APEX Express

APEX Express – 11.5.20 | Beyond Elections 2020

A weekly magazine-style radio show featuring the voices and stories of Asians and Pacific Islanders from all corners of our community. The show is produced by a collective of media makers, deejays, and activists.

Leaders from the AACRE network came together the day after November 3rd to reflect on the “results” of the election. Win or lose on any battleground, our north stars remain clear and we are grounded in the work. If you’re feeling anxious or uncertain, tune in tonight for our thoughts about what’s ahead, regardless of the results of the 2020 Elections. Special thanks to John Lam (Asian Prisoner Support Committee – APSC), Hong Mei Pang, (Chinese for Affirmative Action – CAA), Cha Vang (Hmong Innovating Politics – HIP), and Yuan Wang (APIENC) for joining us.


[00:00:00] Tracy: Apex express Asian Pacific expression and unity and cultural coverage, music and calendar visions, and voices coming to you as an Asian Pacific Islander in your view, it’s time to get on board the apex express. Hello. You’re tuned into apex express on KPFA, bringing you an Asian and Asian American view in the Bay and around the world.

[00:00:37] This is Tracy Nguyen. Today, we have leaders of the AACRE network with us and AACRE stands for Asian Americans for civil rights and equality, and we’re bringing you the election results.

[00:00:53] Welcome again to apex express. Tonight is AACRE Thursday. AACRE is a network of 11 Asian-American activist groups fighting for social justice and equality. Today, we’re talking to four of my colleagues who are part of organizations within the AACRE network. We have Hong Mei Pang from Chinese for affirmative action, Cha Vang from Hmong innovating politics.

[00:01:18] John Lam, from Asian prisoner support committee and Yuan Wang from APIENC. Today is a very special day. It’s actually Wednesday morning. The day after the November 3rd, 2020 elections and this is a pre recording. So it’s safe to say that many events may unfold by the time this show was aired and the facts and nbers may be different by then.

[00:01:46] But hello everyone. Thank you all for joining us on apex express today. I’m super grateful to be with everyone virtually this morning. After what looks like will be a long journey to, , [00:02:00] understanding the results of our election this year. And you all work with organizations and communities fighting for civil rights, social justice equity for all Asian and Pacific Islander communities and all communities of color, and some of your organizations have even been around for decades.And so with that, I’m just extra proud and thankful to be with you all today. And just to open up our show, the big question, how is everyone feeling this week?

John: John checking in, , you know, I feel great and , excited and the Dawn of a new day. You know, this, this is a really amazing turn of events with this election, you know, super excited to be on here today.

[00:02:47] Tracy: Welcome John. Thank you. 

Cha: Hi, everyone. I’m  and I am feeling, , hopeful, you know, last night I was feeling a lot of anxiety, but this morning there’s some, a lot of hope. And then also we know that just to kind of breathe and like really let the process, happen. And then, so, there’s tons of hope and, and looking for community to just really be around.

[00:03:19] Tracy: Yeah. That’s great to hear thanks Cha. How about you Hong Mei. 

Hong Mei Pang: Yes. Hi Tracy. Thanks for having me. , I’m Hong Mei Pang. I work at Chinese for affirmative action. You know, they, after elections, , I feel very thankful, you know, I think that with the unprecedented voter turnout, , and all of the movement building that we’ve been doing leading up to this point, , I also feel hopeful and I just have so much gratitude for everyone who has showed up this time around on the right side of justice. And as we’re sort of, you know  exercising patience with counts , votes still happening. , definitely, definitely on the edge of my seat. 

Tracy: Yes. I agree. Edge. I’m also on the edge of my seat. Thank you. How about you Yuan.

[00:04:18] Yuan: Thanks so much for checking in. Happy to be here with you all. , I was also really anxious last night, but I think actually looking forward to this call got me a little grounded. I was like, yeah, like, let me like get in the sensor of what I believe and what I’m feeling I’m really excited to hear from and talk to you all. And I told them, I’m keeping one eye on the ballot measures in California, for sure. 

Tracy: Yes, that’s right. So, so many historical moments, , and really, really witness folks going through the waves of anxiety and hope and anticipation. And it’s all such a roller coaster, but it’s good to hear that y’all are in good spirits this morning.

[00:05:05] Tracy: so yeah, I’m curious any powerful uplifting election stories that you’ve all witness or heard, like for example, I know hip on your Instagram y’all are celebrating a lot of first time Southeast Asian refugee voters. I think that’s really exciting. , yeah. Any stories y’all want to share with us this morning?

[00:05:28] Cha: Thank you Tracy, for highlighting that, that was actually because HIP has been doing voter engagement and just calling API and also very focused among and Southeast Asian voters across the central Valley in Sacramento. And, , one of the work that we did was just to really make sure that everybody has access to voting. One of the things we do is like, We either go out to the family to make sure that they have their ballots or we, , take them to where they need to go to make sure that they vote. And so, this particular family got a call from one of our specialists and, , they were, they told our outreach specialists that they don’t know where the ballots were at.

