The Asian Pacific Islander American Public Affairs Association (APAPA) hosted the 18th Annual California Voters & Candidates Forum on the campus of California State University, Sacramento on Saturday, September 28th. This year’s theme was “Our Voice Matters” which indicates that collectively our voices are more powerful together.
Elk Grove Mayor Steve Ly delivered the opening remarks. Above all, Mayor Ly expressed gratitude for what APAPA has done for him. “Ladies and gentleman I am so privileged to stand before you as a recipient of an APAPA scholarship. Honestly, I am the poster child of APAPA. Had it not been for CC (Yin), had it not been for the community, I would not have been given the dream of going into politics.”
The keynote speaker was actor Tzi Ma whose roles includes playing the father in the movie “The Farewell” and as friend of Jackie Chan’s in “Rush Hour” movies.
Congresswoman Doris Matsui received the Public Service Award. Also, Senator Ling Ling Chang and Assemblymember David Chiu received the 2019 Legislator of the Year Award.
Most importantly, the panel discussions included: “U.S. Census Bureau,” “Women in Politics,” and candidates who are running to fill the open seat for Sacramento City Council District 8. Elk Grove Unified School District Board Member Bobbie Singh-Allen participated in the “Women in Politics” panel.
The special panel guests included Mayor Lily Mei from the City of Fremont, Zima Creason with the San Juan Unified School District Board, Bobbie Singh-Allen with the Elk Grove Unified School District Board, Porsche Middleton with the Citrus Heights City Council, and Senator Ling Ling Chang who received the Legislator of the Year Award. Senator Chang represents California’s 29th Senate District. Important to note, she is the only Asian Pacific Islander woman to serve in the California State Legislature. Mei, Creason, Singh-Allen, Middleton, and Chang participated in the “Women in Politics” panel. They were specially chosen for their contributions to the community.
Consequently, Bobbie Singh-Allen delivered one of the more powerful statements of the day. “Women should not underestimate their self worth and qualification. If they are passionate , they should run for public office. They should demand a seat at the table otherwise they will be on the menu.”
Afterwards, when we spoke to Bobbie Singh-Allen she mentioned that she was asked who inspired her. “I said it was my mother. As an immigrant she worked hard for my brother and I. She also always helped other Indians who immigrated to the US by helping them find jobs and offer our house as a place to stay and eat. That often meant my brother and I had to share a room so that others had a room to themselves.”
President of APAPA Jacqui Nguyen emphasized that she was proud of the volunteers who worked tirelessly to organize this annual event for the community. “I cannot thank those volunteers enough,” said Nguyen.
Nguyen also expressed the importance of APAPA’s annual California Voters & Candidates Forum. “The Voters Education and Candidates Forum is one of APAPA’s annual signature events where we partner with more than 30 diverse community organizations. Our mission is to offer a voice for our API and ethnic communities through civic engagement. We adamantly feel that united, our voice matters which happens to be the theme of our forum this year.”
It is clear that this year’s APAPA California Voters & Candidates Forum was a success. By bringing together leaders in our community and exploring the importance of issues such as the “U.S Census Bureau” and “Women in Politics” the organization helped to build new catalysts for change in our society. Congratulations to APAPA for executing a fabulous and inspiring event!
Guest Speakers: (*partial list)
- CC Yin, APAPA Founder & Chairman
- Senator Ling Ling Chang
- Assemblymember David Chiu
- Mayor Steve Ly, City of Elk Grove
- Mayor Lily Mei, City of Fremont
- Councilwoman Porsche Middleton, City of Citrus Heights
- Bobbie Singh-Allen, Elk Grove Unified School District, Board Member
- Zima Creason, San Juan Unified School District, Board Member
- Mai Vang, candidate for Sacramento City Council District 8
- Pastor Les Simmons, candidate for Sacramento City Council District 8
- Chris Baker, candidate for Sacramento City Council District 8
- Ronald Bell, candidate for Sacramento City Council District 8