May 13, 2011

Happy AAPI Heritage Month!

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Dear Friend,

In 1977, when I was still a Congressman, I worked with Congressman Frank Horton to introduce a House resolution that established the first 10 days of May as Asian Pacific Heritage Week.  A month later, Senators Daniel Inouye and Spark Matsunaga led the passage of a similar bill in the Senate.  Then in 1990, APA Heritage Week was expanded to APA Heritage Month.

May is significant for our community - it is the month when the first Japanese immigrants arrived to our country in 1843 and the month when Chinese laborers completed the transcontinental railroad in 1869. While we take this month to celebrate our accomplishments, there is yet more that we can strive for - especially in the area of political representation. AAPIs are one of the fastest growing populations, representing 5.6% of the total population yet making up only 2% of our elected officials in Congress. 

At America's Opportunity Fund, we strive to narrow the many gaps in political representation through our work. Our training series and education series are some of the ways we try to educate and build a pipeline for political leaders.

Together, I hope we can continue to expand the opportunities for our communities to be fully empowered and represented in our society. Happy Asian Pacific Heritage Month! I hope that you are able to take some time to observe this month with celebrations and events.

NM Signature
Norman Y. Mineta
Chair, America's Opportunity Fund


AOF News

May 16: Center for American Progress presents Asian American and Pacific Islander Voters in the Electorate

Vida AOF Leadership Advisor and Dewey Square Group Principal, Vida Benavides, along with Deepa Iyer (Executive Director, South Asian Americans Leading Together), Karen Narasaki (President and Executive Director, Asian American Justice Center and Bill Wong (Strategic Counsel, Bill Wong, LLC) will be speaking on a panel hosted by the Center for American. 

The panel will look at AAPI voter trends and patterns, their place in the overall political landscape and focus on what's to come for 2012. This event will also be streamed online. For more details, visit CAP's website.


May 21-22: Candidate/Candidate Training for DC/MD/VA Area

Madalene TrainingOn the weekend of May 21-22, in partnership with Virginia Delegate Mark L. Keam, AOF will host another Candidate Training for those interested in running for office or who are ready to run for the next level. This training is also ideal for those who want a deeper understanding of staffing or supporting candidates for office.

"The AOF Training provides valuable insight on the nuts and bolts of a campaign. The program also gives you reflection, insight and a gut check on whether or not this is for you. Some people are well positioned and well equipped to be "the" elected official. And some are not. This program certainly will help you determine that." -Campbell, CA City Council Member Evan Low

Training details and application here.

New Website Up and Running

Website screenshotAs part of our on-going efforts to provide consistent information about AOF, our programs and our community, we are proud to announce a completely redesigned website for our audience. The website will be updated with upcoming events, trainings, press releases and other relevant news. What do you think of our new design? What features or information would you like to see? Let us know via email, Facebook or Twitter.

Highlights of our website:

  • About the Fund - Learn more about AOF's history, our team and our work.
  • Candidates - Read about our previously endorsed candidates. Updates about their work will be added as we receive them.
  • Trainings - Read about our signature "Candidate" and "Get-Out-the-Vote" trainings. View biographies and testimonials from past trainers and participants.
  • Events - Mark your calendar for upcoming events near you.
  • News & Press - Read an archive of our press releases and related news posts.

Join the online conversation with AOF through:

"Dine and Dish Contest with Secretary Mineta" Winners Announced

During March, we called on our supporters to reach out to their networks to sign-up  for our email list and Facebook page. We received over 150 entries, and our three randomly selected winners are Geri Sanchez Aglipay (Washington, D.C.), Dan Langkilde (America Samoa), and Ashish Sen (Chicago, IL).

Congratulations! Our winners have been contacted by AOF to schedule their lunch. If you didn't win this contest, stay tuned as we will continue to host other contests in the near future.

Recap: Artists & Activism - a Discussion with Actress Tamlyn Tomita

Tomita AragonLast Thursday, actress Tamlyn Tomita (of Joy Luck Club and Karate Kid II fame) met with a packed room of community leaders and activists to talk about her work as a fellow activist in the Asian American and Pacific Islander community. Speaking for two hours, Tomita spoke about the issues she was passionate about, her role models, how to engage celebrities in political advocacy, and minority representation in the media. For a full video recording of the event, please visit our website.

AOF Communications Director Accepted as WeLEAD Fellow

AlvinaCongratulations to our AOF Communications Director, Alvina Yeh for being accepted to American University's WeLEAD  bipartisan leadership training program run by the Women & Politics Institute.  The training works to increase the number of women working in politics and running for office. WeLEAD empowers young women, ignites their passions and prepares them to succeed in politics and public service.

Alvina served as a Deputy Campaign Manager to Congresswoman Mazie Hirono's re-elect campaign and prior to her stint on the campaign trail, she served as the Director of Programs at APIAVote. Alvina helped lead an unprecedented non-partisan national outreach, field and communications campaign to educate and moblize AAPI's to participate in 2008 elections.

Community News

Report: Latino and Asian voters mostly sat out 2010 election

Despite the growth in numbers of Latino and AAPI voters, a new report released last month shows that voters from both communities were disengaged in the 2010 election. Political leaders cite disappointment in the Obama administration over policy issues such as immigration as the cause for the lower voter turnout. Read more here.

Recent AAPI Accomplishments

Bryan Jung Joins White House Office of Public Engagement

bryan jungPrior to his current position, Bryan served as the Special Assistant to the National Economic Council Director, Lawrence Summers. Previously, he handled special projects and scheduled for then Senator Joe Biden on the Obama for America campaign. Bryan also worked for the American Federation of Teachers and at two National Democratic Conventions. Bryan grew up in Rowland Heights, California and is a graduate of Brandeis University. 

In March, Bryan Jung joined the White House Office of Public Engagement/Intergovernmental Affairs as the Director of Special Projects. In this role he is also the new Liaison to AAPI Communities. Bryan has worked in a number of leadership roles around the district and the country, and most notably worked on the Executive Order that re-established the White House Initiative on AAPIs.

Photo credits: Misha Tsukerman