The Asian-American Women's Political Initiative (AAWPI), the only political leadership organization for Asian-American Pacific (AA) women in the country, was founded in 2009 by a group of politically-active Asian-American women in Massachusetts in response to several troubling realities. There was a realization that the needs of Asian-American women in the areas of mental health, women's health, and domestic violence have been unmet and, oftentimes, overlooked by government. Locally and nationally, no formalized network currently exists to mentor, train, advance, and support Asian-American women who are in or interested in politics. And, statistics show that when Asian-American women see government, they rarely see a reflection of themselves. Just 0.4% of state legislative seats across the country are held by Asian-American women. Only one Asian-American woman holds statewide elective office anywhere in the United States.
As Asian-American women, we want better. And, we believe our work to change these realities begins here at home in Massachusetts. As the state's fastest growing racial group - increasing 47% in size over the last decade, Asian-Americans make up almost 6% of the state's population, with higher proportions of Asian-Americans living in cities and towns like Quincy (24%), Lowell (20%), Malden (20%), Lexington (20%), Brookline (16%), Cambridge (16%), Burlington (13%) and Boston (9%), among others. Over 160,000 Asian-American women call Massachusetts home, a figure that is on track to double within ten years from now.
Our mission and our goals, too, reflect a commitment to building not only a strong community of politically-engaged Asian-American women but a commitment to empowering the larger Asian-American community and to building and strengthening bridges across communities. We have a deep understanding that we, as Asian-American women, are part of a wider community of people who want and believe in a more inclusive and democratic government. Ultimately, the AAWPI's vision is a movement to empower Asian-American women in politics that involves and strengthens us all.