The NGEC Journey
The catalyst for the National Gender & Equity Campaign was a publication of the Ford Foundation written by Lora Jo Foo entitled, "Asian American Women: Issues, Concerns and Responsive Human and Civil Rights Advocacy", (2002).
The ensuing national book tour became a dialogue with AAPI leaders who were inspired to build community infrastructure and organizational capacity to address the issues outlined in the book confronting AAPI women and their communities from across the country. This process of community engagement surfaced a range of policy issues that matter most to AAPI women including:
- high rates of poverty;
- immigration reform;
- lack of access to health care;
- family violence;
- limits on reproductive freedom; and
- human trafficking.
It also revealed that AAPI communities across the country do not have the internal capacity or external support structures to adequately address these issues.
OVER THE PAST DECADE
AAPIP had engaged Asian American and Pacific Islander (AAPI) women and men in dialogues across the country to listen and learn about the community's most pressing issues and infrastructure needs. They called for resources and tools to help them effectively activate AAPI voices in the social justice movement. In response, AAPIP created the NGEC.
In the early stages of NGEC's inception, we heard from Asian American community organizations that they wanted to become more deliberate and effective in social justice work to activate their communities, but had few resources or models to help them shift and transform.
These groups pointed out that many of their organizations possessed a racial and/or class lens on their social justice work and recognized a need to intentionally focus on gender and/or intersectionality to identify root causes of inequity. Additionally, many groups expressed a strong desire to work collaboratively with others to find strategic ways to achieve collective power.
As a result, Asians Americans/Pacific Islanders in Philanthropy launched the National Gender & Equity Campaign (NGEC), as a response to the call for action by and for Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders to strengthen their communities' social justice movement infrastructure to achieve a more just and equitable society.
The NGEC's current phase of work is with the 12 AAPI organizations in our Organizational Fellowship Program (OFP), NGEC's 3-year capacity building program to build and strengthen social justice capacity and leadership of grassroots organizations. Our journey thus far has critically shaped this exciting phase being piloted in California and Minnesota.
A timeline of NGEC's Milestones
• Launched NGEC in Minnesota with our local philanthropic partners. Engaged with local AAPI organizational leaders to explore social justice and resource needs that led to the Minnesota Community Engagement Process.
• Launched Minnesota Community Engagement Process and invested $250,000 in financial support, technical assistance, and peer-learning opportunities to 22 Minnesota AAPI organizations. MN AAPI organizations assessed their past, present and future role for social change work and fostered new relationships with each other. Using community engagement, the NGEC increased our understanding of the community's infrastructure and readiness to build social justice capacity in the region.
• Partnered with five AAPI national organizations to develop BRIDGE learning toolkit, which is being used and tested through the Organizational Fellowship Program;
• Developed our Social Justice Capacity Building framework, Anatomy of a Social Justice Organization, and organizational assessment tool, all of which articulate our social justice capacity focus and how to measure change;
• Designed Organizational Fellowship Program to provide peer-based learning and culturally relevant skills-building training in four core areas: community organizing, advocacy, media and communications and leadership development;
• Invested $2.7 million in multi-year core operating support for 12 selected AAPI organizations for the OFP. The OFP cohort represents our shared commitment to build a stronger and politically conscious base of those most impacted by inequity;
Minnesota: Association for the Advancement of Hmong Women in Minnesota, Centre for Asian Pacific Islanders, Center for Hmong Arts & Talent, Lao Assistance Center of Minnesota, Mu Performing Arts, and Shades of Yellow.
California: Chinese for Affirmative Action, Chinese Progressive Association, Khmer Girls in Action, Korean Resource Center, KIWA-Koreatown Immigrant Workers Alliance, and South Asian Network
2009 / PRESENT:
• Launched year one of the OFP with an AAPIP kick-off reception and held a national orientation convening with 50 community leaders represeting all 12 fellowship organizations;
• Worked with each OFP fellow organization to assess their starting place to build social justice capacity using our BRIDGE Organizational Assessment Tool;
• Launched an online learning community and social network via Ning to facilitate peer-to-peer sharing nationally;
2nd edition of Asian American Women: Issues, Concerns and Responsive Human and Civil Rights Advocacy by Lora Jo Foo, Published by iUniverse
Description: "An expose of the challenges, hardships and survival of Asian American women and their fighting spirit to end the injustices inflicted upon them.
Asian American Women: Issues , Concerns , and Responsive Human and Civil Rights Advocacy reveals the struggles of Asian American women at the bottom of the socio-economic ladder where hunger, illness, homelessness, sweatshop labor and even involuntary servitude are everyday realities. The health and lives of Asian American women of all socio-economic classes are endangered due to prevalent, but inaccurate stereotypes which hide the appalling level of human and civil rights violations against them. The book captures their suffering and also the fighting spirit of Asian American women who have waged social and economic justice campaigns and founded organizations to right the wrongs against them.
Several of the chapters of this second edition were updated by women activists and advocates. They have included new studies and data collected in the last five years since the first edition and also highlight new grassroots efforts and the growth of Asian American women's organizations. The book is a call to action to Asian Americans, policy makers, civil rights organizations and the philanthropic community to support Asian American women in their struggles to advance their social justice agenda."