Schools & Communities First: Essential for Rebuilding AAPI Communities Across California

As Asian Pacific American Heritage Month comes to an end, Asian American and Pacific Islander (AAPI) leaders across California celebrate not only our culturally dense history, but also our histories of resistance, survival, resilience, and power. We are continuing this legacy of building API power by uniting to support the Schools & Communities First campaign to close corporate tax loopholes and reclaim $12 billion for public schools and critical local services.

As a community of diverse experiences --indigenous to the Pacific Islands and Hawai’i, immigrants, migrants, and refugees--- we have a deep understanding and appreciation for the important role great public schools and critical local services serve for families and communities. We’ve long practiced interdependence by pooling resources to survive, knowing that just valuing profits over people will not result in thriving and healthy communities.

Our AAPI community has shown that we value communities over corporations, by making a significant contribution to the record-breaking 1.7 million signatures gathered in support of Schools & Communities First. Our signature collection movement ranged from API youth to non-English speaking elders, demonstrating that across generations, and across experiences, we recognize that change is needed.

Over many decades, the public infrastructure required for our communities to thrive has been eroded, or never existed at all. AAPI teachers, essential workers, elected officials, small business owners, and community leaders, have witnessed the defunding of our schools and neighborhoods even as our communities continue to grow and become the fastest growing ethnic group in the state. And the COVID-19 crisis has further exposed the disinvestment in public health that puts us and our loved ones at risk.

AAPI communities along with Black, Latinx, Native American and immigrant communities have been disproportionately hard-hit, especially now as our AAPI essential workers are on the frontlines of providing food, education, health care and vital services to our communities amid increased hate crimes and attacks from politicians looking for a scapegoat.

Winning Schools & Communities First and getting corporations to pay their fair share to invest in our schools and local communities is absolutely critical to recover from the pandemic and rebuild a California that represents all of us. We must come together to win this important initiative in November to begin addressing the glaring inequities and systemic racism that AAPIs, other communities or color, and immigrant communities bear.

Our collective future as Californians depends on our ability to come together, claim the resources we need to thrive, and invest in our children, our communities, and a future California for all. This Asian Pacific American Heritage Month, we demand that our government represents us, not a handful of corporate executives. We take pride in representing Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders, however we know that when we join together and represent for all Californians, we have more than pride, we have power.

Join us by adding your name to this list of AAPI community members who support Schools & Communities First and volunteering to join our movement.