The seeds that you helped sow through 80-20 are flowering.
Politicians, nationally and in cities, counties and states with a large APA population, have gotten the message. The message is this: APAs have demonstrated the ability to organize a bloc vote, therefore we had better given them what is due. They reason: If APAs can organize a national bloc vote in 2000, after just a two-year effort, then APAs will know how to organize a bloc vote locally, sooner than later. They are now showing us respect -- not as much as we deserve, but the rest will come.
Nationally, it started with President Bush. His appointments
of APAs were significant and in record numbers. He is not
asking us for inputs regarding his appointments yet, but that will come.
State-wide, recent development pushed the envelope of our political
clout. Modeled after the success of the National 80-20, our New Jersey
chapter did an endorsement meeting to choose a gubernatorial candidate.
Just like the National, its has 33 endorsement-delegates, composed of equal
numbers of Democrats, Republicans and Independents.
The gubernatorial candidates from both major parties attended the meeting. According to Dr. Steven Ko, Chair of 80-20NJ, "Such a meeting with Asian Americans has never happened before in New Jersey." It probably has not happened in other states either, not even California.
Each gubernatorial candidate made a pitch to be endorsed, gave promises and answered questions for one hour. Mayor James McGreevey won the endorsement. Who will win the election is not important. APAs in NJ will win enhanced attention and respect, provided that 80-20NJ delivers in votes &/or $$$ &/or volunteers.
At the city level, 80-20's Los Angeles chapter endorsed a candidate for LA mayoral, after an endorsement meeting that both top candidates attended. The LA chapter endorsed James Hahn, who won.
After the election, Hahn appointed 9 deputy mayors, three of whom were Asian Americans. Again, Hahn didn't seek input from 80-20LA regarding his appointments. However, as was said before, in time that will come.
Soon the politicians will realize that seeking our input creates a win-win. Appointing APAs who don't identify with our community at heart and who have never gone to bat for our community will not win votes for the politician who make such appointments. 80-20 will recommend those who actually identify with us. Just watch, it's only a matter of time.
Unity is power. Events have demonstrated it.
The mainstream media is agreeing with us. Hardly a month goes by, without a big mainstream media mentioning 80-20. In the last few months, it was Newsweek, LA Times, NY Times, Boston Globe, etc. This month, it was Business Week Magazine. An article entitled "Pols Are Salivating Over Asian Americans" was published in its Sept. 10, 2001 issue, pp 42-43. In the contents page, the same article was referred to as "A Minority's Newfound Clout -- Courting As. Am. Votes."
You are a vital part of 80-20. Together we are making history.
Visit www.80-20initiative.net. We have a user friendly "Job Search Database" page for you. It is produced in association with with IMDiversity.com's Asian-American Village Online.
80-20 is a national nonpartisan Political Action Committee dedicated to winning equal opportunity and justice for all Asian Pacific Americans through a swing bloc-vote, ideally directing 80% of our community's votes and money to the presidential candidate endorsed by the 80-20 who better represents the interest of all APAs. Hence, the name "80-20" was created. For more details, visit http://www.80-20initiative.net.