Asian Americans Converge in Vegas for Obama

UPDATE 1/18: Thanks to Angelica Jongco and Jenn Fang for working the blog at nv.apaforobama.com. They’re posting terrific audio updates and photos!

More 30 Asian American artists, filmmakers and activists, including actress Kelly Hu, Yul Kwon, Eric Byler and Annabel Park will converge this weekend in Las Vegas to support Barack Obama and promote Asian Pacific American participation in Saturday’s historic Nevada Caucus.

Primarily connected through networks like YouTube and Facebook, this newly formed online community will see members from Las Vegas, Los Angeles, New York, Washington DC, and the San Francisco Bay Area meet in person for the first time. “We created a Facebook event page called ‘Vegas and Obama, Baby!’ and within hours people starting signing up to join us,” said Byler. “We are especially looking forward to meeting Asian American artists and community leaders from Las Vegas and taking this opportunity to grow our network.”

The filmmakers will be creating videos about Obama and documenting campaign activities and events for the group’s YouTube channel: www.YouTube.com/UnitedForObama (which has already posted videos featuring Ms. Hu and Kal Penn (Harold and Kumar).

Also see http://nv.apaforobama.com

“This represents the intersection of the Asian American empowerment movement and the 2008 Presidential Election,” Park said. “A candidate like Barack Obama empowers us…his candidacy is a calling for a new era of American politics, a new generation of leaders and people are responding in a dramatic way.” Park teamed with filmmaker and APAP Board Member Catherine Park, Kwon, and Byler on the successful grassroots effort to pass H.Res.121, the “Comfort Women” resolution, in the US Congress. Many activists traveling to Las Vegas from the east coast first met Park and Byler during the Asian American-led movement that helped unseat Sen. George “Macaca” Allen in Virginia in 2006.

“The change that everyone is talking about is not a change in leadership, it’s a change in us. Internet and YouTube have given us tools we can convert into tangible grassroots and political action,” said Byler.

Byler and Park are Board Members of APAP, an organization that has endorsed Sen. Barack Obama. But APAP has invited volunteers to support any Democratic candidate, as well as the non-partisan group APiA Vote which is seeking to increase APA turn-out at the Caucus.

Along with canvassing for Obama on Friday, January 18th, Hu, Kwon, Byler, Stephens and Park will be attending APIA Vote phone-banking, a non-partisan effort to get AAPIs out to caucus.

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