Asian American Pacific Islander Victory Fund, a PAC dedicated to electing Asian Americans around the U.S., announced this week it would be launching AAPI Victory Alliance, an organization dedicated to empowering the AAPI electorate and fighting for progressive issues.
The new organization will also include an in-house think tank that will work to provide insights and data on issues important to the more than 22 million AAPIs that live in the U.S.
AAPI Victory Alliance Executive Director Varun Nikore told the Signal there’s plenty of work for an AAPI-focused think tank to tackle. Much of its core work will focus on the pandemic and pandemic recovery, hate crimes, small businesses, climate change, and other issues affecting Asian Americans.
Nikore said there is a major data gap when it comes to Asian Americans and many of those issues.
“Right now when you hear in the news that Black and Latino communities are affected by COVID in ways that are deeper than the larger population, what often gets left out is, what about AAPIs?” Nikore said. “In certain areas of the country, the AAPI COVID rate is worse than in any community.”
Governments and states don’t often track AAPI data, or when they do they disaggregate it, Nikore said.
“They just list as ‘Asian’ or ‘AAPI’,” Nikore said.
Part of the think tank’s mission will focus on highlighting the diversity within the AAPI community, which is made up of more than 50 ethnic groups that speak more than 100 languages. The new organization will also work with legislators to create policies surrounding those issues.
“All these policies are really helping us essentially figure out the attitudes and issues of importance for AAPIs,” Nikore said.
Much of the attention for the new AAPI Victory Alliance will be on Texas, home to the fourth-largest AAPI population in the country.
“In New York, and New Jersey, and California, the rates of population growth are nowhere near as high as they are in Texas,” Nikore said.
Electorally, Nikore said the Asian American Pacific Islander Victory Fund will also continue to hone in on Texas too.
“Texas is the most important battleground state in the country when it comes to AAPIs,” Nikore said, citing the fact that between 2016 to 2020, the AAPI vote in Texas doubled. “I can guarantee you that the vote increases have the potential of growing at such a rate that it will dwarf other demographic groups or other constituencies.”
“Both of our organizations have planted a flag in Texas as of last summer, and we’re going to be there for the duration — until Texas makes this leftward tilt. It’s just a matter of time,” Nikore said.
Photo: AAPI Victory Fund
Fernando covers Texas politics and government at the Texas Signal. Before joining the Signal, Fernando spent two years at the Houston Chronicle and previously interned at Houston’s NPR station News 88.7. He is a graduate of the University of Houston, Jack J. Valenti School of Communication, and enjoys reading, highlighting things, and arguing on social media. You can follow him on Twitter at @fernramirez93 or email at firstname.lastname@example.org