November News: Join the Steering Committee & Celebrating Victories


Looking at the results of the recent elections in Virginia and New Jersey, it’s clear that we have an uphill battle next year for the 2022 midterms. But we still want to take a moment to celebrate the victories of AAPIs last week and appreciate the growing representation of the community in U.S. politics. Read more below to learn about who won on Election Day.

The AAPI Caucus is also putting out a call for new members to join our Steering Committee. We are looking for volunteers to become part of the team and strengthen our caucus’ leadership. All are welcome to apply, and you do not have to identify as AAPI to join. If you are interested in joining the Steering Committee, please email [email protected] with information about yourself and why you want to be on the committee. More information about the role of Steering Committee members is below.

There’s still time to join our event with Christine Chen, co-founder and Executive Director of Asian Pacific Islander American Vote (APIAVote) on Friday, November 12/Saturday, November 13, 2021. She will speak about the APIAVote survey of Asian American voters and present the latest voting trends in our communities, both at home and overseas. You’re invited to join the open discussion at this event about how we can get out the vote among AAPI voters living overseas.

Finally, make sure you are following the AAPI Caucus on social media. During the week of November 15-21, we will be working with the Global Black Caucus to take over each other’s social media to raise awareness of shared issues. We’ll wrap up the week with a panel discussion on Sunday, November 21, 2021, at 11am Berlin / 7pm Seoul.

We hope to see you soon at one of our events, and we hope you had a great Diwali!

Best wishes,

Emily Lines
Chair, AAPI Caucus

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Join the AAPI Caucus Steering Committee

The AAPI Caucus is looking to strengthen its global leadership team. As a member of the Steering Committee, you will help guide the caucus and set its agenda. Steering Committee members are asked to also volunteer with one of our working groups (events & speakers, communications & outreach, issues, or voter outreach). The Committee meets every two weeks online and members can expect a time commitment of approximately 5 hours a week. 

If you are interested in joining our Steering Committee, send an email to Emily Lines at [email protected]. In your email, please introduce yourself, why you would like to join the Steering Committee, and any specific areas of interest.

We look forward to expanding our leadership team and continuing to strengthen our caucus!

AAPI Voting - What brings us together?

The diverse community that makes up the Asian American Pacific Islander (AAPI) community is coming together in a new way. More individuals are identifying as Asian American Pacific Islander (AAPI). A recent poll from Politico and Morning Consult found that around two in ten AAPI adults “said they were more likely to identify with the AAPI community than they were before Covid-19”. Furthermore, the AAPI community is mostly in agreement on issues that affect the entire community, not just their ethnic group. They tend to take the views of the Democratic Party regarding these issues.

The past four years have visited increased hostility in word and act on many Asian American Pacific Islanders, much of it fueled by the fear of the Covid virus and the hateful rhetoric used by the previous Administration. In the Politico/Morning Consult poll, 71% of respondents saw the former president’s remarks against the AAPI community as a reason for the discrimination against the community. The anti-China and anti-immigrant rhetoric seemed to be why conservative Chinese-American voters turned against the former President. As members of the Republican Party continue to embrace this rhetoric, there could be a greater turn against the party among the AAPI community. APIA survey respondents indicated that they trust the Democratic Party more than the Republican Party on major issues like gun safety, immigration, healthcare, policing, and the economy. 

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Caucus Crossover with the Global Black Caucus

Nov. 15th - 21st 2021 the Global Asian American & Pacific Islander Caucus (AAPI) and the Global Black Caucus (GBC) are teaming up to take over each other's social media accounts to raise awareness of mutual issues.

First thing we want people to know is that solidarity is there.

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Book Recommendations in October

Minor Feelings: An Asian American Reckoning - Cathy Park Hong

Award winning poet and essayist Cathy Park Hong’s Minor Feelings is part memoir and part essays on racial consciousness in the U.S. The book’s seven essays explore Asian American identity from Hong’s personal experiences. Minor Feelings has received multiple awards including the 2020 National Book Critics Award for autobiography. It was announced in May that actress Greta Lee is writing, producing and set to star in a TV series adaptation based on the book. Cathy Park Hong is also a professor at Rutgers University and Poetry Editor of the New Republic. In September 2021 she was named as one of the top 100 of the world’s most influential people by Time Magazine for her writings and advocacy.

Pachinko - Min Jin Lee

One of the New York Times best books of 2017, Pachinko tells the story of four generations of a Korean family starting in Korea at the turn of the 20th century and then their migration and settlement in Japan. Beautifully written and an engrossing read, it is also set for production by Apple TV for a series in the near future. 

Selected by President Obama for his recommended reading list, he noted:
“This is a captivating book I read at the suggestion of a younger staffer on my team — a historical novel about the Korean immigrant experience in wartime Japan.  Min Jin Lee’s novel takes us through four generations and each character’s search for identity and success. It’s a powerful story about resilience and compassion.” — President Barack Obama

The Sympathizer - Viet Thanh Nguyen

The Sympathizer won the 2016 Pulitzer Prize for fiction, the Asian-Pacific American Award for Literature and the Carnegie Medal for Excellence in Fiction, among others.  The novel is about a North Vietnamese spy in the South Vietnamese Army during the war and his subsequent involvement with the South Vietnamese community in California after being evacuated. It is also being made into a film for expected release early next year. A sequel to The Sympathizer, The Committed was released this year. He is also the author of Race and Resistance: Literature and Politics in Asian America. He is a University Professor, Aerol Arnold Chair of English, and Professor of English, American Studies and Ethnicity, and Comparative Literature at the University of Southern California. He is a frequent Contributing Opinion Writer for the New York Times.

October News: Getting out the Vote in AAPI Communities



The seasons are changing and we are in the final months of 2021. If you’re like me, this has likely been another strange year that has flown by.

Even though it’s an off year, there are still several important elections in November. If you’re a voter in Virginia or New Jersey, you have a state election and voters in Florida District 20 and Ohio Districts 11 and 15 have special elections. We have more details below with information that you need to make sure you vote in November.

We have some exciting events coming up - don’t miss them! On Friday, November 12/Saturday, November 13, 2021, we will speak with Christine Chen, co-founder and Executive Director of Asian Pacific Islander American Vote (APIAVote) about the APIAVote survey of Asian American voters. Join us to hear about the latest voting trends in our communities both at home and overseas. You’re invited to join the open discussion at this event about how we can get out the vote among AAPI voters living overseas.

As always, if you are interested in getting more involved with the AAPI Caucus, please get in touch. We always appreciate help with planning events, getting out the vote, and more. Just send an email to [email protected]

Best wishes,

Emily Lines
Chair, AAPI Caucus

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September News: Welcome from the New Chair & Member Survey



As the incoming chair of the AAPI Caucus, I am honored and excited to be taking on this role. Since the caucus was established last year, we have grown to over 500 members, and we are looking forward to continuing to grow the caucus and increase turnout among Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders living abroad.

Since last June, I have co-chaired this caucus with Cory Lemke (Democrats Abroad South Korea). On behalf of our Steering Committee, I would like to thank Cory for his work in establishing this caucus and helping to lead it. Cory was recently named the new Get Out The Vote (GOTV) Coordinator for the Asia-Pacific region. Even though Cory will be taking on this new role, we are glad that he will stay on as a member of our Steering Committee, and we look forward to supporting him as the AP GOTV Coordinator.

We took a short break in August, but we are back and invigorated for the fall season. This Caucus is your caucus, so we want to know what you think! Please complete this member interest survey.

Calling all California voters! 25% of our caucus members vote in California. Have you sent in your ballot yet? We need every Californian to VOTE NO on the governor recall. You can leave question 2 blank or choose a Democrat! If you voted in 2020, you should have received your absentee ballot already. Fax in your ballot today. Questions or problems? Check our website for more information.

In October, we’ll start a discussion series to talk about the five-part PBS Documentary “Asian Americans”. The first discussion will be on Wednesday, October 20, 2021, at 7:30pm Berlin time. Each event will discuss one episode. In case you can’t make this first discussion, we will rotate the times so that they are at more convenient times for our members around the world.

We are also always looking for more volunteers. If you are interested in getting involved with the AAPI Caucus, either at the international or local level, please get in touch by emailing me at [email protected]

Best wishes,

Emily Lines
Chair, AAPI Caucus

Read more

The Freedom to Vote

The USA has taken a lot of steps recently to address AAPI issues.  President Biden signed the COVID-19 Hate Crimes Act into law, Illinois has required public schools teach Asian American history, and California has set aside $156 million to community groups to tackle the root causes of Asian hate.

