APIAVote is a national organization dedicated to elevating the voices of Asian American and Pacific Islander (AAPI) communities and getting them more engaged in the political process. We sat down with Alton Wang, Communications & Development Associate at APIAVote to hear what about the world they're building.
"What kind of work does APIAVote do?"
Alton Wang: APIAVote is a national nonpartisan organization that focuses on voter mobilization in the Asian American, Native Hawaiian, and Pacific Islander communities. We’re really targeted towards increasing voter turnout numbers across the board.
We do research on the AAPI electorate to better understand the issues that our communities face, we do direct voter contact to remind people and educate people about how elections and voting works, and we also do communications work to ensure that our message is out there, and that people know the Asian American Pacific Islander (AAPI) community is an important electorate to reach. Although based in Washington, DC, we’re now working in about 24 states.
"What aspect of your work are you most excited about?"
AW: I think the thing we’re most excited about at the moment is our Presidential Town Hall on August 12th in Las Vegas. We’re expecting almost 4,000 community members, leaders, and organizers from across the country to converge in Vegas to hear from the presidential candidates about issues facing our communities, and how they’re going to address them.
It’s a lot of work, but it’s something we’ve been real excited about. The Town Hall will be a unique opportunity for candidates to speak directly to the AAPI community - something that does not happen very often.
We’re also really excited about the work we’re doing to engage voters in states that we’re just beginning to build coalitions in. We’re starting to do work now in places like Iowa, Wisconsin, and New Mexico, and it’s exciting to watch growth in areas that people don’t think many Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders reside. We’re making sure that our communities have voices no matter what part of the country they’re in.
"How is online organizing important to your organization?"
AW: Engagement in the digital space is critical to our work, especially when we’re trying to reach younger community members. It also helps us create a hub of information for our community.
I think one of our focuses is to ensure our community is educated, and to do that we need resources and spaces where we can actually reach and engage them appropriately. The digital space is really conducive to that kind of work, because it allows us to really concentrate our efforts and complement the work that we do in the field and on the ground. We want to ensure that we’re hitting all the different prongs of outreach and engagement that we can, and working both offline and online does that.
The EveryAction team just designed our new website, and we use EveryAction as our primary database. We also use the engagement tools like targeted email to communicate with our community members. We keep them up-to-date with our work through EveryAction, and that’s pretty important for us because it allows us to not only track how we’re engaging them, but also allows us to better engage people on a more consistent basis.
"What motivates you to do your work?"
AW: Every election cycle, we always say “this is the most important election of our time” and that’s always true. For our community, it’s critical that we make our voices, issues, and priorities heard now, so people won’t consider us a community whose needs aren’t important. That’s why it's necessary we urge our communities to vote, because it really proves to our elected officials and representatives that we are here, we are present, we are engaged, and we do care about the future of this country.
Our EveryAction Hero is a monthly blog series featuring clients that inspire us. Want to talk more about the work we do for APIAVote or find out how EveryAction can help your nonprofit? Click here to email Katie!