from mobilizing the community through door-knocking and in-person events, we turned to digital art to inspire and inform our communities about the Census. Check the entries from these talented artist/activists  below:

1st Place Winner - Teo Octavia Saragi

[visit the artist’s website here]

2nd Place Winner - Anmoldeep Singh

3rd Place Winner - Tia Ng Groce

Jasmine Lee

[Visit the artist’s website here]

Eugene Vang

Joy Ming

Houa Lee

Yeej Moua

[Visit the artist’s website here]

Linlin Yu

Jasmine Lee

[Visit the artist’s website here]

Karina Yang

All People of America, no matter the background or occupation, participate in the 2020 Census!
#CountUsIn #AAPI2020

James Dinh

[Visit the artist’s website here]

Ellie Yang Camp

[Visit the artist’s website here]

Ellie Yang Camp

[Visit the artist’s website here]

Weiran Zhang

View this post on Instagram

#census2020 #aapi2020 #countusin

A post shared by Weiran Art_ (@weiranzhang6) on

Joy Wang

Grace Sun

Hello everyone!! We are well into the month of May, which you may know is Asian American and Pacific Islander Heritage Month. As you may know also, the 2020 Census is being held this year. The 2020 Census is really crucial because even though you might not realize it, the Census results help determine how billions of dollars in federal funding flows into states and communities each year. So, you are a huge part of helping the United States and everyone around you. Because of you participating in the Census, the results determine how many seats in Congress each state gets, which influences so many things that happen in our daily lives. Doing the Census is very simple: You can respond online at www.my2020census.gov, by phone at 844-330-2020, or by a letter that you receive in the mail. Unfortunately, many members of the AAPI community don’t participate because they don’t realize the importance of the Census. It is our job to inform these people of our Asian-American community, whether they are juniors or seniors, that every voice counts. In this difficult time with COVID-19, this is a call to action for all of us to make our voices heard and proudly represent our Asian American and Pacific Islander heritage! ♡

#countusin #countusin2020 #AAPI2020 #aapi2020 #aapiheritagemonth #2020census #census2020 #censusart #americanbornchinese #proudabc #aapicommunity #aapi #aapiforceef #southasiannetwork #digitalart #photoshop #firstdigitalart #uscensus #wacom #wacompad

Zilin (Lynn) Jin

[Visit the artist’s website here]

Elsa Ly

The Census is a survey that counts the number of people living in the United States and the five U.S. territories. The Census decides how much money is distributed for funding for schools, hospitals, fire departments, and also improving neighborhoods. It also helps determine the number of seats your state has in the House of Representatives, and a whole lot more. All in all, completing the Census will only better help you and your community, so please don’t forget to fill it out!! #countusin #aapi2020census #aapi2020 #hmong#census#census2020

Teo Octavia Saragi

[Visit the artist’s website here]

Teo Octavia Saragi

[Visit the artist’s website here]

Richa Dihal

Volunteer With Us: Put Communities Over Corporations

Volunteer With Us: Put Communities Over Corporations

We need your help to put #CommunitiesOverCorporations! 100 Champions for Our Schools & Communities is a collaboration by AAPI FORCE and our network organizations. The goal is to expand grassroots power, and build a powerful progressive force to mobilize on key issues and win Schools & Communities First! We want to build a community of folks who can support one another on taking action towards our collective vision for our future.

From the earlier campaign days of building the coalition to gathering signatures to qualify the campaign, to now preparing for the fight at the polls, we’ve always relied on and will continue to need grassroots, activist power to fuel the movement. We know we will be outspent millions by wealthy corporations and the corporate elite. That is why we need champions in our communities to help us to talk to voters, text their networks, write op-eds, design graphics, utilize storytelling, etc, so we can put our #CommunitiesOverCorporations. With #PeoplePower, that is how we can put our Schools and Communities First.

Join Our Teach In: Teach-In: Building Working Class AAPI Political Power in CA

APA Heritage Month Teach-In: Building Working Class AAPI Political Power in California

As we celebrate APA heritage month, it’s important to recognize that Asian American and Pacific Islander communities possess not only a culturally dense and diverse history, but also that our peoples stem from histories of resistance, survival, resilience, and power. Join us as we share and celebrate our communities’ history of building power for working class Cambodian, Chinese, Hmong, Filipino, Lao, Mien, Khmu, and broader Asian American and Pacific Islander communities throughout California.

We are a united front of people who come from farmworkers, domestic workers, immigrants, and refugees. Time and time again, our communities have fought to gain political influence. We’ve battled the greed of corporate interests, the racism and xenophobia of white supremacy, and the intersectional struggles of sexism, homophobia, and other oppressive structures that attempt to divide us and disempower us. But our common histories and values unite us in the fight for a better California that represents working class AAPIs.

While banks bail out big corporations instead of supporting small businesses in the midst of COVID-19, our community groups are delivering care packages to elders, providing work-from-home employment opportunities for youth, and setting up emergency stabilization funds. We are the people keeping California thriving, and it’s time that California reflects our values.

Learn more about our histories, what lies ahead for our movement, and how you can get involved and #Represent alongside us.

The teach-in will be hosted by the AAPIs for Civic Empowerment coalition, which consists of Khmer Girls in ActionChinese Progressive AssociationFilipino Advocates for JusticeAsian Pacific Environmental Network, and Hmong Innovating Politics.

**This will be a virtual teach-in, so you can join us from any location!**

May 15th, 2020 from 2:00-3:30pm PST

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

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.”



#AAPIPower2018 CA June Primary Twitter Townhall!

#AAPIPower2018 CA June Primary Twitter Townhall!

Join us on May 21st at 1PM PST for a Twitter Townhall discussing #AAPIPower2018 and the issues we’re deciding on in the CA June Primary election. Participate in the live conversation withJenny Yang, Comic/Writer, Timmy Lu from AAPIs for Civic Empowerment Education Fund, Amy Horn from Khmer Girls in Action, Cha Vang from Hmong Innovating Politics (HIP) and Seng So from Asian Pacific Environmental Network (APEN)