AAPIs with Warren on Jan. 22 released a statement signed by more than 150 Asian American and Pacific Islander leaders endorsing Democratic presidential candidate Elizabeth Warren.
The group is spearheaded by Jeff Yang, editorial commentator and podcast host (“They Call Us Bruce”); Curtis Chin, writer and documentary filmmaker (“Vincent Who?”); and Laura Shin, founder of Korean Americans for Obama and Korean Americans for Hillary. The creatives, activists and academics who signed the statement span different ethnic groups and geographic regions.
The statement follows.
We, the undersigned, are a group of over 150 Asian American and Pacific Islander leaders who have come together to endorse Sen. Elizabeth Warren to be our next president.
We are a diverse group of professionals, creators, innovators, community organizers, advocates, academics, and activists. As Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders, our long roots stretch back to dozens of nations around the world, yet our homes are in states across America — its coasts and its heartland, the north and south and island west.
We love this country and believe in its promise. But we see its flaws and vulnerabilities, the deep-seated ills of inequality, racism, and xenophobia that have existed in this land since before our nation itself, which have been laid bare in this present moment as starkly as any in our history.
We also see the major crises this country faces both abroad and at home, from climate change and rising authoritarianism, to political polarization, unchecked gun violence, economic disparities and corruption, and endemic poverty.
This is why we passionately support Sen. Elizabeth Warren for president: because she recognizes the gravity of the threats we face today to our democracy and security — and the major structural changes that are required to confront these issues. And we hope that you will join us in supporting her campaign.
Our decision to write and sign this letter has been inspired by the example of the 100 Black Womxn for Elizabeth Warren. We stand in firm solidarity with their early and bold public statement endorsing the senator, which we urge you to go read in full, and agree unreservedly with their assessment and assertion that Sen. Warren’s experience, policies, and character — and her support of broad inclusion, her profound empathy and her openness to input and change — are unique among the 2020 candidates.
We have seen in this election cycle the most qualified and exciting group of potential Democratic nominees in our modern era, including history-making AAPI candidates.
But we make this endorsement recognizing that in an era in which the darkest aspects of our nation have thrust themselves out of the shadows and embedded themselves in the White House, it is essential to have an experienced, steady, and unifying hand on the post-Trump rudder; one with a pragmatic and thorough set of blueprints for the kind of bold, transformative solutions that will be needed to repair that which has been broken by the Trump regime — and beyond that, to address the massive, pressing issues that have gone ignored by prior generations.
We believe that Sen. Warren is the candidate who has outlined the most detailed and comprehensive path forward for our nation and shown the most effective and compelling plans to make that path a reality.
Many of the issues on which she’s strongest are ones with critical importance for and direct impact on our community: education, support for families, investment in entrepreneurship, immigration.
We have compiled a separate policy sheet on some of the ways in which Sen. Warren’s plans are of personal and particular relevance to AAPIs here.
But plans aren’t all that make her our preferred candidate. Sen. Warren’s policy stances have been shaped by her own human experience.
She has been a teacher and educator for much of her life, and knows the rigors and value of that role; in particular, her early job working with special needs children have led her to propose a dramatic blueprint for improving the lives and rights of people with disabilities.
She has been a mother — a single working mother, in fact — and is deeply aware of the financial and social struggles that blue-collar and middle-class families face firsthand.
She has seen how a sudden medical crisis can shatter a household’s plans and dreams, from her childhood memories of how her uninsured family was sent reeling by her father’s heart attack. Warren conducted ground-breaking research on medical bankruptcy that directly informs her support of Medicare for All and she has a track record of delivering on her ideas. She envisioned and built the Consumer Finance Protection Bureau — a whole new federal entity — to ensure that average Americans aren’t taken advantage of by large corporations.
