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APA VOICE and Partner Organizations Urge Asian American Communities to Vote in the Upcoming June 27, 2023 Primary Election

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Sunset Park, Brooklyn — Asian Pacific Americans Voting & Organizing to Increase Civic Engagement (APA VOICE), a non-partisan coalition of community-based non-profit organizations and New York Immigration Coalition, along with additional partners, hosted a press conference to inform community members about the upcoming primary election and update them on important highlights such as Ranked Choice Voting for City Council races and Golden Day (the new voter registration deadline now falls on the first day of early voting June 17, 2023). We were joined by the elected officials, State Senator Iwen Chu, representing New York’s 17th State Senate District, and Assemblymember Lester Chang, representing New York’s 49th State Assembly District. 

The press conference was held in Sunset Park, Brooklyn, to highlight the newly created Asian American majority district, City Council District 43, and the active Democratic and Republican primaries in the district. Two coalition members, the Academy of Medical Public Health Sciences and Parent Child Relationship Association, are leading door-to-door outreach in the newly created district to inform them about redistricting change and to urge community members to vote. 

The coalition also highlighted the larger voter education, engagement, and mobilization that members are leading across the city. APA VOICE also organized candidate forums and surveys for City Council District 1 (Chinatown, Lower East Side), 19 (College Point, Whitestone, Bayside), and 29 (Richmond Hill, Forest Hills) to accompany localized voter guides for canvassing operations in the districts. The resources were all highlighted at the press conference, where members presented their resources and the importance of participating in the upcoming elections.

“MinKwon Center and APA VOICE is proud to highlight City Council District 43, a newly created and the only Asian-American majority City Council district in Brooklyn. For the past three years, APA VOICE Redistricting Task Force members have advocated for communities of interest to be together, including the Asian American community in Brooklyn. This is a direct result of our continuous advocacy during this time.” MinKwon Center for Community Action Civic Participation Director Sandra Choi stated. “History is in the making, and voters are choosing candidates of their choices. The MinKwon Center, the convenor of APA VOICE, has been focusing on growing community power, through multilingual voter outreach, organizing candidate forums and surveys, and both digital and door canvassing efforts. Our coalition is committed to building on our momentum ahead of the upcoming election.”

“In the newly created City Council District 43th, this election season will shape the future of our city. Your vote in the Primary Election June 27 is important! Asian Americans For Equality (AAFE) has been engaging and promoting civic engagement through candidate forums, voter registrations and educating youth at various GOTV events.” Asian Americans for Equality Senior Project Manager Crystal Feng stated.  “Voting is your chance to stand up for the issues you care about like affordable housing,  quality education, social economic justice and environmental protection. We urge AAPI communities to participate! Don’t ignore this important election. Now is the time to make a plan to vote.”

“Building political power begins at the neighborhood level. Local elections matter, and in 2023, Caribbean Equality Project is continuing its “Mash-Up De Vote” culturally-responsive voter education campaign to register eligible Afro and Indo-Caribbean immigrant New Yorkers. The organization’s annual “Little Guyana Votes Festival” in Richmond Hill, Queens, promotes Ranked Choice Voting resources in multiple languages for community members to have their voices heard while participating in the electoral process, to vote for a candidate who will stand with all their constituents, regardless of immigration status. This election is vital in our advocacy to protect LGBTQ+ people and advancing budget equity, language access, trans-affirming health care, and affordable housing legislation in New York City.” said Mohamed Q. Amin, Founder and Executive Director, Caribbean Equality Project.

“Asian American and Pacific Islanders (AAPIs) are a crucial voting bloc yet widely ignored by mainstream political campaigns. According to researchers at APIA Vote, AAPI Data, and Asian Americans Advancing Justice, less than half of registered Asian Americans have been contacted by either of the major parties. Along with APA VOICE, a leading civic engagement organization, and our partner organizations, CPC is dedicated to helping AAPI New Yorkers make their voices heard in the upcoming election,” said Wayne Ho, President and CEO of the Chinese-American Planning Council. “Because we serve and employ community members from all of New York City’s 51 council districts, CPC has been providing our community members with culturally responsive and language accessible election outreach and Ranked Choice Voting trainings, having engaged over 200 community members so far. We have also been mobilizing our 700 staff to get involved in the election with phone and text banking, voter registration drives, and a voter participation competition.”

