Global AAPI Caucus Steering Committee

Greetings from Perth, Western Australia on the coast of the Indian Ocean.
I have been a member of Democrats Abroad since moving to Perth nearly 28 years ago from Santa Barbara, California. While I am not Asian-American, my husband is from Kyoto and my two children are proudly Japanese-American.  
The election of President Biden and Vice-President Harris is just the beginning of a very long way to go with much work to be done on a number of fronts.  The surge in Asian hate crimes in the US, as well as increased racism abroad, was the motivating force for me to join the AAPI Caucus.  
I have  always been committed to social equity and justice.  I have recently retired after a long career in higher education, both in the US and Australia, including involvement with diversity and inclusion.  I look forward to assisting the AAPI Caucus both globally and in Australia.

  • Remembering the Legacy of the Japanese American Incarceration


    Preserving Our Voices for the Future - remembering the legacy of Japanese American incarceration

    On February 19th, Japanese Americans will acknowledge the National Day of Remembrance for U.S. Executive Order 1066. This Executive Order was signed by President Franklin D. Roosevelt and led to the incarceration of over 120,000 Japanese Americans in U.S. concentration camps during World War II. In 2022, President Biden officially made February 19th the National Day of Remembrance of Japanese American Incarceration During World War II. In honor of this day, we have compiled a list of resources to help you learn more about the incarceration of Japanese Americans.


    The longstanding resource for information on Japanese Americans
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    There are a number of resources and links within the Densho website including:

    Japanese Peruvian Oral History Project

    The project was formed in 1991 by former Japanese Peruvian internees and their families to preserve the remembrances of those who were forcibly taken from Peru and interned in concentration camps in Panama and the United States during World War II. By documenting these family oral histories, JPOHP strives to deepen our understanding of the rich texture of our past -- with the hope that such violations of civil and human rights not be repeated by any government during times of peace or war.

    Campaign for Justice: Redress NOW for Japanese Latin Americans!

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    Through educational outreach and grassroots organizing, the CFJ has helped to inform the public – in the US and internationally – about WWII internment history and redress efforts of the JLAs so that lessons from the past can be applied to prevent and to secure accountability for present day and future violations of civil and human rights. They sponsor a number of events, exhibitions and grassroots advocacy for redress justice.

    Japanese American Confinement Sites Consortium

    Follow them on TwitterFacebook, and YouTube

    The Japanese American Confinement Sites Consortium (JACSC) is comprised of organizations committed to collectively preserving, protecting, and interpreting the history of the World War II experiences of Japanese Americans and elevating the related social justice lessons that inform current issues today. Members include the ten War Relocation Authority confinement sites, as well as historical organizations, endowments, museums, commissions, and educational institutes, including Densho.

    National Park Service

    With many of the confinement sites now designated as national Heritage sites (the latest being Amache), the NPS has a number of related resources including a number of links to civil rights.

    • They also have the National Park Services JAC grant program
      • The JACS grants provide funds for the preservation and interpretation of incarceration sites where Japanese Americans were detained during World War II. A summary of 2021 grants can be found here

    Japanese American National Museum

    Follow them on FacebookInstagram and Twitter

    Their YouTube Channel has an extensive collection of videos.

    Now in its 30th year, JANM was founded to preserve and share the history of Japanese Americans. Its mission evolved to enhance appreciation for America’s ethnic and cultural diversity by documenting the stories of Americans of Japanese ancestry as an integral component of U.S. history. It is an official affiliate of the Smithsonian Institution, and in 2010 received the National Medal for Museum and Library Services, America’s highest honor for museums. 

    On 14 April,2022 JANM was awarded a $50,000 grant from the National Trust for Historic Preservation’s Telling the Full History Preservation Fund in support of its exhibition “BeHere/ 942: A New Lens on the Japanese American Incarceration,” curated by Japanese media artist Masaki Fujihata and presented by JANM and the Yanai Initiative for Globalizing Japanese Humanities, Department of Asian Languages and Cultures, UCLA. The centerpiece of this exhibition is JANM’s Historic Building, the former Nishi Hongwanji Buddhist Temple. Built by Japanese immigrants in 1925, the temple was transformed into a place of pain, humiliation, and anxiety about an uncertain future in America when individuals of Japanese ancestry gathered there to board buses for unknown destinations after being forcibly removed from their homes in May 1942.  

