Asian American Action Fund Reached Thousands of Minority Voters in Alabama’s US Senate Race


Local Alabamans reached out to Asian American, Latino voters

Today’s Senate victory by Democratic Senator-Elect Doug Jones in Alabama demonstrates the importance of base vote outreach. The Asian American Action Fund (AAAFund), a national Democratic political action committee, provided resources in Alabama to support activists on the ground. Local Alabamans reached out to voters in their communities at gathering places such as ethnic groceries through in-language conversations and literature translated into English, Chinese, Korean, Vietnamese, and Spanish. In a sign of the uniqueness of the race, this marks the first time AAAFund has made an investment in Alabama.

Irene Bueno, AAAFund Endorsements Co-chair, stated, “The Asian American Action Fund was pleased to be able to support local Alabamans by providing the resources necessary for them to reach voters in multiple languages and in their communities. We believe supporting diverse candidates and turning out the base vote is how we elect Democrats up and down the ticket, and achieve better policies for the middle class and new Americans.”

Hanh Hua of Mobile, Alabama, said, “I strive to include our AAPI community and promote civic engagement as a basic duty of being American and the core of why we love America. When Irene reached out to help make this possible with only 1.5% of AAPI in AL, my team and I rejoiced since the dream was now taking form.

Expanding our voter outreach to Alabamans in multiple languages gave us more momentum to push forward. I’m thrilled the AAA Fund and AADC helped me make this a reality! I’m also really proud of my state for uniting to lift Doug Jones to victory and being on the right side of history. Seeing a Democrat win the US Senate seat in Alabama for the first time in a quarter century is amazing. It speaks to the power of his progressive vision and commitement to reach out to diverse voters.”


The Asian American Action Fund (www.aaafund.org) is a Democratic Asian American and Pacific Islander PAC founded in 1999. AAAFund’s goal is to increase the voice of Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders (AAPIs) in every level of local, state and federal government in the United States.

AAA Fund Mourns Death of San Francisco Mayor Ed Lee


Pioneering Son of Immigrants Championed Opportunity and Fairness

The board of the Asian American Action Fund, a Democratic political action committee, mourns the loss of San Francisco Mayor Ed Lee. Born Edwin Mah Lee in 1952 to Chinese immigrants who emigrated during the Chinese Exclusion Act, he rose to become San Francisco’s first Asian American mayor. As Mayor, he welcomed immigrants and proclaimed that “being a sanctuary city is in our DNA.” Called upon to fill out the remainder of now Lt. Gov. Newsom’s mayoralty, Lee was reelected twice in 2011 and 2015. As mayor, he pushed the creation of the Housing Trust Fund to finance $1.5B in affordable housing, a $15 hourly minimum wage increase, and the creation of the Department of Homelessness and Supportive Housing.

Prior to his mayoral appointment, Lee had served the city of San Francisco in many capacities, including as city administrator, Director of Public Works, Director of City Purchasing, Executive Director of the Human Rights Commission, and Deputy Director of Employment Relations. Early in his career, Lee worked as managing attorney for the Asian Law Caucus after receiving his JD from UC Berkeley.

Gautam Dutta, Counsel for the Asian American Action Fund and Northern California Chair, stated, “Ed Lee loved San Francisco and public service. He was a pioneer and an inspiration to many of us, and the candidates and elected officials we support. His loss will be deeply felt.”


The Asian American Action Fund (www.aaafund.org) is a Democratic Asian American and Pacific Islander PAC founded in 1999. AAAFund’s goal is to increase the voice of Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders (AAPIs) in every level of local, state and federal government in the United States.

AAAFund Outraged by Racist Mailers in Edison, NJ Calling for Deportation of AAPI Candidates

Supports investigation into creator of hate mail

The board of the Asian American Action Fund (www.aaafund.org) is outraged by recent political mailers that have gone out in Edison, NJ calling for the deportation of Asian American school board candidates Jerry Shi and Falguni Patel. There is no place for this type of xenophobic, exclusionary discourse in politics and civic life. It also implies that the way to “Make Edison Great Again” is through their deportation – the deportation of US born citizens.

Asian Americans have been an active part of the social fabric in Edison, where former mayor Jun Choi, a Korean American, made history in 2006 as the youngest, and the first Asian American mayor of New Jersey’s fifth largest municipality. The Asian American Action Fund was proud to support Jun Choi’s candidacy back then, and we are proud of Mr. Shi and Ms. Patel for seeking to participate in the most American of activities by running for school board. Almost half of Edison’s population is Asian American.

The people and the committee behind this mailer are cowardly for choosing to leave their name off the mailer, and the Asian American Action Fund calls for an investigation into who funded and printed the mailer, which is the lowest type of hate speech.


After the flood, rebuilding

There is the moment and moments, or the days and weeks of fire or water or manmade disaster. In that time, in my experience, many people behave admirably and humanity shines. Everyday people become outstanding heroes. They bear the loss of electricity and water remarkably well. It’s the aftermath, the time long after the flood lights and news cameras leave. (In Ferguson, on Canfield Lane, one of Mike Brown’s neighbors told me that she had a hard time sleeping because the press was always there.) It is the future time that reasonable people look forward to and are full of hope that they can expect to be normal and whole again, except that the situation is still different, and there are still holes. The walls of your home are still moldy, and you can’t just patch them up but you still have to live there.

Many people are fortunate to not know how long it takes to rebuild after a storm.

In the moment of Sandy, first responders and medical providers carried babies and patients down 20 flights of stairs. They didn’t and couldn’t carry all the laboratory mice who were being used in potentially life-saving cancer research. They couldn’t take the specimens that scientists had been working on for years. We talk about the lives that were lost, the homes and property that was damaged, but no one thinks about the lives that could have been saved from the decades and hundreds of millions of dollars of research. Many of those primary investigators left.

It was the months and year afterwards, where they couldn’t even see patients, and had to rotate at other hospitals. So the patients flowed, conceivably, or maybe just didn’t show up and prolonged what might have been treatable diseases had they caught them earlier. Stacking the health care safety net system is like stacking the initial rows of cannonballs or molecules. How you place them, what shape, what geometry determines the final shape of the pyramid. That’s how it goes with patient flow.

The photo above is where my husband graduated from residency at NYU Bellevue. The high water mark is 11 feet, taller than any of the graduates or speakers. 5 months later, Hurricane Sandy hit and I was on a campaign in another state. Someone asked me if I was worried for my husband and I said, “He’ll be okay, Bellevue is a fortress and it has backup generators.” And it is and it was. But the backup generators were underground, and they flooded. For a while afterwards, I was slightly obsessed with FEMA.

For all the Congressmembers and Senators who voted no or equivocated and dithered on Hurricane Sandy funding and claimed that the money in the relief package was “pork,” the money was for rebuilding. So that the tri-state area has coastlines with natural defenses against the rising waters due to climate change. As opposed to building houses for low income families or rich people right along the ooast.

Rebuilding and recovering resilience takes a very long time. We should let people go on with their lives, but instead, people who have been lucky to escape with their lives, but who have lost their homes and memories are forced to tabulate everything that they have lost for insurance adjusters. My friend who lost her home in a fire told me, “It felt like reliving the trauma.”

All this is to say, people will be hurting for months if not years after. Their lives will be altered. Limited English proficient folks sometimes get overlooked because they don’t understand how to apply for grants or loans. OCA Houston and AAPI nonprofits have set up an AAPI Harvey Relief Fund. Please give.

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