We need to wield political power to continue this trend, and this means we need to VOTE.  We turned out in historic numbers to elect President Biden and the current House as well as many Senators. But state legislatures have created voting restrictions that disproportionately affect voters of color — limiting absentee voting, purging voter registration lists, closing polling sites, reducing voting hours, and even criminalizing handing out food and water to voters waiting in line.

These laws are creating obstacles to our voting process and limiting accessibility to the polls for those who need it most. They don't protect voters or our country’s electoral process.  Instead, they create doubt and try to undermine confidence in the democratic process, reinforcing divisive political tactics that prioritize the voices of some citizens over others. 

It is disappointing that as we approach the 56th Anniversary of the Voting Rights Act, we are still fighting for our freedom to vote. But we cannot give up, and we cannot stop now. The ability of every individual to have a say in our political process is the keystone of our democracy; it is the key tool for AAPIs to continue the progress we have made towards reaching equity for our communities and stopping Asian hate. If we cannot act now, we may not have another chance.

Join us and take action today.  

Look up who is is your is Senator here.

Call them and use this script (feel free to adapt if there’s anything else you’d like to discuss):

Hi, my name is [Name]. I am a constituent from [City/State], [ZIP Code].

I am calling to urge Senator _____________ to please vote in support of the For the People Act and the John Lewis Voting Rights Advancement Act. Voter suppression is a shameful reality in our country. The ability for everyone to meaningfully participate in our democracy and the need for legislative action is urgent. Congress needs to pass H.R. 1 and H.R. 4 now. These bills are popular. In fact, 8 in 10 Americans are in favor of the provisions in these bills. Again, I urge the Senator to support these bills and do what it takes to protect our freedom to vote. Will Senator ___________  be voting in support of the For the People Act?

Thank you for your time.

**Text Adapted from the Asian & Pacific Islander Americans Vote newsletter, July 29, 2021

Escaping Coronavirus: AAPI Caucus Speaks to Mingway Lee

On Saturday, July 10th, the AAPI Caucus hosted Mingway Lee, an artist, who spoke about his experience during the COVID-19 crisis through a presentation of his drawings chronicling his evacuation to Travis Air Force Base, his stay under the first federally mandated quarantine in decades, and his eyewitness account of the COVID-19 pandemic in New York City.

His drawings recreated a vivid image of what it was like to be in Wuhan as the COVID-19 pandemic began and how uncertain this period was for everyone. Attendees expressed their gratitude for his willingness to share his experience. We all were able to gain an understanding of what he went through and were reminded of how no one knew what was going on or what was going to happen as we entered the pandemic.

If you missed it, you can see the recording here:

About the Artist

Mingway Lee is an artist living with his wife and two sons, Max and Rex, in New York City. He moved from Beijing to New York in 2012. In 2019, he graduated from Pratt Institute with an MFA degree.

Collaborating with an established writer/director, Clayton Broomes, Jr., he is writing a memoir with more than 100 of his drawings about how he went into the coronavirus crisis in China, escaped the coronavirus from Wuhan to Travis Air Force Base, and relived the COVID-19 pandemic in New York City.

Responding to Hate Crimes on a State Level

On 20 May 2021 President Biden signed into law a bill that was introduced by  Rep. Grace Meng, D-N.Y., and Sen. Mazie Hirono, D-Hawaii, which aims “to make the reporting of hate crimes more accessible at the local and state levels by boosting public outreach and ensuring reporting resources are available online in multiple languages. It also directs the Department of Justice to designate a point person to expedite the review of hate crimes related to COVID-19 and authorizes grants to state and local governments to conduct crime-reduction programs to prevent and respond to hate crimes (NPR 20 May 2021).”

On 2 July 2021, the Stop AAPI Hate Coalition (#StopAAPIHate) released the results of their survey documenting the hundreds of resolutions and actions taken to combat anti-AAPI racism at the state level.  The report noted that of the states that have passed resolutions, over 90% go on to be enacted.  17 states have yet to take any meaningful action to combat anti-AAPI racism: Alabama, Arizona, Connecticut, Idaho, Kansas, Kentucky, Maine, New Hampshire, Mississippi, New Mexico, North Carolina, North Dakota, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, South Dakota,West Virginia and Wyoming.

If you vote in one of these states, we urge you to contact your state and local officials and urge them to take action against racism in your community.