So, it turns out they were in Sacramento. So our Fresno team, had asked us to go out and I called them the night before and turn out the dad was, , The dad, you know, couldn’t walk properly. And so, and then they didn’t have transportation. And so I went out to their house, had them sign an authorization pickup form, and then I went to go pick up the ballot and it brought it back to the house. We really sat down and spent about two and a half hours going over in language the whole entire ballot. And we, , like social distancing in their garage to make sure that they vote. And so they were first-time voters. , they’ve been registered, , since they’ve been a citizen, , in 2009, but, , they never really had the opportunity to vote.

And so they were like, we don’t even know how to circle a bubble in the little circles. And so it was super awesome just to kind of like have this conference like that. Two generations of like the family members, , to really bow and make sure that they, get to choose their leaders, but also their local propositions.

[00:07:19] Tracy: Right. Wow. Awesome. What made a difference this year of bringing them out to the polls? 


Cha: You know, there’s a lot of propositions on the, you know, I think when we have these conversations with our,  community members, they always think about like the presidential elections. But when we actually get down to talking about what actually matters the most.

[00:07:43] It’s the propositions to local measures and the local seats that our community members are also concerned around. Right. And so, we’ve just California and we have a lot of propositions in Sacramento. We had some really important local measures. And then in the district that this family wasn’t, they had a council member seat race that was pretty close. And so that really made a difference for them. 

Tracy: That’s beautiful. And just to uplift some of hip’s history, hip stands for Hmong innovating politics, and you all are actually founded on some campaigns around education and it was all a volunteer run organization. And hip really kick started off a huge civic engagement wave within the Hmong community in Sacramento and Fresno.

[00:08:32] And so, , Just witnessing what you all built throughout the years, leading up to this historic election and hearing about the turnout of, especially the elders. Who’ve never in their lifetime, got to participate. And this process is really, , you know, that that’s a win and regardless of what happens, it’s, it’s really uplifting to hear that.

[00:08:53] Thank you so much for all the work you all do. What about others? Any other stories out there? 

Yuan: I can share something. I think I’m really inspired to hear that and the work that it is doing. , I think what really stands out about that story to me is like, y’all are making the voting process a collective one and not an isolating one.

[00:09:14] And I think, , especially during the pandemic, me personally, and I know a lot of members in APIENC are feeling like, Oh, this is a really isolating time actually. , and I know that. One of the ways that we’ve been trying to learn, , from the 2016 election and also from other groups around the state and around the country is, asking questions also beyond what are we voting for and why, but asking, like, how are we going to show up for our folks on the week of the election?

[00:09:43] Who are you going to call on for support when things feel really isolating or really scary or confusing, how are you going to stay safe and still leverage your power in the streets, in your relationships or in the organization? , that we can beyond. I think in 2016, when, , for, for many of our members and staff and for a lot of other folks, The election results were so surprising.

[00:10:08] We really learned that it was important to hold space for our members to get through those questions. So we’ve been hosting office hours for our members for the past couple of weeks. , and it’s been a really great space for folks to offer support to each other and to ask for help, , and are holding the space this Friday to debrief the election no matter what happens, , which I’m really excited about and to be in community with folks.

[00:10:34] Tracy: Yeah. Oh my God. I love it. And yeah, it’s true. You, and so many people experience our democracy and our elections as you know, one-off event, people put in their ballots and don’t get to really be in community with each other through the process before and after. I think that’s such an incredible theme of this year, community care and safety and resilience and, , APIENC, is an organization that has really taken time to hold that community effort in throughout this whole year through mutual aid, through phone trees, through all the support you’re offering each other in this time, we also hold all the community care that’s needed throughout this very tense, anxiety ridden process.

[00:11:24] So thank you all for leading the way in that community care.. John. What about you? 

Hong Mei Pang: I think what you shared, you and Yuan, I think Tracy, you know, what you all shared, really resonate with me and the way that. We have seen COVID-19. , and really, you know, I think the, white house for the last four years, , has just such, severely and adversely impacted our communities. Like this is a moment for us to kind of unite around our values of equity around our values. , of compassion and also advance an equity agenda, right? Like I think that up till the very, very last minute. You know, the opportunity for all campaign that is spearheading, , the proposition 16 movement, , really fought to make sure that every single California voter understood, that’s what proposition 16 was all about.

[00:12:35] It was about leveling the playing field for women and people of color. Who have been disproportionately and systemically discriminated against as a result of sexism and racism, and being able to really clear the path for every single person in California to unleash their full potential. And so, you know, in this moment where we are, you know, siloed because of the pandemic, and we’re trying to like wrap our heads around  an increasingly complicated voting process, as we are, you know, trying to invite more people into our democracy,  you know, it is just.

