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7 Ways to Support San Diego’s Asian American and Pacific Islander Community

The local organizations making a difference you should know about

By Marie Tutko and Noah Harrel

San Diego’s Asian American and Pacific Islander communities need our support now more than ever. In addition to your weekly visits to AAPI-owned businesses and restaurants, consider supporting these seven local organizations that are making a difference in San Diego. Volunteering, making a donation, or attending their events are a few easy ways to show your support!

San Diego Asian Pacific Islander Coalition

This coalition is sponsored by the Pacific Arts Movement, a local nonprofit that produces the annual San Diego Asian Film Festival, and they recently partnered with County Supervisors Nathan Fletcher and Nora Vargas to combat anti-Asian discrimination. The group advocates for representation, and recently compiled a list of resources for the AAPI community, as well as training resources for bystander intervention, fundraisers, petitions, and educational materials. Monetary donations go toward the program’s operations, or even sponsoring a film of your choosing.

Asian Business Association of San Diego

The Asian Business Association represents the more than 30,000 businesses owned by Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders in San Diego County, and offers a number of tools and resources for them, including workshops, technical assistance, business mentorship, and access to capital. Currently, they are sharing ways for you to get involved by supporting the national movement Stop AAPI Hate and the multi-platform texting donation campaign to support AAPI-owned small businesses.

AAPI orgs open gym shirt

A shirt in The Future is Color line sold through Open Gym

Open Gym

Chef Phillip Esteban was named our critic’s choice for Best Chef last year, and he is known for his philanthropy work in addition to his upcoming restaurant in Point Loma, White Rice. Esteban’s nonprofit, Open Gym, developed a line of T-shirts and sweatshirts that support organizations that help the AAPI community. The Future is Color line was created by Open Gym team member and designer Erwin Hines. Open Gym says the shirts are a platform for stories and the goal of the featured artwork is “to reveal the nuanced and universally impactful stories of BIPOC people.” A percentage of all sales from the tees and sweatshirts goes back to organizations doing the groundwork to make a difference.

Asian Pacific American Coalition

This nonpartisan organization advocates for representation on school boards and educational committees. Their team is entirely made up of volunteers who work to increase voter registration among AAPI communities, and all financial donations go toward this cause. Tune in to catch their virtual events throughout Asian Pacific Islander Heritage Month in May, or one of their recurring virtual town hall meetings.

San Diego Chinese Women’s Association

Building community is at the heart of the San Diego Chinese Women’s Association, which was originally founded in 1981 as the San Diego Chinese Women’s Club. In addition to their financial support for local organizations, they offer scholarships for students and host special events each month. On April 10, the association is hosting a Dim Sum Takeout fundraiser at Golden Island Restaurant. For those who do not want to attend but still want to support, there is an option to make a donation in lieu of purchasing a ticket.

Asian Pacific Student Alliance at SDSU

This student-run alliance at San Diego State University unifies students by educating its members on Asian American and Pacific Islander cultures, practices, and traditions. Their goal is to use their platform and voice to organize events and discussions that help elicit change. Internally, they host mentor nights, study sessions, and other resourceful tools for students. You can support their efforts by making a monetary donation during one of their many fundraisers or shop their online store of T-shirts and accessories.

Asian Pacific American Labor Alliance

On a national level, this organization is dedicated to educating the AAPI community on politics, voter registration, and workers’ rights, while also advocating for the civil and human rights of immigrants and all people of color. The organization gathered together an extensive list of anti-Asian-violence resources. The San Diego chapter is continuing that work and participates in community prayer vigils, hosts virtual workshops, and offers online seminars. Donations help support the young leaders council and John Delloro mentorship program.

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