Message from the Director

 

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Cally Wong

Cally Wong currently serves as the Director for API Council of San Francisco.

May 1, 2017

It is Asian Pacific Heritage Month, and at a time where we typically celebrate Asian & Pacific Islander (A&PI) achievements, we are instead fighting the fight of our lives to defend rights we’ve worked decades to obtain.

And this is on the national level. As national hostility results in antagonistic policies toward immigrant communities and individuals that just plain look different; as our highest levels of government aggressively stoke flames of fear and hatred; here in San Francisco, a city renowned for its diversity and tolerance, we are still fighting for equity for A&PIs. We are still fighting in 2017.

The API Council, a coalition of 40 non-profit community based organizations in San Francisco collectively serving over 250,000 A&PIs, will continue to fight any and all attempts to implement anti-immigrant and hateful policies.

Moreover, we will continue to ensure that public programs in San Francisco equitably serve A&PI residents.

Though the sheer numbers of A&PI residents is irrefutable (we comprise nearly 35% of all residents), few are aware that 42% of low-income residents in the city are A&PI. Even fewer seem to know nearly half of all low-income residents reside in the Bay View and Visitacion Valley.

Surprisingly, despite these statistics, few A&PIs take advantage of anti-poverty programs, such as CalWORKs. While 4,000 families in the city use cash assistance, childcare, and employment services offered by CalWORKs, only 14% of Chinese families living in poverty utilize these services.

This is unacceptable, and why organizations like ours, the API Council is so passionate about our cause: to advocate for equity on behalf of A&PIs across San Francisco.

As a coalition of community-based organizations with decades of experience serving A&PIs, we have the ability to advance the needs of this population in ways no other organization can.

On the ground, we are raising awareness of the plight facing many A&PI residents. We are in the face of local policymakers, educating them on little known poverty statistics, and advocating for more resources and programs to directly reach A&PI populations.

We are knocking on government agency doors, ensuring that A&PIs have access to public programs, and checking that agency efforts and corresponding budgets are in alignment with a population that comprises over one-third of SF residents.

We are at the table with other local organizations, assessing our resources and strengths, and collaborating to devise real solutions that address real problems.

This is what we do, and this is what we’ll continue to do for as long as is necessary. We’re unflinching in this fight, as we strongly believe San Francisco will retain its level of prominence if all residents have equal opportunities and are empowered to make choices that improve their quality of life.

We hope you’ll join us in this fight.

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