[00:13:10] So important for us to think about, these policies, not just as like what you said, Tracy stand alone, you know, opportunities or moments in history, but really in sort of a continu on a continu of social movements, you know, really advancing a vision around like, Justice. And, and so, you know, I think, you wanted us to share a story.

[00:13:35] I think one thing that really moved me, you know, in the last week or so was, you know, we had the unity rally out in San Francisco, this past weekend at Dolores park and it was incredible, you know, I think that we had elected officials from our San Francisco supervisors all the way to our state assembly members.

[00:13:57] To like Bart directors, , [00:14:00] come out in full force to really stand behind, , you know, prop 16, not just as a policy, but really as an opportunity for us to reimagine and redefine the narrative around what it means for, for all of us to be in this fight together, as we move forward, past elections.

[00:14:20] Tracy: Oh, yeah. And I saw that picture and everyone was wearing mask and socially distance. And, you know, we haven’t been together for months and it was just a really super sweet moment to, , yeah. Really rally together over prop 16 and which I would love to talk more about little bit later in our show. , But also to highlight CAA’s history CAA stands for Chinese for affirmative action, and they just celebrated our 51st anniversary.

[00:14:50] So CA literally is, has been a champion for affirmative action for five decades. And it’s one of the few organizations that have existed and was birthed out of the civil rights movement in the sixties. And it was such full circle to see you all take the lead for, , prop 16, which challenged the ban of affirmative action in California.

[00:15:19] And so, , you know, regardless of the results, , it, it really is about the process and the ink, the engagement of our communities around these issues. Thank you, CAA. , what about you, John from APSC? 

John: Yeah. , you know, one of the things that really stood out to me about this election is the, you know, the engagement from the elders and, , my family, you know, from my aunts and my parents, to my uncles, , you know, these are individuals who immigrated to America in the eighties, , escaped from, , the refugees as refugees in Vietnam.

[00:15:54] And so there’s this like, General distrust of government and like a lack of engagement in [00:16:00] politics in general, since they’d been here in America for the past 30 years, but you know, this election, , and, you know, changed everything, you know, there is this huge upsurge of, , you know, questions, you know, from the elders about, you know, Hey, what’s this, or, you know, what should we do?

[00:16:16] , there’s a sense of, you know, hope that, you know, their voice can be heard and they feel that, you know, Know, just the selection is just too important to sit out. And, , you know, as, as was mentioned, you know, this pandemic has really a wreck havoc in the service industry, which a lot of my aunts and uncles, , you know, you know, work in.

[00:16:36] And so, you know, they, they felt like, you know, this year something that, could be different. And so I was just really blown away by, you know, the hope and optimism and finally see that, you know, , Democracy matters and yeah, they want to participate in it. And that’s just one of the biggest takeaway for me from distillation and, , well, they gave me a lot of hope.

[00:16:59] Tracy: Absolutely. Thank you, John. Thank you everyone for sharing those gems of hope, I think that’s really important as you know, APSC one of our, one of their, , Slogans is hope is contagious and hope really has to be our weapon to combat a lot of fear that we’ve been living with for, you know, the last four years.

[00:17:26] And, it’s it’s yeah, it’s really important for us to hold onto these victories. , and, and what they mean to us. So, , Yeah, I don’t want to focus too much on the numbers just yet. I think I really want to uplift the work everyone has been doing. , and especially the work that’s coming up after this is all over, right.

[00:17:49] You know, a lot of people. Talk about how elections have consequences. And, , I’m curious about what that [00:18:00] means for you all, like how has elections shaped your work this year, but also how is it or is it not shaping the work moving forward? , what, what is, what is the rest of our year going to look like?

[00:18:13] What does the rest of the year going to look like for you all in your work?

Cha: I think there’s going to be a lot of time to also alike. Healing. , but also what is faith building look like for us as a organization? , we know that as, you know, reductions have consequences, but we also know that like elections doesn’t solve our issues are issues and that the work continues no matter if we win a loose,, in the selections for our propositions, for our positions, that  we as a community meet and continue to build, , continue to educate, continue to  provide the resources so that our communities are continually engaging.

[00:19:01] And also we’re building a culture of civic engagement, , all year long, right. , the understanding that, , The election wins are actually just the beginning of the work and accountability is where we’re, , accountability and governing and implementation of lot of propositions and measures is where we need where we need to focus.

[00:19:23] So, our work is like really to plan out how we are going to keep everybody accountable, , and how we are going to move our communities forward to also, , continue to stay engaged. That’s right. Cha thank you. 

Hong Mei: What else, if I can add on to what cha had shared, you know, I think that is so true that, you know, , it is on a continu of movement building of community building and engaging, right?

