Everyone has been dramatically impacted by the events of the past year, and we want to acknowledge the hardships, struggles, and range of emotions that you have experienced in the past year. Through the ups and downs, we are grateful for the opportunities to work even harder for our Asian American communities across the country. We were able to stay connected virtually, work together on the census and elections, and fight back against anti-Asian/Asian American hate. And, we recommitted ourselves to standing in solidarity with the Black community, knowing full well the fight for justice is stronger when the most impacted people are taken care of and uplifted.
Let’s pause and reflect on the events of 2020 as you look to enjoy the upcoming holidays. Advancing Justice | AAJC looks forward to continued work toward justice in 2021 and the years to come.
Youth Leadership Summit: We hosted our first virtual Youth Leadership Summit. The talented students were still able to get the full experience by learning from policy experts and going to virtual Hill advocacy visits. A few participants received awards for projects they are working on in California, Illinois, Maryland, and Washington, D.C.
Fighting Misinformation and disinformation: On both the voting and census fronts, we worked both with our community partners and tech partners at Facebook, Twitter, Google, and more to flag misinformation and disinformation prevalent in our communities. This will be a continued priority.
We had our first-ever virtual American Courage Awards. We reflected on the year with our theme, “Fighting Racism, Rising in Solidarity,” and heard from leaders of civil rights organizations, leaders in Congress, and a few surprise guests. Our keynote was former Attorney General Eric Holder and Congressional speakers included Reps. Judy Chu, Grace Meng, and Pramila Jayapal.
Fighting for family immigration and diversity visas. The Value Our Families campaign is in its third year. During this year, we worked in coalition to ensure that family-based immigration did not disappear from public discourse. We place op-eds in local communities, collected more stories, and garnered more than 75 co-sponsors for the Reuniting Families Act.
Protecting affirmative action: We celebrated another win in support of affirmative action as race-conscious admissions was upheld in the Harvard University case this year. We continue to closely monitor and work in coalition with those fighting for race-conscious admissions policies.
Launched the anti-racial profiling project. The Anti-Racial Profiling Project offers resources and legal referrals for those impacted by the U.S. government’s increased efforts to target and profile Asian American and Asian immigrant scientists, researchers and scholars, particularly those of Chinese descent. Earlier this year, we worked with affiliate partner Advancing Justice — ALC to file an amicus brief in United States v. Tao, providing significant evidence of racial profiling against Asian American and immigrant scientists and researchers.
Provided voting rights and election resources: We once again staffed up for the voter hotline, where we received more than 4,000 calls leading up to, the day of, and post-Election Day. We worked on the 2020 Asian American Voter Survey with APIAVote and AAPIData and provided translated and other resources so that community partners could serve their populations during this important and unprecedented election cycle.
Launched bystander intervention trainings: As hate incidents increased in our community, we collaborated with our friends at Hollaback! on a series of trainings on how bystanders can intervene safely when they witness hate. Demand became so high we even expanded the trainings to include a part II and a training on how to respond to harassment if an individual is experiencing hate. To date, we have trained more than 15,000 people and the training sessions continue to be popular.
Pushed back on “China virus” in the media, collected stories on StandAgainstHatred.org. When the outgoing President started using racist terms like China virus, we fought back right away in the media and on online platforms. We worked on PSAs for Stand Against Hatred and further developing our hate incident tracker so that we can educate the public and strengthen advocacy. We were thankful to have partners such as music company 88rising, which was so concerned about this issue they hosted a fundraiser during Asian Pacific American Heritage Month.
Finished our national get out the count campaign for the 2020 Census! For the past two years, we had the honor of being a national hub for the AANHPI community in getting out the count for the 2020 Census. Despite the shortened census timeline and political interference, we continued working to make sure our communities were fully and accurately counted. We went to court to stop efforts to not count undocumented immigrants in the apportionment count and to protect our community. We distributed translated materials, engaged experts in our Count On Your Census 2020 podcast, and are staying engaged as redistricting and data analysis and distribution begins. We worked with incredible partners around the country and dealt with the twists and turns from the outgoing administration as well as the global pandemic.