And where immigration is concerned, she has a comprehensive plan that includes reinstating and expanding DACA, lowering barriers to naturalization, and not just reversing Trump’s refugee cuts, but committing to increase refugee admissions. She has a personal stake in the issue, as her own immediate family has grown and expanded due to immigration — Sushil Tyagi, husband to Warren’s daughter and father of Warren’s three grandchildren, came to the U.S. from India after college.
It’s impossible for any candidate to individually encompass all the facets of our diverse and vibrant society. Every person’s experience is different, and we shouldn’t assume that our leaders will instantly understand or connect with our own lives just because they’ve had similar stories. But we do know that personnel is policy.
And Sen. Warren’s campaign has over 100 AAPI staff in key positions, from field organizers to its strategic leadership, including longtime advisor Ganesh Sitaraman and campaign manager Roger Lau — marking the first cycle in which a major presidential campaign has hired an Asian American campaign manager. We are particularly encouraged that this inclusion of Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders is part of a much broader commitment to diversity: According to the campaign, about 40% of their full-time employees are people of color, and over 60% are female, non-binary, or gender non-conforming.
There is also, of course, the reality that Sen. Warren herself represents a unique and transformative candidate for the office of the presidency. When elected, she will be the first woman to occupy our highest office in the entire history of the United States. This matters. It’s long overdue.
But what matters even more is that in the senator herself, we see someone with a genuine sense of humility and sincerity, a willingness to engage directly with constituents one on one, a desire to directly connect, emotionally and practically, and find solutions that work across boundaries and expectations.
Openness, connection, a sense of purpose combined with humility — these are what America desperately needs today. This is what we, as Asian American and Pacific Islander leaders in our own communities, aspire to bring into being. And we believe that Elizabeth Warren is the leader who can help make it a reality at the grassroots and at the highest level.
We the undersigned stand with Sen. Warren in this fight, and ask that if you agree, you share this statement — and stand with us.
(The endorsement is also available in Chinese, Korean and Vietnamese.)
List of Endorsers
Geri Sanchez Agilpay (Illinois), small business and economic development advocate
Tanzila Ahmed (California), founder of South Asian American Voting Youth (SAAVY). artist and storyteller #GoodMuslimBadMuslim #MuslimVDayCards
Sasha Neha Ahuja (New York), community organizer and Hillary for America alum
Sefa Aina (California), board chair, founding member of EPIC (Empowering Pacific Islander Communities); former vice chair, Obama’s Commission on Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders
Liz Hsiao Lan Alper (California), TV writer (“Chicago Fire,” “The Rookie”); WGAW board of directors; equity and inclusion advocate
Subini Annamma (California), associate professor of education, author of “The Pedagogy of Pathologization: Dis/abled Girls of Color in the School-Prison Nexus”
Gina Apostol (New York), novelist, author, “Insurrecto”
Frank Aum (D.C.), former senior advisor on North Korea at Pentagon under Obama Administration
K.J. Bagchi (D.C.), co-founder/immediate past board chair, Desis for Progress
Vidhi Bamzai (Mississippi), civil rights attorney, Southern Poverty Law Center
Ginny Barahona (New Jersey), international development and philanthropy, former Obama appointee
Amanda Baran (Virginia), attorney and writer; former senior DHS immigration official and senior advisor to WHIAAPI under Obama
Marie Bigham (Louisiana), co-founder and executive director, ACCEPT (Admissions Community Cultivating Equity & Peace Today)
Iram Parveen Bilal (California), filmmaker, artivist; former chair, Asian American Committee, Writers Guild of America; founder, Qalambaaz, #PakistaniCinema, #womendirectors
Gregory A. Cendana (D.C.), dancer, strategist and entrepreneur
Dr. Stephen Chao (Texas), family physician; community advocate; former president of Chinese American Doctors Association of Houston
Rabia Chaudry (D.C.), attorney and advocate; New York Times bestselling author; executive producer, “The Case Against Adnan Syed”
Karen Chee (New York), comedian and TV writer (“Late Night with Seth Meyers”)
Preeti Chhibber (California), author and podcaster
Curtis Chin (California), writer and documentary filmmaker, “Tested” and “Vincent Who?”
