5 Organizations Bringing Asian Americans Together

There are millions of Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders in the United States with familial ties to countries such as Japan, Korea, Pakistan, and Thailand. Community organizations and events give these individuals the opportunity to feel connected to their roots and celebrate their past and present. In no particular order, this list looks at several institutions creating support and fraternity for the A.A.P.I. population.

Coming in at #1, we have the Asian and Pacific Islander American Health Forum. While its headquarters are in Oakland, California, it maintains a policy office in Washington, D.C. As a health justice nonprofit, it works to improve the well-being of those who identify as Asian and Pacific Islander American.

The nonprofit's office in Washington allows it to influence and shape policies that expand access and improve the quality of care for these marginalized communities. It also provides local and regional organizations with the tools, skills, training, and technical assistance needed to be more powerful advocates.

The #2 entry is the Center for Asian American Media. Located in San Francisco, it is a nonprofit with the goal of presenting stories that convey the richness and diversity of A.A.P.I. experiences to a broad audience. It works to achieve this through funding, producing, distributing, and exhibiting works in film, television, and digital media.

The center presents CAAMFest every May, the world's largest showcase for new Asian American film, food, and music programs. Another initiative, the Muslim Youth Voices Project, is meant to amplify young people's creative voices by giving them the tools to tell their stories through video.

Next up, at #3, we have the South Asian American Digital Archive, a nonprofit based in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. It works to document, preserve, and share stories from the South Asian community that exemplify its citizens' unique and diverse experiences. Tides is SAADA's online magazine.

The organization's First Days Project compiles stories of immigrants' initial 48 to 72 hours after arriving in the United States. Beyond Apu, a project developed in response to a documentary by Hari Kondabolu, is meant to catalog individuals' experiences seeing characters that reflect their own identity in the media.

Coming in at #4, we present the Berkeley South Asian Radical History Walking Tour. The project offers regular strolls through the Bay Area city sharing the history of South Asian activism in the region. Its curators are Anirvan Chatterjee and Barnali Ghosh, activists and community-based historians.

In addition to this project, Ghosh and Chatterjee also work with Walk Bike Berkeley, TransForm, the Alliance of South Asians Taking Action, and the Desi Queer Helpline. The tour has received several press mentions by outlets such as NPR and the Daily Californian. Proceeds are distributed to local organizations Bay Area Solidarity Summer and SAALT.

Rounding out our list at #5 is the Seattle Asian American Film Festival. It showcases feature-length and short format movies by and about A.A.P.I. individuals, emphasizing filmmakers from the Pacific Northwest. Past jurors for the festival have included Maggie Lee, Monyee Chau, and Yuji Okumoto.

Each festival includes screenings, panel discussions, and a social get-together and fundraiser, usually featuring a raffle and cocktails. The event is a program of Shunpike, a nonprofit agency that provides independent arts groups in Washington State with services, resources, and opportunities to forge paths to sustainability.