[00:19:54] Like those who have been historically left out and those who, , have been disenfranchised and marginalized , in between, right? Like these big moments. , and you know, I think for us, one of the things that we have really want do,  as an extension of our sort of like digital engagement work.

[00:20:15] And I’ve been on apex express to share a little bit of what we’re doing in Chinese language. , you know, digital spaces is really be able to experiment and be able to, you know, use these moments right. , of around elections, around campaigns to catalyze and to learn. And so definitely, , you know, to definitely think about.

[00:20:38] After the elections, how do we rest? How do we heal? How do we kind of, , you know, plan forward. But also I think to really take a moment to reflect on some of the lessons that we’ve been able to learn, , to be able to, I think, take, , an internal check on like, you know, how we’ve been able to like build out a network of progressive voices, , you know, up and down the state of California.

[00:21:04] As a result of the work that we’re doing on, we chat to debunk the myths, , that Asian Americans  do not support affirmative action. , when in fact, you know, we have been able to rally voices, , to say otherwise that we do stand behind equal opportunity and that we are actively trying to combat systemic racism and sexism.

[00:21:30] And I think also in other parts of the country, you know, we’ve, we’ve launched a couple of projects out, , in the Midwest in Pennsylvania, , to try to see if we’re able to engage Chinese language communities and put up progressive, you know, narratives there as well. So, you know, I, I do think that there are so many things that we can learn by taking stock of the moment that we’re in.

[00:21:57] Tracy: Yes, absolutely. I love that you’ve named rest and healing reflection and learning as part of the next steps. Like those are actually, you know, that’s part of the strategizing that’s part of the recuperating and that’s part of the work and, , yeah, I love, it feels like a breath of fresh air to be able to say that we’re going to do that as our next steps.

[00:22:20] John: Yeah, no, , you know, this year, you know, with the state and local elections that, you know, really impacted us a lot, you know, with the passage of, you know, several important positions, I think the important focus with, you know, APC will be, you know, , galvanizing, , in a forming, you know, this new, , electorate that, you know, 50,000 members of our communities and with the ability to vote now, you know, we’ll be focusing on, you know, , continue to help our communities to be free, you know, healthy and to stop ice.

[00:22:51] , you know, it’ll will be one of our primary focus. This is, in this upcoming year, with this election. 

Tracy: Yeah, John, and I really want to talk more about that after the break about  work, , working with folks who are incarcerated, informed, incarcerated in some of the rights that there’ll be inheriting this after this election.

[00:23:13] Yeah. Thanks so much for saying that, John and I think Tracy, when you say, when you talked about the impacts of the election, So then that feels really important for me to remember is that one of the groups that was most impacted by the 2016 election was trans folks across the country. , it’s not a coincidence that after the election, which trans hotline had a 500% increase in calls, right?

[00:23:39] Folks are afraid about workplace discrimination is in healthcare. And also just the statement about what people’s values are in that election. , I think so many trans folks I made to feel that we don’t belong in this world in the first place. I think that election of the confirmation that we’re really unsafe.

[00:23:57] , and so I think that. When you ask about the work for the rest of the year beyond this, our work is always to grow in way to meet our people’s needs longterm. And I think that challenging and mobilizing the covenant and is a really powerful way to make that happen. And we’re going to continue to use our own resources to meet those needs.

[00:24:17] We’re going to keep organizing with other trans people of color led groups around the state. We’re going to keep providing mental health and healing support to our members. And we’re going to fundraise to make sure this work can continue, , and a lot more. So, , I really resonate with everything that folks have said about the selection really carries an impact, and we got to keep doing this for beyond it also.

[00:24:40] Tracy: Beautiful. , thank you everyone for so much. I’ve asked really big questions to start off the show, and we’re going to go into a music break and listen to gangster warrior by mass break. And when we come back, we’d love to hear more about some of the propositions you all were fighting for this election season.

(Music plays)

[00:29:11] Tracy: all right. Welcome back you are tuned in to ‘Apex Express’ on 94.1 KPFA and 89.3 KPFB in Berkeley, 88.1 KFCF in Fresno and K248BR in Santa Cruz and online at kpfa.org. You just listened to … Mass Bass is a 6-piece hip hop/rock/reggae/soul sound collective based out of Oakland by way of the Philippines. Their songs reflect the stories and struggles of workers and immigrants in their quest for liberation.


[00:29:44] I love playing their songs because they reflect the stories and struggles of workers and immigrants and their quest for liberation. And these are folks who are also organizers working directly with low wage workers, , immigrants, and [00:30:00] they’ve field their work into their art and their art into the organizing.

[00:30:05] And this is the kind of vibe I’m really holding onto these days, , to get us through a really difficult year. , but back to our show today, we’re. Some of the leaders of the AACRE network and where we’re debriefing the morning after of the elections, elections is not over. , and more specifically, , in California, there were a lot of major propositions.

