Census 2020 & Redistricting:

The API Council has always been dedicated to ensuring all our community voices are counted, which is why the Council knew it had to be at the forefront of 2020 Census outreach efforts. At the height of the pandemic, API Council members made the decision to continue its grassroots direct outreach to ensure that members of the API community had information about the Census in the languages they spoke. Working with the Office of Civic Engagement and Immigrant Affairs, API Council put together a robust program to ensure harder-to-reach API residents were counted by focusing efforts in high-density regions like Chinatown, Civic Center and the Tenderloin, and the Excelsior district. The efforts culminated in a census caravan that worked to deliver outreach materials and goodie bags with gift cards to Chinatown restaurants and retailers. 

Building off that outreach in 2021, API Council participated in the redistricting process for the first time since our formation. Members of the Council realized that there was no other agency or organization advocating redistricting in San Francisco with a focus on API needs. This created great risk for the redistricting process to break up API population centers in the City, effectively dampening the collective voice of our API  communities. 

The Council worked to collaborate across the diverse API communities, along with other communities of color, to create a map that preserved and revitalized the cultural districts and protected communities of interest. API Council identified key priorities for the redistricting process, including keeping the Tenderloin and SOMA together, keeping API cultural districts whole with Japantown staying in District 5 with the Fillmore community, and ensuring that District 3’s Chinatown residents did not lose voting strength. This process created the first API Unity Map proposal which was presented to the San Francisco redistricting task force. The result was a  joint effort with other communities of color to advocate for a redistricting map that would protect and center community voices and pathways in political power.