Learn more about the work of Nebraska Table Member organization the Asian Community and Cultural Center in Lincoln! ACCC has been showing up in the policy space this legislative session and fighting hard for Nebraska's communities. Last month, Governor Pillen signed a proclamation recognizing AAPI Heritage Month after meeting with the Asian Community & Cultural Center and the Asian American Leadership Alliance, based out of Omaha.
Asian Community and Cultural Center Policy Fellow Andrew Farias, who drafted the proclamation and coordinated feedback, shares that this is a way to show that the organization is paying attention to what's happening at the legislative level and can continue to push this type of engagement forward.
"We’re hopeful this is something we can continue every year, that we can continue to be relevant and present in that policy space, and expand the individuals that can be a part of drafting and reading that proclamation. Overall, it was something that had never been done before but it was also something we recognized was important and valuable in terms of being more visible to the public."
The Asian Community and Cultural Center also worked hard on LB 2 to create a Commission on Asian American Affairs in Nebraska. Working with Sen. Sanders this session, ACCC outlined the need for a Commission to be established that took into account the experiences of Asian Americans in Nebraskans, enhanced the cause of Asian American rights, and developed solutions to issues commonly experienced by Asian Americans in Nebraska. Though not passed during this session, advocates are working to see this come to fruition during the biennium.
During the Lincoln Municipal Election, ACCC took to the phones to get voters prepared. With a Civic Engagement Fund grant from the Nebraska Table, their multilingual Get Out the Vote phonebanking efforts reached voters in Arabic, Vietnamese, and Karen, sparking conversation with Lincolnites who may not have typically been reached in the first place and providing voting information in their preferred language. Andrew shares that this voter engagement effort was a newer opportunity for some staff. "Most of the time, people are focused on supporting their clients in terms of getting housing, food, or assistance with school or education - maybe voting doesn’t even reach the top ten of important things folks think they need. This was really beneficial for us to do this type of outreach, letting people know about their options and the importance of their voice when it comes to voting."
They were also able to reach community members who may not be able to vote about ACCC's citizenship classes and other programs to support them. "Even if the voting aspect didn’t work, there were other ways that we could continue to engage folks within the community and let them know that we’re here for them with whatever services they need."
As the Asian Community and Cultural Center ramps up their community engagement work, they're dreaming big about what else is possible to continue expanding the type of support they can give. Andrew shares, "I think that this is really opening up multiple opportunities for us to use resources that are available instead of reinventing the wheel or having to do things on our own." With a major election year just around the corner, voter outreach is key. Last year, the Asian Community and Cultural Center served individuals from dozens of countries who spoke over 30 different languages. With digital tools like VAN, there's plenty of room for increased language support and innovative ideas. "I feel like the sky’s the limit when it comes to using VAN to support our community outreach opportunities," says Andrew.