Each month, Thurston Community Media (TCMedia)’s Mission Nonprofit connects with local organizations and agencies that are making positive impacts in our communities. This month, Mission Nonprofit host Robert Kam sat down with Lin Crowley, Asian Pacific Islander Coalition-SPS co-chair, to discuss their important work within the community.
The Asian Pacific Islander Coalition-SPS (APIC-SPS) is a chapter of the Asian Pacific Islanders Coalition of Washington (APIC-WA), whose mission is to be “a statewide network of community organizations dedicated to racial and economic justice for all Asians and Pacific Islanders in solidarity with Black, Brown, and Indigenous communities.” There are seven chapters throughout Washington State.
The Coalition was created after the 1996 Welfare Reform Act, which reduced eligibility for noncitizens to access publish assistance programs. According to their mission, “After recognizing the need for a collective voice advocating for the rights and equity of foreign-born Asian and Pacific Islanders (API), APIC began lobbying for the Washington State legislature to address the gap created by federal legislation.”
The South Puget Sound chapter was started in 2003. Since then, they have helped many API residents in the area through their programs. They also support other organizations that are created by members of the API community that align with the Coalition’s mission.
Like many nonprofits, COVID-19 changed some of their focus, due to the additional burdens on the community they serve. APIC-SPS Is one of the partners that supports the WA COVID-19 Immigrant Relief Fund. “We are working with the pandemic-related services such as, you know, vaccination assistance, and actually helping gather different resources into our community by offering emergency relief aids,” explains Crowley. “We also have organized several mask drives, hand sanitizers – you name it, if the community feels like they cannot do something by themselves, we try to help make those things happen.”
Ongoing important work the APIC-SPS does is lobbing for API community members with the Washington State Legislature. They lobby on important issues like language support and funding to API legislative issues. Due to COVID-19, they also focused on supporting bills that offered immigrant relief, like the WA COVID-19 Immigrant Relief Fund, especially for noncitizens. “We are going to continue to offer those kinds of support to the community, especially for those people who are not included by the federal relief fund, because as you know those only cover the citizens,” Crowley explains. “So some of those people who are in our community, who may be permanent residents but don’t have citizenships yet, or people who have a work visa or who are DACAs, things like that, those folks still need help…so this bill the State has passed will allow us to help.”
They are also currently working with the Department of Health to get education materials in different languages out to other organizations for dispersal. “Those are the few things I can share with you right now, but we do a lot more than those,” she laughs. “Last year we actually did some citizenship assistance but also census outreach.” There census outreach helped us be one of the highest response rates for API community members in the state.
Currently the Coalition is in the planning stages of creating a new center, which they hope to have next year. “The 501(c)3 bylaws and all of the requirements need to be met in order for the center to be created,” Crowley explains, “so we are working currently with a lot of different representatives from the different organizations. Once everybody can come to a consensus about what kinds of services we will be offering through the new center, then we will try to do even more than what we are currently doing. It’s something we are really looking forward to.”
Location of the new center has not been decided, but they are looking at a couple locations in Thurston County. They will be doing some fundraising for the new center as well. They welcome anyone who would like to help with this project to contact them about volunteering.
For more information, watch the full video and visit the Asian Pacific Islander Coalition-SPS website.
You can watch Mission Nonprofit on channel 77 on Sundays at 4:30 p.m., Tuesdays at 7 p.m., Thursdays at 7:30 p.m., and Saturdays at 6:30 p.m. You can also watch on TCMedia.org, Video On-Demand or our Roku channel. To learn more about what TCMedia does, visit the Thuston Community Media YouTube channel or the TC Media website and follow them on Facebook and Twitter.