3rd Civic Leadership Forum 2021 – Your Vote is Your Voice

On Tuesday, July 20th, Silicon Valley Innovation Channel – Ding Ding TV in cooperation with Civic Leadership USA and 8by8 held 3rd Civic Leadership Forum 2021 – Your Vote is Your Voice. United National Asian Americans, Asians Are Visible, and Silicon Valley Insider were partners on the event.

What are the barriers to AAPI unity? What are the ways to make AAPI votes more effective? How can we increase political participation and representation in the Asian American community? How can we make StopAsianHate movement sustainable for the years to come? These were some of the questions asked of the participants.

Two previous forums in 2021 included one in March titled “Anti-Asian Hate Crimes, What Can We Do Together” and one in April titled “How to Talk So Teens Will Listen.” 3rd Civic Leadership Forum 2021 – Your Vote is Your Voice consisted of two panels – How to Let Your Voice Be Heard and Making Every AAPI Vote Count.

Bing Wei moderated the first panel How to Let Your Voice Be Heard. Participants in the discussion included Fiona Ma (California State Treasurer), Mike Honda (former Congressmember), Greg Tanaka (Palo Alto Councilmember and Founder of 8by8), and Tyler Ratcliffe (Co-Founder, 8by8).

Panel members discussed different methods of engaging the members of the AAPI community to register to vote and participate in the election process. Fiona Ma and Greg Tanaka shared their experiences in running political campaigns and how they engaged the community. Another important point was the language access – to have information readily available in languages other than English. On increasing the AAPI representation, the panelists suggested participating in local commissions and boards and interning or volunteering in political campaigns. All the participants stressed the importance of starting a dialogue with other communities and creating coalitions.

Mike Honda shared a powerful message with the participants: “You don’t have to be white to be heard. You don’t have to be loud to be heard. You don’t have to speak perfect English to be heard.”

Keith Koo (entrepreneur, angel investor, radio, and podcast host) moderated the second panel Making Every AAPI Vote Count. Participants in the discussion included Sato Bon (Founder, AsiansAreVisible), Anthony Ng (Executive Director, Civic Leadership USA), and Joel Wang (President, National Asian Americans United).

The panelists spoke about the need to use positive language to change the perception of the AAPI community. Joel Wong talked about the ways to make AAPI votes more effective. These include the block vote concept, learning from other communities, and finding common goals to unite around (like education, immigration, and health care). Likewise, and the same as during the first panel, all participants agreed the way forward is to engage and create dialogues with other communities.

In his keynote speech, Mr. Sandy Chau (Founder and Chairman of Civic Leadership USA) stressed the importance of three issues: “You have to register. You have to be educated. And you have to participate. Also, to unite, we Asian Americans need to have a common cause and value.”

Ding Ding TV and Civic Leadership USA created Civic Leadership Forum in 2016 to provide a platform for the next generation of the AAPI community and empower them to participate in civic engagement and leadership. Likewise, the forums aim to create a national network of AAPI civic-minded organizations and have them and their leaders work in unity. India Currents became a co-organizer in 2017. Four forums are held each year. So far, over 2000 elected officials, community leaders, students, and parents have participated in the events. The forum’s content reached over 200.000 people in Silicon Valley Bay Area and the United States.

Silicon Valley Innovation Chanel – Ding Ding TV invites you to join the Asian Americans Network on Clubhouse each Tuesday and participate in the conversation.


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