Li-Chen Chin (North Carolina), assistant vice president for intercultural programs and instructor, Program in Education, Duke University
Dennis Chin (New York), racial justice educator, communicator and queer activist
Chang Chiu (Texas), co-founder, Chinese American Progressive Action
Dr. Esther Choo (Oregon), emergency medicine physician; writer; health services researcher; healthcare equity advocate
Tracy Chou (California), software engineer; entrepreneur; diversity advocate; founder and CEO of Block Party; co-founder of Project Include, #MovingForward, and Arena
Olivia Chow (California), activist and organizer
Keith Chow (Maryland), writer, editor, podcaster, and creator of “The Nerds of Color”
Arthur Chu (Ohio), writer, cultural commentator; “Jeopardy” champion
Navneet Chugh (California), attorney; founder, South Asian Bar Association
Nicole Chung (Maryland), author, “All You Can Ever Know”; co-editor of the forthcoming anthology “A Map Is Only One Story”; editor-in-chief, Catapult Magazine; former managing editor, The Toast
Deborah S. Craig (New York), Broadway and TV actor
Selma D’Souza (Illinois), community activist; attorney
Vinh Dang (Pennsylvania), co-founder, Dang-inh Productions
Anil Dash (New York), CEO, Glitch; advocate for ethics and inclusion in tech; pioneering blogger and host of the podcast “Function”
Shilpa Dave (Virginia), professor of media studies, University of Virginia
E.J.R. David (Arkansas/Washington), professor of psychology, University of Alaska-Anchorage; author of “Brown Skin, White Minds: Filipino/American Postcolonial Psychology” and “We have not stopped trembling yet: Letters to my Filipino-Athabascan Family”
Lawrence-Minh Bui Davis (Maryland), curator, editor, writer, scholar; The Asian American Literary Review
Ramona Diaz (Maryland), documentary filmmaker, “Motherland”; “Imelda”
A.C. Dumlao (New York), transgender advocate, activist, and writer
Tuyet Duong (Maryland), former Obama appointee, Founding Committee of Vietnamese Americans for Hillary, and PIVOT
Aditi Dussault (D.C.), Obama Administration appointee
David L. Eng (Pennsylvania), Richard L. Fisher Professor of English, University of Pennsylvania
Caroline Fan (Missouri), community organizer; startup strategist; former endorsements chair, Asian American Action Fund
Jenn Fang (California), founder and editor, Reappropriate (reappropriate.com)
Kip Fulbeck (California), distinguished professor of art, UC Santa Barbara
Shruti Ganguly (New York), filmmaker; appointee, Obama Administration’s ECCO committee of influential media and entertainment executives
Gayatri Gopinath (New York), professor of social and cultural analysis; director of the Center for the Study of Gender and Sexuality, New York University
Abby Govindan (Texas), comedian and writer
Sonia Gupta (Louisiana), attorney; technologist; anti-racism advocate
Jenny Han (New York), New York Times bestselling author, “To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before” and “P.S. I Still Love You”
Pakou Her (Missouri), principal, Tseng Development Group
Jennifer Ho (Colorado), professor; director, Center for Humanities & the Arts, University of Colorado-Boulder
Tonga Hopai (Hawaii), first Tongan to serve as White House intern
Tiffany Hsieh (D.C.), political and community activist
Yvonne Hsu (D.C.), former Obama appointee
Madeline Hsu (Texas), professor of history and Asian American studies, University of Texas at Austin
Vicki Hsueh (Washington), professor of political science; director of Women, Gender, and Sexuality Studies
Betsy Huang (Massachusetts), associate provost; dean of the college; Klein Distinguished Professor, Clark University
Elena Hung (Maryland), disabled rights advocate and mom of disabled kid with complex medical needs; immigrant; lawyer; ally
