APA for Progress to Raise Awareness of Feb. 5 Primary Among California AAPI Communities

California outreach follows successful ‘get-out-the-caucus’ effort in Nevada

APA for Progress, a national organization of Asian American Pacific Islander progressives, today announced a series of video public service announcements that will air on YouTube.com in an effort to raise awareness of the February 5 primary election among AAPIs in California.

The videos, directed by film directors and activists Eric Byler (“Charlotte Sometimes” and “Tre”) and Annabel Park, will debut in late-January. Byler and Park are members of APA for Progress’s national board of directors.

The California outreach follows the organization’s successful efforts to promote AAPI participation in Las Vegas the weekend of that Nevada’s primary caucuses.

APA for Progress organized more than 40 AAPI students, activists and community leaders from around the country, including celebrities Kelly Hu andYul Kwon, on a trip to Las Vegas during the caucus weekend to outreach to AAPI voters and volunteer for presidential candidates.

Participants, each of whom paid their own way to volunteer in Las Vegas, worked for the Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton campaigns, and also the Nevada state Democratic Party.

It’s estimated that together, the group:
* made more than 2,200 phone calls to Nevada voters;
* placed more than 2,500 door hangers with caucus information;
* volunteered at caucus locations in over 15 precincts; and
* worked phone hotlines assisting with questions about the caucus.

Members of the group who volunteered for the Obama campaign documented their experiences through a “mobile blog” at http://www.apaforobama.com, using their mobile phones to post audio reports, photos and text updates. The website also featured YouTube videos produced by Byler and Park featuring actors Kelly Hu and Kal Penn sharing their reasons for supporting Obama.

“It was a great chance to participate and be part of the democratic process,” said Jenn Fang, a student from Tucson, Ariz. “Seeing the excitement of the Asian Pacific American community was truly inspiring.”

APA for Progress was not the only group working on turning out AAPIs. The organization worked with the nonpartisan nonprofit, APIA Vote, on phone banking and staffing a rapid response team (for voting questions and concerns).

“APA for Progress’s involvement shows the growing strength of our community in the political process,” said Theresa Mah of Chicago, an APAP board member. “We were there with so many other established APA organizations and beyond civic participation, Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders are becoming a growing force in this election.” Mah was part of an AAPI effort in Iowa during that state’s caucuses.

“One of the most valuable outcomes was the opportunity to take the energy from the weekend and direct it into developing ideas for future events,” said Ramey Ko of Austin, Tx., APAP board member and also founder of the grassroots organization, Asian Americans for Obama (http://asianamericansforobama.com).

“The events of these past few days in Las Vegas represent the growing importance of the Asian American empowerment movement for the 2008 presidential election and beyond,” said Park, who along with Byler produced “9500Liberty,” the interactive documentary of the intense politicization of the immigration issue in Northern Virginia, where both now reside.

For more information on APA for Progress, visit http://www.apaforprogress.org.

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