June 06, 2016

San Francisco, CA – The Asian American Journalists Association (AAJA) and Asian and Pacific Islander American Vote (APIAVote) announced today a partnership with over thirty professional and community organizations to host a Town Hall event with the invited 2016 presidential candidates, taking place during the 2016 AAJA National Convention August 10 – 13 at Caesars Palace in Las Vegas.

This gathering will be the largest of its kind, with Asian American, Native Hawaiian and Pacific Islander professionals and community leaders from across the nation converging in Las Vegas this summer, creating an epicenter of media, politics and diversity.

APIAVote is a national nonpartisan organization that works with community partners to mobilize Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders in electoral and civic participation. The group has extended invitations to the presidential campaigns and the political parties to participate in this Town Hall.

“We are excited to host the candidates and see how they will address the issues that are important to the Asian American, Native Hawaiian and Pacific Islander (AANHPI) community,” said AAJA Executive Director Kathy Chow.

For nearly two decades, Asian Americans have been the most rapidly growing demographic group in the U.S. and the increasing political presence of Asian Americans is starting to reflect this growth, according to APIAVote. There is an average increase of 620,000 AAPI voters every presidential election cycle in the last three cycles. In a spring 2016 Asian American voter survey report titled “Inclusion, Not Exclusion,” APIAVote and its partners also found that 51% of Asian American voters are more enthusiastic for this year’s elections than the past election.

“Over 60% of Asian American voters believe that politics is ‘too complicated’ to understand and over half believe politicians don’t care about what they think,” said APIAVote Executive Director Christine Chen, reflecting on the survey. “This sense of disengagement among our electorate is precisely why we are hosting this Town Hall, and why such a forum is critical step for our communities to be included into the political process.”

More than 3,000 journalists, community leaders, executives, professionals, small business owners and student organizers are expected to attend the Town Hall. Attendees can also participate in community plenaries, which will focus on topical issues affecting the Asian American, Native Hawaiian and Pacific Islander communities. These include discussions around best practices on increasing voter turnout, AANHPI issue priorities, the intersection of government and tech, economic and health disparities and diversity in politics.

To learn more about the 2016 AAJA National Convention, the Town Hall and partnering and supporting organizations, visit www.aaja.org/townhall-2016 or http://www.apiavote.org/townhall.

Partnering Organizations:

Asian/Pacific Islander American Chamber of Commerce and Entrepreneurship


Asian & Pacific Islander American Health Forum

Leaders Forum

Asian Americans Advancing Justice

Asian Pacific American Institute for Congressional Studies

Asian Pacific American Labor Alliance

Asian Pacific Islander American Public Affairs Association 

Asian Real Estate Association of America

Association of Asian Pacific Community Health Organizations

Council of Native Hawaiian Advancement

Empowering Pacific Islander Communities

International Leadership Foundation

Japanese American Citizens League

National Asian Pacific American Bar Association

National Association of Asian American Professionals

National Council of Asian Pacific Americans

National Korean American Service & Education Consortium

OCA – Asian Pacific American Advocates

Southeast Asia Resource Action Center       

Supporting Organizations:

Midwest Asian American Student Union

National Asian Pacific American Women’s Forum

National Coalition for Asian Pacific American Community Development

National Queer Asian Pacific Islander Alliance


The Asian American Journalists Association is a nonprofit professional and educational organization with more than 1,700 members across the United States and in Asia. Founded in 1981, AAJA has been at the forefront of change in the journalism industry. AAJA’s mission is to encourage Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders (AAPIs) to enter the ranks of journalism, to work for fair and accurate coverage of AAPIs, and to increase the number of AAPI journalists and news managers in the industry. AAJA is an alliance partner in UNITY: Journalists for Diversity, along with the Native American Journalists Association and the National Lesbian & Gay Journalists Association.

Asian and Pacific Islander American Vote (APIAVote) is a national nonpartisan organization that works with community partners in 25 states to mobilize Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders (AAPI) in electoral and civic participation. APIAVote works to expand the AAPI electorate through voter registration, education, and get-out-the-vote-field activities. We also conduct research and polling, a voter protection program, leadership trainings, and youth engagement in an effort to amplify AAPI voices. We envision a world that is inclusive, fair, and collaborative—where AAPI communities are self-determined, empowered, and engaged.

Kathy Chow, Executive Director, AAJA
415-346-2051 ext. 106

Alton Wang, Communications and Development Associate, APIAVote