7 Organizations Championing Asian American and Pacific Islander (AAPI) Communities

March 17, 2021 | Grace Duginski
7 Organizations Championing Asian American and Pacific Islander (AAPI) Communities

The past few years have seen an uptick in hate incidents against Asian Americans, with the organization Stop AAPI Hate reporting they received nearly 3,800 reports of hate incidents between March 19, 2020 and February 28, 2021. The study found that women report incidents 2.3 times more than men, and that the reported incidents include both verbal harassment and shunning, as well as physical assault.

While these reports show potentially frightening trends, there are several reliable, well-established nonprofit organizations devoted to supporting the rights and safety of Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders. 

To celebrate these groups and their accomplishments, we’re recognizing seven of the top Asian American and Pacific Islander organizations whose work supports AAPI people and their communities.

1. Asian Americans Advancing Justice–Atlanta

Originally founded in 2010 as the Asian American Legal Advocacy Center, Asian Americans Advancing Justice-Atlanta (AAAJ) is the first nonprofit legal advocacy organization dedicated to protecting the civil rights of Asian Americans, Native Hawaiians, and Pacific Islanders, as well as Arab, Middle East, Muslim, and South Asian communities in Georgia and the Southeast.

Since its founding, AAAJ joined the national Asian Americans Advancing Justice affiliation in 2014 to focus on advancing Asian American civil rights with their work in policy advocacy, organizing and civic engagement, impact litigation, and legal services.  

Ultimately, AAAJ’s vision is to build “a social movement in which communities of color are fully empowered, active in civic life, and working together to promote equity, fair treatment, and self determination for all.”

2. National Asian Pacific American Women’s Forum

National Asian Pacific American Women’s Forum’s (NAPAWF) mission is to empower AAPI women and girls to gain full agency over their lives through their work on core issues, such as reproductive rights, anti-Asian violence, economic justice, and immigration rights. 

NAPAWF’s vision is to “build a movement for social, political, and structural change for Asian American and Pacific Islander (AAPI) women and girls.” Their policy platform is directly informed by the experiences of their members and their families, ensuring their actions represent grassroots concerns. 

3. Asian American Advocacy Fund

Based in Georgia, Asian American Advocacy Fund’s (AAAF) mission is to advocate for Asian Americans, Pacific Islanders, and Native Hawaiians in Georgia. Through policy advocacy aimed at all levels of government and endorsing candidates whose values align with their mission, they fight to protect their constituents’ human and civil rights.

Through these actions, the AAAF aims to build “a Georgia where Asian Americans, Pacific Islanders, and Native Hawaiians voices are represented in elected leadership and progressive policies across the state.”

4. Center for The Pacific Asian Family

Center for The Pacific Asian Family (CPAF) provides a 24-hour multilingual helpline and emergency shelter and transitional housing for AAPI domestic violence survivors. These services forward their mission of addressing the root causes of family violence to build healthy and safe communities, all while providing services that understand the cultural and language needs of AAPI women and their families. 

In their mission to prevent violence and help survivors, CPAF provides consulting services and hosts prevention initiatives targeted at parents, youth leaders, and community partners. Through these programs, they aim to fulfill their vision of “an Asian and Pacific Islander community that embraces healthy relationships and works in partnership with other communities to eradicate all forms of violence.”

5. The Asian/Pacific Islander Domestic Violence Resource Project

The Asian/Pacific Islander Domestic Violence Resource Project (DVRP) provides AAPI domestic violence survivors with support and resources that meet their language and cultural needs. In pursuit of this mission, the organization provides a confidential helpline and case management services for those affected by domestic violence, as well as resources to help educate community members on issues related to domestic violence. 

Today, DVRP’s programs have served over 1,300 survivors in Maryland, Virginia, and Washington, DC. With a survivor-created and driven structure, DVRP has empowered community leaders and their communities to speak out against violence and promote cultural understanding. 

6. Coalition of Asian American Leaders

The Coalition of Asian American Leaders (CAAL) is a Minnesota-based organization dedicated to uplifting Asian Americans, regardless of their background by providing opportunities and community connections. They recognize the diverse needs of Minnesotan Asian Americans and advocate on behalf of their communities for improved economic conditions, educational opportunities, immigration policies, and prevention of anti-Asian racism.

7. The Asian American Women’s Political Initiative 

The Asian American Women’s Political Initiative (AAWPI) is the only organization dedicated to advancing AAPI women’s political leadership in the United States. 

Their programs designed for low-income and immigrant AAPI women seek to give them a voice in our democracy.

With only 1% of state legislators being AAPI women, the AAWPI seeks to advance the authority of AAPI women in Massachusetts, Pennsylvania, and Georgia with over 90% of their alumni going on to work for political campaigns or run for office themselves. 

Organizations like the ones listed above strive to create a more equitable world for AAPI communities. Join these organizations in promoting AAPI leaders, taking a stand against anti-Asian violence, and embracing understanding across cultural barriers.