All posts by Helena Wong

Grassroots Asians Rising – Background & History

Background & History

Since 2004, the grassroots exchanges and relationship building have laid the ground for Grassroots Asians Rising. In response to the rise of neo-conservatism and the re-election of President George W. Bush in 2004, API grassroots organizations, organizers, and activists from across the country came together 
to form the API Movement Building Network.

In 2007, the grassroots organizational exchanges began with the Chinatown-based grassroots organizations at the US Social Forum in Atlanta, where an API track for grassroots organizing and movement building was created. There was desire for the Chinatown grassroots organizations to continue building and exchanging and subsequently held exchanges in San Francisco in 2008, and then New York and Boston in 2009.

However, there was a need and interest for a broader
 AAPI grassroots organizing space, especially with Southeast Asian grassroots organizations that were on the leading edge of youth, queer, and trans organizing. In 2011, we convened the first API Organizers Retreat in San Gabriel Valley with 12 API grassroots organizations from across the country. These exchanges were an important space to share best practices in organizational and campaign strategy development, and most importantly build a movement.

10 years later, as AAPIs become one of the fastest growing demographics in the country and is declared 
a “swing” community, our grassroots organizing sector is stronger and our generation’s leadership has grown. As Grassroots Asians Rising develops, we are poised in this moment to move our communities and begin thinking about a national strategy for grassroots organizing in the AAPI community.

Grassroots APIs Rising Convening 2013

Grassroots APIs Rising for Racial Justice
July 31 – August 2, 2013
New Orleans, LA

On July 31st to August 2nd, over 120 Asian Pacific Islander organizers, activists, and community members will gather in New Orleans to discuss the role of API communities in the racial justice movement.

With the theme, “Grassroots APIs Rising for Racial Justice,” we want to explore our collective experiences of being API in the US, our role within theracial justice movement, how we organize and build power among API communities, and how we can be leading and working in solidarity with other communities for social change.

We are excited to be hosting the convening in New Orleans, where we will be engaging with local organizing groups and supporting the growth of API activism in the South! VAYLA-New Orleans is our local host and we are excited at the opportunity to support and growth the work of API and multi-ethnic communities in New Orleans!

Our Program

Goals for Conference:

  • To demonstrate impact of racial inequity within API communities and families
  • To create unity around what role APIs play in racial equity and racial justice organizing, given the context of our community’s history
  • To support, strengthen, and grow basebuilding in API communities as a critical strategy for achieving racial equity
  • To build strong relationships among low-income immigrant and refugee API organizations

Grassroots APIs Rising for Racial Justice is a collaborative effort between the following organizations:

  • VAYLA New Orleans (VAYLA)
  • Providence Youth Student Movement (PrYSM)
  • CAAAV Organizing Asian Communities (CAAAV)
  • AYPAL Building API Community Power (AYPAL)
  • Chinese Progressive Association San Francisco (CPA)
  • Asian Pacific Environmental Network (APEN)

Materials from the Convening: