Language justice is essential in our efforts to fight for full equality and political power. It is not supported adequately by the status quo and eventually we would like to build an infrastructure than can pay translators (written and in-person) for their valuable work. We think that if properly implemented, language justice can be the “secret sauce” to win many progressive agenda campaigns, particularly in our predominantly working-class immigrant communities. Most Asian and Pacific Islander communities are over close to 60% immigrant, and for many, English is not their first language, so this is really an essential component of the grassroots work if we are to empower our peoples!
If you have any API language skills or know people that you can refer to this important effort, send them to our sign-up form here:
A conversation with the victorious Kenneth Mejia campaign and Kelsey Iino! Video recording is available on the PANA YouTube Channel!
Two Asian American progressive friends of PANA won big in Los Angeles. Both campaigns received more votes than either Karen Bass or Rick Caruso! How did they do it? Watch the replay HERE: https://youtu.be/y9nrZIODbgo
Furthermore, consider the significance of the Mejia Campaign, which ran on advocating “transparency and accountability in city government,” with exposure of critical city budget spending disparities as shown across the city on bold billboards such as this one, highlighting top concerns of Gen-Z:
More significantly than the tactic of a billboard, or rather the context for them, was the Mejia campaign’s empowerment of Gen-Z into the campaign, allowing them to take ownership of it and giving it the capacity to run a grassroots effort that swept the vote in every single Los Angeles Council District despite being 2nd to last in campaign fundraising. Nationally, the Gen-Z vote was a difference maker in the midterms, and it was nowhere better exemplified than by the Mejia campaign:
While both campaigns were running to represent the city and community districts at large, neither candidate hid from who there were as Asian Americans and stood proudly with their respective communities and culture not just during the campaign but have done so all their lives.
The Mejia campaign included language justice work in translating much of their campaign material and Kelsey has a long history with deep ties in the Japanese American community.
Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders as a whole represent the fastest growing demographic in the U.S. and have been an integral part of the Los Angeles social fabric for more than 170 years. Increasingly, our voters are playing critical roles in many important elections. As the majority of our interests align with other communities fighting for full equality and justice, we will be asserting our voice in the new coalition coming into being that chooses the path in service of the people and not the self-serving machinery of the Democratic and Republican Party establishments which has been prioritizing the interests of corporate greed.
Kenneth Mejia and Kelsey Iino will help lead this trend in Los Angeles. PANA is proud of both of them and wish them full success in their new elected positions!