The Asian American Women's Political Initiative (AAWPI) is the only political leadership organization of Asian American women in the country.
We work to ensure that Asian American women and the Asian American community have a voice in their government. As a part of our work, the AAWPI Fund was separately established to develop a first-of-its-kind legislative training, internship and mentoring program for Asian American women college students and recent graduates.
In 2009, AAWPI was founded 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. Nationally, four Asian-American women serve in the U.S. Congress, one in statewide elective office; and just 37 of the total 8,000 seats in state legislatures across the country are held by Asian-American women.
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, AAWPI’s vision is a movement to empower Asian-American women in politics that involves and strengthens us all.