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Author: Monica Ng, Asian Counseling and Referral Services

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AAPI 2016 candaidate forum

When We Lead: Voting with Language Access in AAPI Communities

As the Washington State Gubernatorial candidates, Bill Bryant and Jay Inslee, stepped onto the stage for one of the largest civic engagement summits of Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders (AAPI) voters in the nation, a crowd of 2,000 people reduced their conversations to whispers.

AAPI woman voting

Environmental Justice Critical to AAPI Political Engagement

Cultural, linguistic and social barriers hinder the AAPI community’s full participation in our democracy. Someone may come from a country without the right to vote and explaining the concept of voting and how it works takes time and sensitivity. They may have been persecuted for expressing their political beliefs, or where voter intimidation is common, suffered personal trauma. Creating specific and targeted civic engagement strategies that are inclusive, accessible and reflect the diversity of languages and cultures that make up the AAPI population are essential.
In addition to addressing systematic barriers to full participation in our democracy, AAPIs must be engaged on the issues that matter to them. Environmental justice is central to the conversation and it’s clear that community members are facing the direct impact of climate change.