LOS ANGELES – Continuing the outpouring of support for Prop 16, Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders (AAPIs) held a virtual rally this past Monday, October 5, joined by prominent AAPI leaders from across California. The objective of the rally was to reinforce the importance of voting by mail and urging supporters to send in their ballots early.
Speakers included California State Controller Betty Yee, California State Treasurer Fiona Ma, Assemblymember Rob Bonta, Assemblymember Dr. Shirley Weber, Los Angeles Councilmember David Ryu, Mandy Diec, California Director of the Southeast Asia Resource Center (SEARAC), Naindeep Singh, Executive Director of Jakara Movement, Sissy Trinh, Executive Director of the Southeast Asian Community Alliance, Commissioner Manufou Liaiga Anoa’I of the County of San Mateo Commission on the Status of Women, and special guest, actress and activist, Tamlyn Tomita.
Among the many supporters of Prop 16, Betty Yee and Fiona Ma, both AAPI statewide elected officials spoke during the event. They joined over 500 API groups, community-based organizations, faith groups, elected officials and opinion leaders throughout California.
California State Controller Betty Yee opened the rally stating that, “To ensure we have opportunities for AAPIs, we need to pass Prop 16. Since we have not had affirmative action as the law of California, we have lost billions of dollars in contracting opportunities by AAPI small businesses.” Controller Yee also discussed the importance of voting right away for Prop 16, saying, “by voting for Prop 16, we can say surely that California won with equality on the ballot.”
California State Treasurer Fiona Ma echoed Controller Yee’s sentiments, noting, “We have not seen equity in our job market, in our housing, and in education. Passing Prop 16 is so important for the future of our children, our grandchildren. I urge all of us to vote for Prop 16.”
Passing Prop 16 will reverse a historical wrong, something that was recognized by Assemblymember Rob Bonta, the first Filipino American to serve in the State Assembly.
“Passing Prop 16 will be an opportunity to right a historical wrong, for us to face and fix the problem, to confront systemic and structural injustice and racism.” Assemblymember Bonta continued, “Prop 16 will provide opportunity and fairness, where there is lack of opportunity, lack of fairness.”
Assemblymember Dr. Shirley Weber, who worked with other members of the assembly like Rob Bonta, David Chiu, and others to bring noted the importance of AAPIs in the fight for equality. “All of the caucuses (in the Assembly) realized just how central and important it is, to deal with the issue of affirmative action, equal opportunity, and access. Prop 16 will enable California to join 37 other states in addressing the issues of equity and fairness.”
Actress and activist Tamlyn Tomita wrapped up the rally, speaking to the importance of the passing Prop 16, “This is an issue we are talking about because it affects all AAPIs.
Prop 16 makes us equal at the table, making sure our voices are heard in terms of schooling, in terms of opportunity, in terms of hiring. We need to make sure that gender and race can be considered, not required in hiring practices in our government agencies, to make sure our schools can consider race and gender to make sure it promotes diversity across the table, Prop 16 will provide equal opportunity for all.”
The virtual rally was attended by nearly 450 participants eager to learn how they can create change within the Asian American and Pacific Islander communities. Support from AAPI legislators, educators and community leaders opened meaningful discussion on the need of Prop 16’s passage. With less than 30 days away from Election Day and ballots already reaching the homes of millions of Californians, support from all communities is crucial to ensuring a level playing field for all.
Supporters of Prop 16 represent a broad coalition of AAPI groups, elected leaders and diverse groups, association and community leaders dedicated to equality, equal opportunity and an equitable California.
Watch the virtual rally recording