June 16, 2020

APA VOICE RELEASES SURVEY OF CONGRESSIONAL CANDIDATES, URGES COMMUNITY MEMBERS TO VOTE IN PRIMARY ELECTIONS

FLUSHING, New York -- Asian Pacific Americans Voting & Organizing to Increase Civic Engagement (APA VOICE), a non-partisan coalition of 19 community-based organizations, released the 2020 Congressional Primary Candidate Survey on June 16, ahead of New York’s  primary elections on June 23. APA VOICE surveyed all primary candidates in the five districts with the highest concentrations of Asian American Pacific Islander (AAPI) residents in New York City, namely District 6 (39.8% AAPI), District 10 (18.8% AAPI), District 7 (18.0% AAPI), District  14 (16.7% AAPI), and District 5 (14.1% AAPI). The survey covers candidates’ views on healthcare, economic recovery, housing, immigration, and transportation, and also provides  key information on voting safely amid the COVID-19 pandemic:

http://minkwon.org/resources/cp/

AAPI leaders, advocates, and activists continue to urge community members to engage civically by any and all means available, from protesting and contacting elected officials, to  completing the census and voting. AAPIs represent 6.5% of eligible voters but accounted for only 3.5% of votes cast in the 2018 election. In addition to this survey of Congressional candidates, APA VOICE published a survey of primary candidates for Queens Borough President on June 4, also available at the link above.

Annetta Seecharran, Executive Director at Chhaya CDC, said, “Chhaya’s long-standing  civic engagement program works to build the power of the South Asian and Indo-Caribbean communities and ensure their voices are part of the city government’s decision-making process. Our communities have been disproportionately impacted by the Covid pandemic; we want our members to have a seat at the table on issues such as affordable housing, development and land-use, and small business support. The APA's candidate survey is an important tool that connects our communities to the candidates so they make informed  decisions on June 23rd.”

“This pandemic has taught us that we need strong leaders in government who will represent  and advocate for our community needs and issues,” said Karen Zhou, Executive Director at  Homecrest Community Services. “It is important that we vote in the upcoming election. Let's make our voice count!”

Jennifer Sun and Thomas Yu, Co-Executive Directors at Asian Americans for Equality, said, “The agonizing events of the past few weeks demonstrate for all communities of color  why it is so important to make our voices heard loud and clear. Our communities must vote in the upcoming elections, sending a strong message to New York's elected officials that we're paying close attention to what's happening in Washington. This voter guide is a crucial tool to make your vote count.”

“The upcoming Congressional primaries are an important moment for our communities to build  power,” said Narbada Chhetri, Director of Organizing & Programs at Adhikaar. “Especially in Congressional District 6, the voices and concerns that Adhikaar’s members raise are essential to making sure the race accurately reflects the issues on the ground. Adhikaar, a worker and community center in Queens, has been working to civically engaged Nepali-speaking communities for years, members that are workers and immigrant small business owners. Today’s candidate forum stands as a reminder of the immense power of the AAPI Community in Queens, and we are proud to mobilize our membership behind it.”


"The Asian American Legal Defense and Education Fund (AALDEF) is a proud founding member of APA VOICE and supports its candidates' forum and survey, which will enable Asian Americans to learn more about the candidates' views on issues of importance to the community,” said Margaret Fung, Executive Director of AALDEF. “We urge Asian Americans to use these resources and make sure their voices are heard by voting in the June 23 Primary Election. AALDEF will continue to defend the voting rights of Asian Americans and ensure that all eligible voters are able to cast a ballot in this very important election.”

Mae Lee, Executive Director at the Chinese Progressive Association, said, “Primary elections often receive less attention than General elections. In this time of COVID-19, our Congress Members will be making decisions as lawmakers about healthcare, immigration, housing and economic recovery -- decisions that will have long term impacts on our communities. It is more important than ever for us to show the candidates where we stand by voting on June 23, and this survey will provide our community with the information to do so.”


"Democracy requires voters to understand each candidate's policy positions in order to make the right choices. Linguistic diversity and a lack of language access prevents many voters, especially AAPI immigrant voters, from being able to assess a candidate's policy positions," said Howard Wong, Civic Engagement Manager at the Chinese-American Planning Council (CPC). “CPC applauds APA VOICE for providing crucial information for AAPI voters through this congressional candidate survey.”


“For so many reasons, from the pandemic to protests against police violence, 2020 may be the most important year for civic action in a century,” said Chuck Park, Civic Participation Manager at the MinKwon Center for Community Action. “Public officials work for us. Voting is the most powerful way to ensure the elected leaders in our immigrant communities, including our representatives in Congress, represent our interests and our values.”


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