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APACE e-fundraiser by Apr 1 for APAP Unsung Heroes: George Cheung and Cherry Cayabyab

For their work in ensuring that all communities of color are represented, Asian Pacific Americans for Progress (APAP) proudly recognizes George Cheung and Cherry Cayabyab.

They would like donations to go to APACE.  APACE works for social and economic justice by transforming our democracy through the political empowerment of the broad API community, and by holding ourselves and our leaders accountable to APACE’s values.

APAP UH Donate

APAP 2011 Unsung Heroes: Cherry Cayabyab and George Cheung

This blog post was written by APAP Founder and Board President, Curtis Chin.

Every ten years, upon the release of new US Census data, there's a mad scramble in all fifty states to redraw Congressional and legislative districts. In the state of Washington, the fight was even more intense as the state gained a tenth Congressional seat. As much of the state's population growth was driven by communities of color, which now represented 27% of the state's total population, there was a big push to create the state's first majority people of color district.

Leading this fight was United for Fair Representation, a multi-racial coalition of leaders and organizations serving communities of color across WA state. The coalition formed in 2011 to educate and encourage our communities of interest to be involved in the redistricting process as a means to achieve steps towards fair representation. Our coalition worked tirelessly to educate our communities of color about this important process. The coalition organized 600 supporters to attend hearings, 200 submitted testimonies  in 18 redistricting forums across the state – from Bellingham, Spokane, Yakima, Tacoma and South Seattle – and 800 petitions were submitted advocating for our Unity Maps and the need for fair representation for communities of color.

Two leading voices in these efforts were George Cheung and Cherry Cayabyab who created and led the ad-hoc coalition about this issue. Cayabyab explained some of the issues to the local media:

As we weave around the busses and light rail in a rainstorm, Cayabyab says even a tiny majority matters. She hopes it'll tell minority voters here that their turnout can make a difference.

Cayabyab: "There is opportunity to elect somebody that looks like them, and I think that's exciting. And that gives hope. That gives promise that the issues that we face will be addressed."

Liz Jones: "So you think this will encourage people to get out and vote more?"

Cayabyab: "Oh definitely."

Cayabyab says key issues for this community include affordable housing, economic development and comprehensive immigration reform.

The bi-partisan Washington State Redistricting Commission agreed and on Jan. 1st, they submitted their final plan to the legislature including the state's first majority people of color congressional district, rewarding for the coalition for their hard work.

Soon after, George, the executive director of Win-Win Network which housed the ad-hoc United for Fair Representation coalition, continued to push forward:

The work of our coalition, United for Fair Representation, is far from over. Engaging in the redistricting process is critical but not sufficient to ensure that everyone has fair representation. In the upcoming legislative session, we will be advocating for the passage of the WA State Voting Rights Act. This historic piece of legislation will be an important legal tool for ensuring fair representation for all”, said George Cheung, executive director at the Win Win Network.

Added fellow coalition member, Nate Miles:

Let the record show that in 2011 we stood up – Black, Brown, Asian Pacific Islander, Native Americans, more – and said in one unified voice that we will be represented, our voices will be heard, we will never again be taken for granted and we will fully participate in the electoral process”, said Nate Miles, Fair Representation coalition member. “Now is the best opportunity for people of color to register and turn out to vote. Electoral races in these majority-minority districts are especially where our votes will have an impact.

For their work in ensuring that all communities of color are represented, APAP proudly recognizes George Cheung and Cherry Cayabyab.

They would like donations to go to APACE.  APACE works for social and economic justice by transforming our democracy through the political empowerment of the broad API community, and by holding ourselves and our leaders accountable to APACE’s values.

APAP UH Donate

This post is part of APAP's 2011 Unsung Heroes Project. Each blog post of our Unsung Heroes & Honorable Mentions features a personalized page for donations in our March Madness Fundraising Competition. Donations made on this page will not be tax deductible. The fundraising page that collects the highest total donations by April 1st will receive an additional prize from APAP.