[00:30:31] , a lot of that are still being counted at this very moment. And by the time this airs, we might know a little bit more, but, HIP, CAA and APSC on this call. , you all were directly engaged or involved in some of these major propositions, , prop 15 prop 16 and prop 17 specifically. Can you all speak to the journey of the work?

[00:31:02] Pushing for these props where you see the results teetering right now. And what does it mean? Whether or not the proposition passes or not? 

CHA: hip has been working on, , the schools and communities and profit team worth since, , four years ago, when we got a little more sophisticated in our sipping engagement work, , you know, this, the proper team campaign has been, has historical, like, , Has been going on for a bit, you know, for the last 40 years.

[00:31:37] , just making sure that we’re also bringing back funding to our communities and, you know, hip it’s a smaller organization. We’re a little newer to the work, but, , every, since we started doing, , some more civic engagement at the state level, like this has been one of the core, , campaigns that we’ve worked on because we also know that [00:32:00] there is.

[00:32:01] You know, prop 13 in the seventies actually is, , has contributed to large, , , deficits in our state in terms of funding that comes back to our schools and, , our, and in our communities, right. And that counties are have like some, the funding that it’s supposed to be used at the local level. Is I there because people are not, , large corporations are not paying their fair share of the taxes.

[00:32:29] So we’ve been doing this work for a long time, but you know, it’s only been four years. , and we have, are super proud to be able to like, just bring in young people. To understand like the impact that has on their future, their present and their future and how it impacts our community as a whole, right.

[00:32:47] , for, , for the Hmong and Southeast Asian refugees that come in, like came in, we came after the prop 13 passage. And so the impacts and how it has disadvantaged our communities, there’s like very, , we needed to make sure that our communities also, , Understood it. And what does it mean to get those funding back into the neighborhoods, into the County and to the cities that we, , our communities live in.

[00:33:16] Right. , Yeah, it’s prop 13 has been a multiethnic, multi, multiethnic coalition building. , we’ve been fortunate to be able to build with, , folks from the Latino community organizations who work with at the black community. And this is actually been such an awesome opportunity for us to like really build our.

[00:33:43] , our connections with other folks who are doing this work, but also building cross regional cross racial work. And, , that we’re fighting for the same thing because our communities deserve all the resources that we can from the state. And, , [00:34:00] and that our issues are inner sectional and they are, , we are fighting for the same thing and we.

[00:34:07] And we want to make sure that that’s actually communicated across our state, that this isn’t about one group, but this is about everyone. That’s beautiful. And what does it mean for you all? Whether or not this proposition passes in California? Wow. Know. , this, I think we didn’t want to focus on numbers, but I just want to also say that we are only about 11.5 million votes counted so far.

[00:34:38] And we’re hoping, we’re thinking that,  voter turnout will be close to 16.5 16, 16.5 million votes that are going to be, that is actually the turnout that we were projecting. So, you know, we. Win or lose for profit team. Our work continues. We also know that if prophecy wins, we have to fight for, to make sure that at the local level, that the money is going to the programs to the community.

[00:35:05] So we, , we live in right. If property loses, we continue to fight for the resources that we need to, for it to, and we will continue to fight for, , anything that we can get at the state, but also that it’s. This work, we know that it’s so close and we know that there’s a desire and a hunger to really reform prop 13.

[00:35:29] Tracy: Right. That’s right. I mean, at this point over 5 million, nearly 6 million people have voted yes. On it. And that’s, I think that’s the beautiful thing about civic engagement and organizing when you do it. Right. You know, the relax, the results are less important. It’s about. The process and it’s about the, like you’ve named the multicultural coalition building you’ve been able to do.

[00:35:53] And that, that is a harder, the work, , uniting communities across, , different backgrounds [00:36:00] and cultures and experiences. , and the fight, the fight continues. Whether or not it’s a yes or no on prop 15, but incredible work that you’ve all done. , great job, regardless of the results. What about, , let’s yeah, next would be prop 16 and that is restoring, , affirmative action in California.

[00:36:25] Hong Mei: Yeah, I can share a little bit. I think I started to do that in the beginning, , around what proposition 16 meant for our communities and what it would do. , you know, as a proposition is repeal, , a very, very harmful law that was put in place back in 1996, , called proposition two Oh nine. , and it was, , shepherd.

[00:36:49] By, , you know, Pete Wilson and we’re Connolly who are, , you know, very troubling, , after, in a very dark part of California history that banned, , affirmative action, it made it legal for the state to consider race and gender and its public education, public contracting, and public employment systems.