“The Chinese Progressive Association has been helping new immigrants become citizens through our classes and application assistance program.  Our education and outreach to new voters in Chinatown and the Lower East Side about the upcoming City council elections and ranked choice voting has made many aware there is an election – just two years after the last election.  In the next two weeks, community members will continue to see us on the street, in their building, or hear from us by phone – that it is important to come out and vote,” said Mae Lee, executive director of the Chinese Progressive Association.

“As an organization dedicated to empowering immigrants and immigrant families, Immigrant Social Services, Inc. (ISS) recognizes the importance of voting and culturally-responsive voter outreach/education. We celebrate the historic victories of having Ranked Choice Voting and Golden Day and are also excited to continue mobilizing our communities to have their voices heard. Your voice and your vote matter!” –Beatrice Chen, Executive Director of Immigrant Social Services, Inc. (ISS)

“Muslim Community Network is excited to partner again with APA VOICE this year to mobilize and register new & returning voters for this year’s NYC election cycle.” said Wali Ullah, Community Education Coordinator at Muslim Community Network, “We’re also proud to join the front lines with other AAPI community partners in making sure residents and voters of the newly created, majority-AAPI District 43 are properly supported by our city’s civic infrastructure and that AAPI and Muslim New Yorkers feel valued rather than tokenized for their participation in our political process. MCN is also now offering Urdu GOTV hotline support for Urdu-speaking NYC residents from now till Election Day (347-519-2619).”

“For the first time, New Yorkers will have the opportunity to take advantage of a “Golden Day,” which falls on the last day to register to vote for the June primary election and the first day of early voting. This Golden Day opportunity is the result of voting rights advocates fighting for more accessible elections that can work for all New Yorkers, especially working class and immigrant voters who can benefit from the recent change that moved the voter registration deadline from 25 days before an election to 10 days before an election. This change gives our community advocates more time to educate new voters about the importance of participating in the upcoming election and exercising their rights. We look forward to working with our partners in APA VOICE to educate our communities about this new opportunity and paving the way for more fair and accessible elections in New York!” said Brianna Cea, President of OCA-NY and Executive Director of Generation Vote

“We believe that civic engagement is the cornerstone of a thriving democracy and that it is critical for all members of our communities to actively participate in the democratic process. By engaging in civic work, we can create meaningful change and ensure that the voices of all members of our communities are heard and represented.” said Nicole Huang, Executive Director of Parent Child Relationship Association.

“Majority of our clients do not speak English and it is crucial that they understand how important it is to register to vote and use their right to vote on election days. Our culturally competent staff speaks 19 different languages which helps us educate clients on voter engagement. Our primary focus has been on making sure that citizens are registered to vote, helping them in filling out the forms, and connecting them to polling sites.” said Sudha Acharya, Executive Director, South Asian Council for Social Services (SACSS)

“The upcoming election season presents another opportunity for our immigrant communities to take up space and own their political power. June 17 will be the first time New Yorkers can register to vote and also vote on the same day in the primary election. We embrace this voting reform which opens up further opportunity to engage civically but these reforms are only as good as those who know about them. We’re here to raise awareness, educate, agitate, and mobilize. At South Queens Women’s March, we work tirelessly to ensure our historically marginalized communities have the tools and resources needed to thrive in their lives – and that includes making sure they take their rightful seat in the political process. It also means ensuring that processes feel accessible for our community. Many of our communities are skeptical of the political arena, dating back to their colonial histories. We want to make sure the system works for them. Power to the polls!” said Aminta Kilawan-Narine, Founder & Executive Director, South Queens Women’s March

“We are just days away from when polls open for early voting. The NYIC is incredibly proud to be supporting our members and the APA VOICE coalition in their voter outreach in immigrant communities this local election year. There are many key races in newly redrawn districts with sizable Asian American populations, and it is critically important for voters to come out and have their voices heard by casting a ballot in these local races. Many times, it is these local elections that have the most direct impact on the daily lives of New Yorkers, which is why it’s essential that all voters are informed of their rights and opportunities,” said Wennie Chin, Director of Civic Engagement at the New York Immigration Coalition.

“The Campaign Finance Board is excited to join APA VOICE in raising awareness within New York City’s AAPI community about the upcoming primary elections,” said Gauree Patel, Senior Manager of Partnerships and Outreach for the New York City Campaign Finance Board. “Potential voters now have until June 17th to register so that they can vote in the upcoming primaries. It is our hope that our collective voter registration efforts leading up to the deadline will increase the already growing voter engagement of our AAPI communities.”

To watch the full press conference, click here

To view photos from press conference, click here

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