Hyepin Im (California), president and CEO, Faith and Community Empowerment
Zareen Jaffery (New York), founder, Salaam Reads
Gish Jen (Massachusetts), author of “The Resisters” and other books
Rev. Sandhya Jha (California), author of “Pre-Post-Racial America” and “Transforming Communities”; founder and director, Oakland Peace Center
Anu Joshi (New York), immigrant rights activist
Anil Kalhan (Pennsylvania), professor of law, Drexel University; visiting scholar, Center for the Study of Law and Society, UC Berkeley
Michael Kang (California), Sundance Award-winning filmmaker
Kathy Khang (Illinois), author, “Raise Your Voice” and “More Than Serving Tea”; progressive faith advocate
Jeffrey S. Kim (California), former member, California Commission on Asian American and Pacific Islander Affairs
Jian Zapata Kim (Virginia), former Obama appointee; past vice chair, Democratic Asian Americans of Virginia; co-founder, KAYA: Filipino Americans for Progress (previously Filipinos for Obama)
Ramey Ko (Texas), first Asian American judge in Austin; former Obama appointee
Madhavi Krevat (North Carolina), organizer, Moms Demand Action for Gun Sense in America
Sarah Kuhn (California), author, “Heroine Complex,” “I Love You So Mochi”; comic book writer, “Shadow of the Batgirl”
Manjusha Kulkarni (California), Executive Director, Asian Pacific Policy and Planning Council
Preeti Kulkarni (California), member, Los Angeles County Human Relations Commission
R.O. Kwon (California), nationally bestselling author, “The Incendiaries”
Thanhha Lai (New York), author; winner of National Book Award, Scott O’Dell Award for Historical Fiction, Newbery Honor
Heather Laverty (D.C.), labor activist
C.N. Le (Massachusetts), director, Asian and Asian American Studies, University of Massachusetts Amherst
Jennifer Lee (New York), professor of sociology, Columbia University
Philip Lee (California), publisher and co-founder, Readers to Eaters
Stephen Lee (California), professor, UC Irvine School of Law
Nancy Leong (Colorado), professor of law, University of Denver; author, “Identity Capitalists”
Amazin LeThi (Georgia), athlete, author, LGBTQ activist, athlete ally ambassador
Ricky Leung (North Carolina), community organizer; board member, Durham People’s Alliance
R. Zamora Linmark (Hawaii), author, “Rolling the R’s” and “The Importance of Being Wilde at Heart”
Cezar A.B. Lopez (New York), former Obama appointee
Lori Lopez (Wisconsin), associate professor of communication arts, University of Wisconsin-Madison
J. Kenji Lopez-Alt (California), New York Times bestselling author, “The Food Lab”; NYT columnist; chief culinary consultant for Serious Eats; chef at Wursthall, a modern California beer hall
John Ly (California), lawyer, Liang Ly LLP, @johnk_ly
Victor Manalo (California), dean, Claremont Core, Claremont Lincoln University
Courtney Milan (Colorado), New York Times bestselling author; former SCOTUS clerk turned #metoo agitator; inclusion advocate; #1 Yuzuru Hanyu fan
Kristin Mink (Maryland), teacher; activist; organizer
Mike Mochizuki (D.C.), professor, Elliott School of International Affairs, George Washington University
Erika Moritsugu (D.C.), former Obama appointee
Aparna Mukherjee (California), writer; systems thinker; ex-FUSE Corps fellow; executive advisor, City of Los Angeles
Enormvs Munoz (New York), actor/dancer
Joohee Muromcew (Wyoming), writer and editor; content strategist
Taiyo Na (New York), musician; writer; educator
Kevin Nadal (New York), professor of psychology, John Jay College; author of “Filipino American Psychology”
Raj Nadella (Georgia), Samuel A. Cartledge Associate Professor of New Testament, Columbia Theological Seminary
Meera Nair (New York), author, “Video,” “Maya Saves the Day”; activist