[00:37:15] And in the 24 years, That proposition 209 has been put in place. , women and people of color have lost out, , on, you know, opportunities that, , allows for economic mobility that allows for, you know, education, equity. , and you know, I think the glass ceiling for women, especially women of color, , became so much more difficult to overcome because if you’re looking at something like that, The wage gap, for example, you know, , women of color, especially, you know, single moms, , they make about 60 cents to, , you know, the white male counterpart for the same work that they might be doing.

[00:37:57] , you know, and, and so I think we [00:38:00] understood. Going into this fight to repeal proposition two Oh nine, that, , there were, , you know, very important conversations that we need to have within the community around, you know, , really getting people to understand that racism and sexism remains, , , you know, a pertinent issue.

[00:38:23] And I think that in this year that we have been in, , in the year 2020, we’ve seen, you know, , with. The murder of ms. George Floyd and the black lives matter movement with a disproportionate impact that COVID-19 has had on, , Asian American, small businesses, the rise of anti-Asian, , you know, , harassment and racism, , that more than ever, right.

[00:38:47] We need remedies that speak to the root cause of the violence that we’re seeing in the community, as it relates to, , you know, Barriers and challenges to being able to access equal opportunity. And so, you know, for us, , the, the prop 16 campaign, , is built on, you know, , a long history, right? Of, , civil rights of, you know, , per our namesake, or I hate people of color uniting and, you know, being in partnership and solidarity, , with other historically marginalized.

[00:39:23] Communities and peoples, , but also really, you know, to echo what Cha had mentioned and a way for us to build a very diverse and broad based coalition, , through the movement that we’ve been able to build. I mean, we have an unprecedented, , you know, base of supporters over 20 newspapers have endorsed the campaign and 880 endorsements from elected officials, civil rights groups and community organizations up and down the state.

[00:39:53] , and I think right now, from where we’re at, you know, I think again, difficult to say because, [00:40:00] , we have, , over a quarter of those that have not yet been counted in California. , you know, I think that patience is the key and it is important to also note that, you know, because of COVID and vote by mail, , the grace period of counting votes have been extended.

[00:40:17] , and the secretary of state, , state has until December 11th to certify the election results. And so what we are able to kind of say is, you know, with all that in context, right? , the, the work that we have been able to do to make sure that. One, our communities have access to accurate information, , to debunk, , this information around what affirmative action and equal opportunity is, especially for Asian Americans.

[00:40:47] Right? I think that is definitely a huge step in the right direction. , in addition to the coalition and movement building. , and you know, in this moment that we’re in, because of this campaign, you know, we can all kind of, , recognize that, right. We don’t live in a colorblind society and that we need remedies and that we need actionable solutions to be able to address.

[00:41:14] Right. The disparities that we’re seeing. And I think that, you know, if prop 16 passes, it will also be about implementation and making sure that we’re at the table to advise equitable measures. , and if it does not pass, right, we now know that there are stakeholders that we can count on, , to continue to find innovative solutions to, , you know, mend these gaps.

[00:41:40] Tracy: Yeah, thank you for illustrating that picture very clearly for us. And that, that that’s, that gives me hope too, to all the work that you’ve all done for the endorsements, the stakeholders, we know millions of people, , believe in affirmative action and all that it stands [00:42:00] for. So again, yeah. Regardless of the results, the, the, the work allowed us to pave the way for the actual North stars that we’re, we’re actually reaching for.

[00:42:09] , and I love that everyone’s keeping that in mind and in, in this, in this, , as we’re waiting for the final official results, Thank you. How many, , what about John APSC? , I know you all work with the formerly incarcerated population and John, you yourself came home this year. , what an, a prop 17 was restoring, , the vote for folks who, , are former felons.

[00:42:39] What does that mean to you? 

Tracy: Yeah. , you know, I woke up, I woke up this morning. I was just thinking to myself, I was like, wow. You know, 50,000 people in California today can, you know, wake up knowing that the voice would be heard. You know, if you know, prop 17 passes, what nber did you say? 50,000. It’s estimated that 50,000, 50,000 people will be impacted by this.

[00:43:02] And, you know, their families will also be impacted, you know, if their voices will be heard. And I’m just really, you know, just looking at the nbers right now. And I’m just really encouraged that no, California voters seem to have a greater understanding and awareness to vote yes. On 17. And you’ll, hopefully this is just a long-term process to, you know, continue to decarcerate and fund preventative and alternatives to incarceration.

[00:43:24] , you know, as a person who was impacted by this, you know, I truly believe that. You know, formerly incarcerated people have a wealth of knowledge about, you know, what can work and what doesn’t work in our communities. , so now there are 50,000 more informed voters that can have impact in decisions, , that can impact our communities in a positive way.

[00:43:44] , you know, from elected school board members, mayors city, council members, you know, individuals who have a direct impact on our local communities, where we live in. You know, , and you know, one of the things about it is that, you know, a lot of parolees that I know, [00:44:00] you know, grew up in low resource communities.

