By Krista Orejudos
Image retrieved from [Asian Americans Advancing Justice | AAJC]
Who They Are
Asian Americans Advancing Justice, or AAAJ for short, is among the few organizations dedicated to protecting, supporting, and empowering the AAPI communities.
Founded in 1991 in Washington D.C. their mission is “to advance the civil and human rights for Asian Americans and to build and promote a fair and equitable society for all.” To achieve their mission, they strive to partner with equal and independent organizations that are committed to uniting together as one to strengthen our multi-racial democracy. They have since then become a leading national affiliation for Asian-Americans in the USA as they have centers located in San Francisco, Atlanta, Chicago, and Los Angeles.
Living in a time where anti-Asian violence has surged, AAAJ has documented hate and harassment against Asian Americans, compiled lists for local AAPI resources, and hosted bystander intervention training. Even before “Stop Asian Hate” was a trending hashtag, AAAJ has continuously worked to uplift the voices of Asian American and Pacific Islanders for the past 25 years.
Through their programs, AAAJ has established stronger roots and political power for the AAPI community.
To strengthen roots, they advocate that the census must accurately promote a fair and just calculation of those who are under as an AAPi member, and not blatantly segregate our communities. They also understand that undergoing the immigration process can be intimidating for non-English speakers, but AAAJ has used its efforts to provide citizenship workshops to help Asian immigrants feel comfortable when answering complicated citizenship questions.
To build political power, the organization has increased the power of voting by making Asian Americans understand their voting rights and civil power. They’ve also compromised a sub-coalition called Community Partner Network, to gather civically engaged Asian Americans to advocate political issues in local areas. Particularly, the CPN has slowly been gaining traction in higher areas of discrimination like the South and Midwest. Nevertheless, the growing community-based organization advances on with its mission of protecting the rights of Asian Americans and other minorities.
Without their help, 9.3 million Asian Americans wouldn’t have become eligible voters nor would we have never seen over 4,000 Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders as elected officials in US politics. Unlike before, the representation for the AAPI community in litigation will surely be a sight to see in the future because more members are starting to get politically involved.
Anti-Asian Hate & Anti-Racial Profiling Project
AAAJ has been aware of the hostile suspicion targeted towards Asian Americans who are wrongly accused of the coronavirus. They understand the inequality and visibility struggles of the AAPI community because of the stereotypes and myths placed on us by mainstream America. As a way of retaliation, AAAJ has taken it into their own hands to create resources, crowdsources, and interventions for the AAPI people to feel safe again in their respective communities.
Their notable documents containing far too many hate and harassment stories have encouraged Asian Americans to speak up about their own experiences. No matter how small or big, AAAJ wants to break the silence and internalized racism that AAPI people face because awareness will be created for others to understand.
AAAJ also encourages people to continue adding onto their big crowdsourcing document that’s filled with many national and local resources for the AAPI community.
And most importantly, they encourage people to attend their virtual “learn intervention techniques” because equipped professionals will teach you how to safely intervene when you see or experience an anti-Asian crime.
How to Get Involved & Resources
Be sure to check out the website for Asian Americans Advancing Justice to see what contributions you can make to help them stand up against Asian hate!
These contributions can be done but are not limited to becoming a member of Community Partner Network (CPN), attending the Youth Leadership (only available for college students) and Advancing Justice Conference, or working with AAAJ to further help them achieve their mission statement!
Written by writer Krista Orejudos