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.