    University of Wisconsin - Japanese Latin Americans and WWII Event Series

    In cooperation with a number of partners, including Densho, the University of Wisconsin- Milwaukee’s College of Latin and American Studies is sponsoring a series of in-person and virtual events exploring forced incarceration and racism of Japanese Latin Americans.

    Some useful information on Japanese American and Black American Advocacy

    There is a growing coalition of a number of organizations working together in support of H.R. 40, a federal bill to establish a commission to study reparations for Black American as well as collaborative advocacy for civil rights.

    DA’s GBC and AAPI Caucus recording on YouTube - Why We Can’t Wait 

    The two Caucuses sponsored an event in January with representatives from Nikkei Progressives, Nikkei for Civil Rights and Redress, and Human Rights Watch on the history of the Japanese-American post-WWII Reparations and Black Reparations movements, how such redress has impacted both groups, and why we should continue fighting for this legislation at local, state, and national levels.

    Reparations Then- Reparations Now was an event that coincided with the 40th anniversary of the Commission on Wartime Relocation and Internment of Civilians hearings, which marked a turning point in the Japanese American redress movement. As part of the event, it discussed how Black Americans supported the Japanese American struggle for redress and how Japanese Americans are working with Black American groups to pass H.R. 40. Read this article that provides an overview of the event.

    Nikkei Progressives

    Follow them on TwitterFacebook, and Instagram

    Formed in 2016, Nikkei Progressives is a grassroots organization that is a leader in advocating for civil rights for all groups, including redress for Black Americans.

    Nikkei for Civil Rights and Redress (formerly known as National Coalition for Redress/Reparations)

    Founded in 1980 NCCR is a community organization committed to educating the public about the wartime injustices perpetrated on Japanese Americans by the U.S. government as well as supporting similar campaigns against injustice today. They, along with other community partners, played a key role in the Japanese American Redress Movement. They work closely with Nikkei Progressives on a number of fronts including redress for Black Americans. Kathy Masaoka, on behalf of both NCCR and NP testified on behalf of H.R. 40 last year.  Read her testimony here: JAs Speak Up for H.R. 40: Commission on Reparations for Slavery and Its LegacyRafu Reports April 13, 2021

    Remembering Yuri Kochiyama's Legacy: Her life as a political and feminist activist and champion for racial solidarity.

    A virtual conversation on International Women's Day 2022 with Akemi Kochiyama and next generation intersectional activists, organizers, educators and leaders. Moderated by Jaimee Swift of Black Women Radicals.

  • published AAPI Represents in our Nation's Leadership Roles in News 2022-12-04 08:04:22 -0500

    Representation Counts in 2022 Elections

    AAPI Represents in our Nation's Democratic Leadership Roles

    As reported by Axios, the number of Asian Americans elected to Congress has increased significantly and is currently at a record high, but represents only about 3% of Congressional membership.  As of September 21, 2022, the 117th Congress, which ends on January 3, 2023, includes 18 Asian Americans serving in the House and 2 in the Senate. Once the 2022 midterm election results are finalized, the numbers are expected to remain the same despite one loss of a House seat previously held by an Asian American with the gain of a new seat due to redistricting.  

    The House

    In the House, all sitting Asian American Democrats were re-elected in the midterms.  Te seat previously held by Stephanie Murphy (D, Fl) who retired was flipped by Republican Cory Mills. 

    Redistricting of many of the districts had particularly tight races, but were won by the incumbents, for example Andy Kim (D, NJ)

    Shri Thanedar, who gave up his Michigan state house seat, successfully ran for Michigan’s 13th district after the incumbent, Rashida Thaib, due to redistricting, successfully ran in the 12th district.  Jill Tokuda also won the seat vacated by Kai Kathele (who unsuccessfully ran as Governor of Hawaii).

    The Senate

    Senator Tammy Duckworth won re-election in the 2022 midterms. Senator Mazie Hirono (D, Hawaii) seat was not up for reelection at the midterms, and will continue to represent Hawaii in the new Senate.


    On Nov. 30, U.S. Rep. Ted W. Lieu (D-CA) was elected incoming vice chair of the House Democratic Caucus, the number five position in House Democratic Leadership. Congressman Lieu is the first Asian American elected as vice chair.

    While all senators and representatives serve on a number of Congressional committees and caucuses, the following provides a short list of those who are currently chairs or co-chairs:

    • Bobby Scott- currently chairs the Committee of Education and Labor.
    • Doris Matsui - currently co-chairs: Congressional High-Tech Caucus, the National Service Congressional Caucus, the Congressional Caucus to Cure Blood Cancers and Other Blood Disorders, the House Task Force on Aging and Families, and the Sustainable Energy and Environment Coalition (SEEC).
    • Pramila Jayapal - currently chairs the Congressional Progressive Caucus.
    • Grace Meng - currently is the Vice Chair of the Congressional Asian Pacific American Caucus (CAPAC) and a Vice Chair of the Congressional LGBTQ+ Equality Caucus.
    • Judy Chu - currently chairs the Congressional Asian Pacific American Caucus (CAPAC). She also founded and co-chairs the Congressional Creative Rights Caucus, which advocates for the copyright protections of those in the creative industries.
    • Mark Takano - currently chairs the House Veterans Committee, and co- chairs the Congressional LGBTQ+ Equality Caucus, the Congressional Progressive Caucus, and the Congressional Asian Pacific American Caucus (CAPAC.
    • Raja Krishnamoorthi - currently chairs the Subcommittee on Economic and Consumer Policy.

    Diversity of representatives: 

    Democrat incumbents continuing in 2023 are from a diverse Asian American background:

    Non-voting House Delegates

    There are currently six non-voting delegates in Congress: a delegate representing the District of Columbia, a resident commissioner representing Puerto Rico, and one delegate for each of the other four permanently inhabited U.S. territories: American Samoa, Guam, the Northern Mariana Islands, and the U.S. Virgin Islands.

    Three of the six delegates are Pacific Islanders (2 Democrats, 1 Republican). While they do not vote on legislation, they have a voice in Congress and do vote as appropriate in committees on which they serve.

  • signed up on Reparations Task Force Signup 2022-04-27 22:41:50 -0400

  • signed up on Global Black Caucus Signup 2022-04-27 00:53:50 -0400

  • signed up on Progressive Caucus Signup 2021-11-12 09:36:01 -0500

  • signed up on GOTV signup 2021-08-26 10:14:52 -0400

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  • published Responding to Hate Crimes on a State Level in News 2021-07-06 08:31:25 -0400

    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.

  • Susan Takao, AAPI Caucus Steering Committee Member

    Susan Takao

    Greetings from Perth, Western Australia on the coast of the Indian Ocean.

    I have been a member of Democrats Abroad since moving to Perth nearly 28 years ago from Santa Barbara, California. While I am not Asian-America, my husband is from Kyoto and my two children are proudly Japanese-American.

    The election of President Biden and Vice-President Harris is just the beginning of a very long way to go with much work to be done on a number of fronts. The surge in Asian hate crimes in the US, as well as increased racism abroad, was the motivating force for me to join the AAPI Caucus.

    I have always been committed to social equity and justice. I have recently retired after a long career in higher education, both in the US and Australia, including involvement with diversity and inclusion. I look forward to assisting the AAPI Caucus both globally and in Australia.


  • Sruthi Venkatraman, AAPI Caucus Events Working Group Member

    Sruthi Venkatraman

    Sruthi Venkatraman lives in Bangalore, India and votes in Washington. Inspired by The West Wing like many others, she took the plunge into the world of U.S. Politics from abroad last year and joined Democrats Abroad. As a member of the Events Working Group of the Global AAPI Caucus, she looks forward to exploring and representing the AAPI community's heritage and diversity.

    Currently, she studies at the Symbiosis School for Liberal Arts and hopes to one day work in policy reform. She is passionate about minority rights, healthcare and climate change. When she’s not studying for her degree, Sruthi enjoys drinking copious amounts of coffee, debating and reading books.


Originally from Boston, now living in Perth, Western Australia and voting in California