This is Week 42 of AsianWeek’s salute to Chinese American heroes, in strategic partnership with Chinese American Heroes, a non-profit organization dedicated to documenting the contributions of Chinese Americans to America and the world. This week we are going to introduce you to a very unusual organization that promotes Asian Americans, including many Chinese Americans, in politics.
You’ve likely never heard of APAPA. It is the Asian Pacific Islander American Public Affairs organization founded by entrepreneur and visionary C.C. Yin. APAPA’s mission as a non-partisan, educational, non-profit organization is to promote civic responsibility and encourage full participation in our democratic political system.
Since its inception by Yin in 2000, the organization has had a dramatic impact on Asian American, especially Chinese American state level political leaders in California. APAPA’s efforts have been a major factor in the increase of Chinese American political leaders from the low single digits in 2000 to fourteen in 2009. Using advanced organizational techniques, APAPA assists Asian American political aspirants with a large network of donors and sponsors to conduct fundraising events statewide. In the future, APAPA plans to go national. In supporting the successful election of Congresswoman Judy Chu, APAPA has already begun to have a national impact.
Youth are a primary focus of APAPA. Donations from APAPA members fund scholarships and provides invaluable mentoring opportunities for young people who have demonstrated a strong interest in a government leadership careers. A statewide youth leadership conference was held in Southern California in 2009.
Another unique educational venture was the Governor’s Reception initiated in May 2009, in conjunction with celebrating Asian & Pacific Island American Heritage Month. APAPA organized the Joint API Legislative Caucus and met with California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger to share ideas and learn about his programs. This year, the 2010 Governor’s Reception is scheduled on May 24, 2010.
CAH applauds the non-partisan political initiatives sponsored by APAPA to motivate and support current and future API political leaders and also its programs for voter education. We also applaud philanthropist C. C. Yin who has personally contributed millions of dollars to support APAPA and many Asian American political leaders on a non-partisan basis. Asian Americans are beginning to make major contributions to the political leadership in America, and APAPA is playing a major role in promoting them.
For additional information about Chinese American heroes, please visit the Chinese American Heroes website at www.chineseamericanheroes.org.