Victory over Proposed Budget Cuts: Engaging Chinese American Voters and Grassroots Leaders in San Francisco

From Mobilize the Immigrant Vote!

Jump to: navigation, search
February 7th, 2010 | Trackback | English, articles | 2 Comments »

Chinese Progressive Association

The Stage
The Chinese population comprises almost 25% of the entire population of the city of San Francisco with Asians at almost 40% of the city’s population. There are prominent Chinese American elected officials, but that does not mean that there has been sufficient changes in the daily lives of low-income Chinese families and other low-income communities of color and immigrant families.
Founded in 1972, the Chinese Progressive Association educates, organizes and empowers the low-income and working class immigrant Chinese community in San Francisco to build collective power with other oppressed communities to demand better living and working conditions and justice for all people.

The 2009 Victory: Continuing the Work of 2008

In 2009, the Chinese Progressive Association united with organizations across the city to form the Budget Justice Coalition to stave off cuts to vital services and programs in the San Francisco City Budget; on a statewide level CPA organized successfully defending resources for the Healthy Families program which provides health care to low-income children. Organizations like CPA successfully brought the working class voter and family perspective to the debates on the municipal budget. “Because we had done the deeper political education with our members and developed a multi-issue platform, it was easy for our leaders to lead with a message that the most vulnerable need to be protected, as opposed to advocating to protect funding to their communities at the expense of other marginalized communities,” shares Alex T. Tom, Executive Director of CPA. “Many of our members had voted in the November 2008 elections or had family members who had, and they wanted to hold elected officials accountable post-elections. The 2008 Presidential Elections brought new people to the process, but it was the hard work in 2009 that developed them. Our platform was critical to ensure that these developing leaders were fighting for a broader social justice agenda.”

Profile of a Grassroots Leader: Tiffany Ng

Tiffany Ng, a youth organizer and Youth MOJO member, was born and raised in San Francisco’s working-class community. Her parents emigrated from Hong Kong and Chaozhou, China. Along with other Chinese Progressive Association youth members, she is currently working on a campaign pushing for single payer healthcare. She lives in Southeast San Francisco and is a senior at Washington High School. Tiffany was active in CPA’s electoral work in 2008 and the Save Healthy Families Campaign in 2009.

Best Practices

  • Developing voters and leaders post-elections: in 2009, CPA decided that they wanted to focus on a smaller set of grassroots leaders, but go deeper in terms of political education and leadership development. They worked with the leaders to discuss what they would fund in the budget if they were President, Governor or Mayor. When the time came, the investment paid off, and these leaders were able to share a united and nuanced message in the budget debate.
  • Multi-issue platform and “continuous campaigns:” rather than focus on one or two lead issues, CPA decided to develop a platform of principles that could link multiple issues such as the War with budget and tax reform. CPA has identified the continuous “Fight for Our Future” Campaign, or F3, to be a common thread throughout all of their work.
  • Cross-generational strategies: one of CPA’s recent achievements has been to develop a separate youth membership structure. In the past, youth and adult membership were combined and it sometimes felt that youth were the “foot soldiers” for the adults. Now, CPA has distinct youth and adult leadership bodies who mutually support each other, but also have autonomy and independence.

What’s Ahead

In 2010, Chinese Progressive Association will continue its Fight for Our Future (F3) campaign and lead a voter engagement campaign in San Francisco. 2010 will build on the strong foundation of organizational development and leadership development achieved in 2009.
For more information about the Chinese Progressive Association, contact Alex T. Tom at [email protected] or 415-391-6986 x 310.

2 Responses to “Victory over Proposed Budget Cuts: Engaging Chinese American Voters and Grassroots Leaders in San Francisco”

  1. 2009 Success Stories in Immigrant Integrated Voter Engagement in San Diego, Riverside, Union City and San Francisco - Mobilize the Immigrant Vote! Says:

    [...] Victory over Proposed Budget Cuts: Engaging Chinese American Voters and Grassroots Leaders in San Francisco [...]

  2. MIV’s Strategic Direction and February 2010 Updates - Mobilize the Immigrant Vote! Says:

    [...] Victory over Proposed Budget Cuts : Engaging Chinese American Voters and Grassroots Leaders in San Francisco [...]

Leave a Reply

Personal tools
top banner