Civic Engagement

APEN believes that electoral organizing is a key strategy to realize healthy, green and just communities.

Currently, APAs are under-represented in decision-making on state issues despite the size and rapid growth of the APA population. With almost a third of the nation’s total APA population living in California, any APA successes in the state will have national implications.

APEN incorporates a multi-pronged civic engagement strategy to advance environmental justice that includes voter education, innovative voter engagement methods and coalition building.

Voter Registration:

If you are not registered to vote, or have moved and need to update your registration, click here to register now!

Rock the Vote Widget

If you ARE registered to vote, please share this information with family and friends that may not already be registered and encourage them to register online or the next time they see friendly folks like our awesome volunteers.

We believe that voting is critical to creating the world we want to see for our communities, so APEN launched the voter registration pilot project. Our objective is to increase the number of API registered voters, promote voter education, and build a culture of civic participation by training volunteers to register voters in their communities. We are tabling at community festivals and events and canvassing door-to-door in key neighborhoods.


Here are some of the highlights so far:

  • Nurturing established partnerships with API youth organizations like Asian Pacific Islander Youth Promoting Advocacy and Leadership (AYPAL) the Spot in Oakland Chinatown and East Bay Asian Youth Center (EBAYC) to train and empower youth leaders to register voters and build cultures of civic engagement in their communities
  • Partnering with community health agencies such as – Asian Health Services and the California Healthy Nail Salons Collaborative – to provide voter registration training and support so they can initiate their own voter registration projects
  • Targeted outreach to the diverse communities and neighborhoods in Oakland at celebrations such as Oakland Pride, Chinatown Street Fest, King Pan Festival and the Laurel Street Fair
  • Building innovative faith-based partnerships with True Buddha Vijaya Temple, St. Anthony’s Church and the Cambodian Buddhist Temple

Let’s celebrate the power we have to make change – register today and vote on November 4th!

Proud Victory – No on Prop 23:

APEN designed and executed the only field program in the state that targeted Asian voters to vote No on Proposition 23 (Dirty Energy Initiative).  APEN’s innovative, 6-week field campaign included:

  • Groundbreaking trilingual phonebank team – all of our callers spoke Cantonese, Mandarin and English – in order to effectively reach Chinese voters in CA;
  • 25,000 pieces of mail in Chinese and English;
  • Ads in every major Chinese newspaper in the SF Bay Area and several in Los Angeles.
  • Contacted over 14,000 Chinese voters, ID’d over 10,000 No on 23, with a turnout rate of 68%.

Voter Education:

Since 2004, APEN has been active in almost every local election in Oakland and Richmond and state election in California on non-partisan ballot issues.

This has included innovative strategies to engage our base membership with the Chinese immigrant community in Oakland and with our Laotian members in Richmond and Contra Costa County.

One of the tangible contributions that APEN has made to educate API voters in the Bay Area and throughout the state is APEN’s multilingual voter guide.

Innovative Civic Engagement Models:

Strong majorities of Asian voters prefer to speak in native language when approached on electoral issues.  So, cultural competency and linguistic skills are necessary for effective outreach and organizing.

APEN’s innovative civic engagement model targeting limited English proficient voters has effectively educated and mobilized tens of thousands of Asian immigrant and refugee voters throughout California.

APEN established building and precinct captains throughout Oakland Chinatown to target apartment buildings with densely populated Chinese immigrant voters.  APEN also developed a trilingual phone bank team to handle a linguistically diverse, foreign-born Chinese voter list that included surnames translated into Chinese characters.

Forging Strategic Alliances:

Alliance building is a fundamental component of APEN’s strategy to build a broad movement for environmental and racial justice.

APEN is a founding organization and steering committee member for Oakland Rising, a multiracial, multilingual collaborative to build power in Oakland through creating a permanent electoral infrastructure, expanding political influence and aligning organizations and other coordinated efforts.

APEN helped build Communities United, a statewide coalition comprised of environmental and racial justice organizations, which was a critical element to defeat Prop 23, the dirty oil initiative.

 Check out all our allies.