In partnership with the AAPI Civic Engagement Fund, the UCLA Center for Neighborhood Knowledge released today AAPIs Connect: Harnessing Strategic Communications to Advance Civic Engagement, a landscape scan reviews the unique characteristics of the AAPI population influencing communications and community outreach, the strategies and practices used by those working to reach AAPI audiences, and the current strategic communications capacity, needs, and priorities of groups working with AAPIs.

With the elections and census on the horizon and at a time when hate and violence against Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders (AAPIs) is on the rise, CNK and the Fund believes that building the narrative power of AAPIs  is essential. Stories of communities mobilizing together against injustice or inhumane policies are urgently needed.

Among the key findings:

  • Organizations or campaigns aimed at reaching AAPIs require resourcing and planning that consider the diversity of the AAPI audiences. The AAPI audience includes at least three main audience types relating to language ability and years in the United States: (1) monolingual English, (2) bilingual, and (3) limited English proficient.
  • Social media has been growing rapidly, and among Asian ethnic groups, Vietnamese and Filipinx Americans are most likely to post about politics on social media at 38% and 30%, respectively.
  • Only 82% of Pacific Islanders in the United States have computer access with broadband, which is a lower rate compared to that of Asian Americans (92%) and other racial groups.
  • In Californian, AAPIs do not show higher connectivity rates than other racial groups and still lag behind non-Hispanic whites in regard to access.

A survey of the Fund’s grantees underscored that the majority of local AAPI groups have little to no strategic communications capacity or infrastructure. This includes the lack of any funding or resources to support dedicated staffing, skill building, or tools.

AAPIs have faced specific discrimination and barriers at the polls, and AAPI civic participation groups have been under-resourced by institutional funders. That discrimination has extended into daily life with many living in fear of the rampant anti-Asian sentiment in this country amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

While the need to boost AAPIs communications capacity has been longstanding, the impact of the recent COVID-19 global health crisis makes this need more urgent and timely. Funders have a role to play, and the landscape scan calls for funders to:

  • Fund AAPI groups to build an infrastructure for communications to become a strategic function of their overall work.
  • Support resources to conduct more studies on how AAPIs get their information and how AAPI community groups’ use of communications can contribute to the testing, development, and execution of new strategies and tactics in this dynamic field.

The landscape scan includes a demographic profile on AAPIs, which have been the fastest growing racial and ethnic group over the past decade with more than 22 million AAPIs. By 2040, an estimated 1 in 10 Americans will be AAPI. It also includes a literature review on AAPI media consumption, community-led media, and the capacity of community groups; top lines from survey of AAPI Civic Engagement Fund Cohort; and strategies, tactics, and advice from content creators, trainers, and communications practitioners.

Read the landscape scan here.

Download the full report here > AAPIs Connect: Harnessing Strategic Communications to Advance Civic Engagement, 2020