[00:44:02] So they are approximate to the issues that matter. And now that you know, it parolees can vote and I believe that their vote can help curb, , future crimes and create better educational opportunities, , for under-resourced members in our society. So, you know, you know, prop 17 is, you know, really amazing and, , a really a turning point for, you know, folks who have came out of prison, , who has served to PR , the prison term and, you know, most people who are parolees or individuals who have demonstrated a be habilitation, , which is the reason why they’re out here in society.

[00:44:37] And, you know, this is just another step, , to become a fully engaged member of society by, you know, participating in democracy and creating change in our community and how we wanted to see it. So proximity’s pretty cool. It’s amazing. And I think that’s a really symbolic win as we can see it. That so many propositions and local measures, and even the presidential elections, you know, are counting on every vote and 50,000 votes restore.

[00:45:07] Like, first of all, it gets ridiculous that. Folks who, , completed their prison term. Don’t get to have a say in the electoral process. , but restoring that vote is a huge win and you’re right. It does sway a lot of the decision-making, , for local governments and communities in our state for the future.

[00:45:26] Tracy: So congratulations. It looks like that is, , I mean, it’s too early to completely confirm, but it looks like the polls are looking strong for proposition 17. Are there any other measures that folks want to speak on? 

John: You know, , one of the ones that I seen this morning, , regarding measure J and L LA County, , that required no less than 10% of County general fund budget.

[00:45:50] Which is estimated between 360 million to $900 billion to, you know, spent on Neo community investment and alternatives to incarceration. So, you know, really [00:46:00] hopeful about, you know, , counties or making decisions to, you know, fund programs that help decarceration and improve the outcome of reducing recidivism.

[00:46:09] So, , pre-measure, Jay’s a huge win in LA County. So I just want to highlight that. 

Tracy: Incredible. Yes. And you know, all of this is made possible by organizers on the ground who talk to their constituents, talk to their neighbors, talk to their families and really push the vote out. Like none of this is an accident, you know, none of these results are by coincidence.

[00:46:31] It really is a concerted effort on all our parts and especially the folks on this show and the work that you’ve done with your organizations and communities. , I really appreciate everyone’s high spirits. I know, you know, we just don’t know how things are going to turn out. And so a lot of what people are saying is like, hold on to what’s in your control, focus on what you’re able to control.

[00:46:55] We cannot control the results of any of the propositions or the presidential elections. At this moment. We cannot control how people feel or think about. , you know, where our stance is, that what we can control is the safety of our communities. We can control how we spend our time. And so this was also a big census year.

[00:47:17] And, , as we all know, it’s important to get counted because that’s how local and state governments make their decisions. , but oftentimes so many people. I don’t get counted, whether they’re undocented or marginalized or disenfranchised, they are missing from that data. And sometimes we have to collect our own data so that we know what our folks need.

[00:47:42] And I want to give you in some space to talk about what APIENC is doing for the transgender gender nonconforming communities, and specifically a needs assessment that they’ve been working on for the last few years. 

Yuan: Yeah, thanks so much, John. Thanks for sharing all that work that [00:48:00] you’re doing. It’s really incredible.

[00:48:02] , I think listening to the three of y’all when you speak to economic stability, being saved in schools, , safety and policing, and the ability to access political power trans Asians and Pacific Islanders are deeply impacted by all of those issues. Recently in the past two years, eight things trans justice committee has been leading a community led assessment of trans and non-binary Asians and Pacific Islanders in the Bay area.

[00:48:30] And we found that over 20% of our respondents have been unhoused before more than 80% changed their appearance regularly to avoid violence. Almost half of our folks are uncomfortable seeing the doctor and a third of folks need to, but they cannot afford to. And despite all of this violence, over 80% of our respondents are uncomfortable interacting with the police and asking them for help.

[00:48:56] , so this tells us a lot about where our community is. And I think really with this needs assessment, we are inviting folks to help us build the grassroots power of trans and queer API folks locally long-term beyond one election cycle. , more than half of our folks said that community spaces allows them to feel most supported.

[00:49:18] Then we know that building community is lifesaving, but mobilizing that community to do political work is life changing. So on trans day of resilience weekend, , and just a couple of weeks on Sunday, November 22nd, we are hosting the events, release our findings, and also our recommendations for action.

[00:49:39] , and we’d really like to invite everyone on this call, everyone who’s listening on the radio, , and folks in our, in our API and our trans and queer communities to come out to support us, but also to commit to taking action, to support the trans API. So in our, in our lives. , so feel free to reach out to us through, to reach [00:50:00] out to us on Instagram, to learn more about it.

[00:50:01] But, , Tracy, thanks for giving us some to share about that. 

Tracy: Absolutely. And I do also want to plug in another event for a pink you’ll are having a virtual party this Saturday.