Celeste Ng (Massachusetts), New York Times bestselling author, “Everything I Never Told You” and “Little Fires Everywhere”
Anthony Ocampo (California), associate professor of sociology at Cal Poly Pomona; author of “The Latinos of Asia: How Filipino Americans Break the Rules of Race”
Ellen Oh (Maryland), middle grade and young adult author; co-founder of WeNeedDiverseBooks
Elizabeth R. OuYang (New York), community activist; civil rights lawyer; educator; special assistant to U.S. Commission on Civil Rights Under President Clinton
Ellen K. Pao (California), CEO and co-founder, Project Include; advocate for inclusion and ethics in tech; former CEO, Reddit; award-winning author, “Reset”
Annabel Park (Virginia), filmmaker, “9500 Liberty”
Jacqueline Parker (New Jersey), U.S. Military Academy graduate, U.S. Army veteran, LGBTQIA Christian activist
Anh Phan (Virginia), community organizer
OiYan Poon (Colorado), associate professor of higher education leadership, Colorado State University
Nisha Ramachandran (D.C.), community advocate; co-founder, Desis for Progress
Saira Rao (Colorado), co-founder of Race to Dinner and Haven Media
PJ Raval (Texas), filmmaker, “Call Her Ganda,” “Before You Know It”
Rev. Bruce Reyes-Chow (California), pastor, First Presbyterian Church of Palo Alto; former moderator of Presbyterian Church (USA); author, “Don’t Be an Asshat” and “In Defense of Kindness”
Kiki Rivera (Hawaii), playwright; independent theater artist
David S. Roh (Utah), associate professor of English, University of Utah
Dan Santat (California), New York Times bestselling children’s author; graphic novelist and animator
Rev. Joseph Santos-Lyons (Oregon), Unitarian Universalist minister
Angana Shah (Michigan), economic inclusion and development specialist; attorney
Laura Shin (D.C.), founder of Korean Americans for Obama and Korean Americans for Hillary; past president, Korean American Democratic Committee of Los Angeles
Valerie Soe (California), filmmaker, “Love Boat: Taiwan”
Vega Subramaniam (Maryland), South Asian/LGBTQ activist
Soh Suzuki (Michigan), board member, Japanese American Citizens League, Detroit Chapter; board member, James and Grace Lee Boggs School
Renee Tajima-Peña (California), documentary filmmaker, “Who Killed Vincent Chin?”; “No Más Bebés”
Edward Tang (Alabama), professor and chair, American Studies, University of Alabama
Theresa Thanjan (New York), national co-chair, South Asians for Obama; documentary filmmaker, “Whose Children Are These?”
Bouapha Toommaly (California), former Kerry-Edwards staff; activist; director of finance, Daily Kos
Viet Tran (D.C.), community advocate and LGBTQ activist; former member of Obama White House AAPI Initiative
Monique Truong (New York), bestselling novelist (“The Book of Salt”; “Bitter in the Mouth”; “The Sweetest Fruit”); librettist; attorney; vice president, Authors Guild
Vincent Paolo Villano (New York), Hillary for America alum
Alton Wang (California), community activist
Esmé Weijun Wang (California), New York Times bestselling author, “The Collected Schizophrenias,” “The Border of Paradise”; speaker; teacher
Constance Wu (California), actor, “Hustlers”; “Crazy Rich Asians”; “Fresh Off the Boat”
Susan Wu (California), investor and startup advisor
Jeff Yang (California), author; editorial commentator; podcast host, “They Call Us Bruce”
Jenny Yang (California), comedian and writer
Alvina Yeh (California), executive director, Asian Pacific American Labor Alliance
Miriam Yeung (New York), consultant; former executive director, National Asian Pacific American Women’s Forum
John Yi (California), board member, Korean American Democratic Committee
Nancy Wang Yuen (California), sociologist; author, “Reel Inequality”
Joseph Yun (D.C.), former U.S. ambassador and special representative for North Korea policy