 Yuan: Yeah, we are. , some of our friends are hosting a virtual party to kick off our fall fundraiser. , a lot of apienc funding comes from grassroots donations from folks in our community and folks to support is which means that we’re accountable to the people who care about us, , beyond, beyond cycles or beyond moments of, , as interest.

[00:50:33] So. , we’re hosting a party of this Saturday at seven o’clock because we don’t need another hero to make sure that we are rooting in each other and are enjoying our care for each other, no matter the results of the election. So you can find that on our Instagram as well. And please join us. We’d love to see you.

[00:50:52] Tracy: We don’t need another hero. That is a beautiful Anthem and our show is coming to an end. And there is so much more to talk about. Some of them are so many more feelings to unpack and I’m sure, , we will all be pacing ourselves in the weeks to come to close us out. I will love to hear from everyone what’s feeling you.

[00:51:15] What is your North star? After all this is over, whatever it may be. What are you holding onto? What is feeling you?

John:  Yeah. , you know, what really excites me is, you know, just being on this call and, you know, hearing our wonderful partners, , you know, at home Chavez and you want to talk about, you know, the work that they’re doing in the hopes that they’re inspiring and our community, and really giving a voice of marginalized in society is really fills me with hope and excitement and really looking forward to, you know, all the amazing things, , you know, the organizations and the AACRE network is going to continue to do.

[00:51:51] And that really inspires me to, you know, consider to move ahead. Beautiful. 

Thanks for joining us, John. 

Cha: Thank you Tracy, for [00:52:00] having a hip on this, on the show. So, and you know, what makes me excited? What is our North star? I think it’s to really continue to build our communities too, for a community, our communities, to be more civically engaged, to have a culture statement that we’re continuing to engage in a more progressive, , with more progressive values.

[00:52:26] And, and then also what makes me excited is our young people. And I’ve seen the, I think the young people that we work with has shown so much love heart for our communities that I can only, , Let’s see how much they will continue to grow, how much they will continue to influence and how much they can do for our future.

[00:52:48] And, you know, as they’re fighting at the present to make sure that they have a bright future and that our communities have a bright future. So that would, that’s what excites me. Beautiful engagement is the name of the game, not the results of an election. I love it. Yes. Well, I think that is also powerful, you know, I think for us, yeah.

[00:53:10] Hong Mei: I think just want us to first echo my sax to you, Tracy, for having us on the show. And it’s so great to be able to share space with everyone on this, on this call. , you know, it is really. Powerful. And there is something very transformative when we are able to recenter the agency and the voices of those who we serve and those who have been, , excluded.

[00:53:37] Right? Like I think that, you know, the, the promise around our democracy is that it is a reiteration of these values of like inclusion of being able to actually create and reform our system. So that. You know, those who have been marginalized can be brought to the center. And, and I think that really like, you know, , makes [00:54:00] me, , thrilled, , and look forward to the work ahead.

[00:54:04] , you know, I think that as we are negotiating uncertain terrain, you know, waiting for the results of the national presidential election, , and as we celebrate the victories on the local and state sort of levels, , and also reflect, right, like I do think that, , being able to continually build with other communities of color, other, , marginalized.

[00:54:30] , you know, folks, , to be able to achieve this vision of like a multiracial, multicultural democracy. I think that is so powerful and so transformative. And it starts, , with, you know, each one of us, you know, , being willing to step up and, , engage and organize in the community. That’s right. It start, it has started.

[00:54:53] It is going and it will continue. Thank you, Hong Ming, and finally,

Yuan: thanks for that hong mei.. Thanks everyone. A year ago, a facilitator for aping score committee retreat. , let us in an activity, , from Joanna Macy, I believe in the work that reconnects and they asked us to meet our descendants seven generations in the future.

[00:55:16] , and it was a really powerful time for us and a reminder. And I think a North star that I’m holding right now is the question of what are we going to do right now that I just send them some seven generations can look back on and feel so proud of. And I think we are already doing that and weaving the so-so many people who are not on this call, wouldn’t have made all the work that we’re doing possible.

[00:55:42] So, , thank you all so much. I really happy to be here with you all. Wow. Thank you UN for that beautiful sentiment. I’m so glad we did this. I’m so glad to hear from everyone. Keep the spirits up, keep the vision alive. Keep your North star shining bright. , [00:56:00] thank you.

We thank Hong Mei Pang, Cha Vang, Yuan Wang, and John Lam for being on the show with us tonight on APEX Express. And for all you listeners out there. Keep resisting. Keep organizing. Keep creating and sharing your visions with the world. Your voices are important. 


APEX Express is produced by Tracy Nguyen, Preeti Mangala Shekar, Tara Dorabji, Jessica Antonio, Miko Lee and Jalena Keane-Lee. Tonight’s show was produced by your host Tracy Nguyen. Thanks to the crew at KPFA for their support during this shelter in place time.



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