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Asian American Studies is a discipline rooted in community. This page highlights some of the community organizations led by and serving Asian American communities, focusing on the San Francisco Bay Area. Because of the deep and rich history of Asian American activism and organizing, this list will likely never be complete, but hopefully it will be a resource that will continue to grow.
ASATA, the Alliance of South Asians Taking Action, is a San Francisco Bay Area all-volunteer group working to educate, organize, and empower the Bay Area South Asian communities to end violence, oppression, racism and exploitation within and against our diverse communities.
APIENC builds queer and transgender Asian and Pacific Islander power to amplify our voices and increase the visibility of our communities. Through organizing in the Bay Area, we inspire and train grassroots leaders, transform our values from scarcity to abundance, and partner with organizations to sustain a vibrant movement ecosystem.
AIWA works with immigrant workers employed in the Bay Area’s garment, home care, hotel, restaurant, assembly and other low-wage industries, and low-income immigrant youth in Oakland. Our organization seeks to empower women and youth through education, leadership development and collective action, so that they can fight for dignity and justice in their daily lives and improve their working and living conditions.
Asian Pacific Environmental Network is an environmental justice organization with deep roots in California’s Asian immigrant and refugee communities. Since 1993, APEN has built a membership base of Laotian refugees in Richmond and Chinese immigrants in Oakland.
Asian Women's Shelter (AWS) was founded in 1988 to address the urgent and unmet needs of survivors of domestic violence and human trafficking, especially those who are immigrant or refugee women, children, LGBTQ+/GNB, and/or youth. AWS welcomes survivors of all genders, ages, races, nationalities, language communities, abilities, income-levels and more.
The Filipino-American Development Foundation (FADF) is a nonprofit organization founded in 1997 to develop initiatives and resources to strengthen the social, physical, and economic well being of the Filipino-American community in San Francisco. The Bayanihan Community Center is located in San Francisco and provides services to the Filipino community.
Chinese for Affirmative Action was founded in 1969 to protect the civil and political rights of Chinese Americans and to advance multiracial democracy in the United States. Today, CAA is a progressive voice in and on behalf of the broader Asian American and Pacific Islander community. We advocate for systemic change that protects immigrant rights, promotes language diversity, and remedies racial and social injustice.
The Chinese Historical Society of America collects, preserves, and illuminates the history of Chinese in America by serving as a center for research, scholarship and learning to inspire a greater appreciation for, and knowledge of, their collective experience through exhibitions, public programs, and any other means for reaching the widest audience.
The Coalition for Community Safety and Justice (CCSJ) is a group of four Asian Pacific Islander (API) organizations — Chinese for Affirmative Action, Chinese Progressive Association, New Breath Foundation, and Community Youth Center San Francisco — formed to address the safety of the API community against violence, racism, and xenophobia.
Our goal is to build racial solidarity while increasing public safety, through culturally competent, city-wide networks and programs that prioritize violence prevention and intervention.
We are an organization of Third World artists, cultural workers, and community organizers of color committed to working in the San Antonio and other Oakland neighborhoods to support a creative environment that improves the quality of life for our communities and advocates for progressive, systemic social change.
OACC builds vibrant communities through Asian and Pacific Islander arts and cultural programs that foster inter-generational and cross-cultural dialogue and understanding, collaboration, and social justice.
The Asian Branch Library is unique among public library branches in the United States as it houses four Asian language collections. The language collections are Chinese, Japanese, Korean, and Vietnamese. Additionally, the branch has an Asian Interest collection in English focusing specifically on Asia, Asian heritage, culture, and history, an Asian American Experience collection, and Asian immigrant history.
The branch is equipped with 9 computers with internet access, 5 computers with multilingual interface, and 5 iPads for instructional purposes. Computer and new technology classes are offered in Cantonese and Mandarin.
Tsuru for Solidarity is a nonviolent, direct action project of Japanese American social justice advocates and allies working to end detention sites and support directly impacted immigrant and refugee communities that are being targeted by racist, inhumane immigration policies. We stand on the moral authority of Japanese Americans who suffered the atrocities and legacy of U.S. concentration camps during WWII and we say, “Stop Repeating History!”
VietUnity envisions building a strong grassroots organization to bring Vietnamese people together with the goal of working on local issues while making the connections to a broader system, and to a larger multi-racial and multi-class movement for social justice.
The Asian American Feminist Collective, based in New York City, engages in intersectional feminist politics grounded within our communities, including those whose backgrounds encompass East, Southeast, and South Asian, Pacific Islander, multi-ethnic and diasporic Asian identities. Through public events and resources, we seek to provide spaces for identity exploration, political education, community building, and advocacy.
Since 2012, our online and offline advocacy and cultural campaigns have highlighted the struggles of Asian American communities while celebrating our resilience. Using digital-first organizing, 18MR responds to issues of the current political moment. We mobilize our people to speak up against injustice and take action. From policy change to shifting narratives, 18MR helps define the culture of Asian America today.
Founded in 1972, Asian Americans Advancing Justice – Asian Law Caucus is the nation’s first legal and civil rights organization serving the low-income Asian Pacific American communities. Advancing Justice – ALC focuses on housing rights, immigration and immigrants’ rights, labor and employment issues, student advocacy (ASPIRE), civil rights and hate violence, national security, and criminal justice reform. As a founding affiliate of Asian Americans Advancing Justice, the organization also helps to set national policies in affirmative action, voting rights, Census and language rights.
The collections include more than 700 Hmong-related books, 325 Hmong-related theses and dissertations, over 800 Hmong-related academic journal articles, over 3,500 Hmong-related newspaper articles and 311 videos as well as 52 CDs and 32 DVDs. The library likely has the largest collection of Hmong-related theses and dissertations and journal articles of any institution in the United States. The collections also include extensive archives of issues of local Hmong newspapers dating back to the 1990s and Hmong-related articles from mainstream newspapers going back to the 1970s.
The National Queer Asian Pacific Islander Alliance (NQAPIA) is a federation of lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) Asian American, South Asian, Southeast Asian, and Pacific Islander (AAPI) organizations. We seek to build the organizational capacity of local LGBT AAPI groups, develop leadership, promote visibility, educate our community, enhance grassroots organizing, expand collaborations, and challenge anti-LGBTQ bias and racism.
VietLead is a grassroots community organization in Philadelphia and South Jersey that is creating a vision and strategy for community self-determination, social justice, and cultural resilience. We are staffed and led by community members with collectively over 25 years serving our community and are committed to working from love and solidarity. Our community programs include intergenerational farming, youth organizing, health navigation & healing, civic engagement and community defense. We do this through a Heal.Resist.Grow. framework that focuses a pathway to healing trauma in our communities, contesting for power to make systemic change, policy advocacy/campaign, and growing community-based solutions.
The Bulosan Center's mission draws from the life’s work of Carlos Bulosan, worker, writer and activist. We produce, preserve, and disseminate knowledge about the Filipinx experience in the United States and the broader diaspora. Our research and education programs are driven by our close partnerships with community-based organizations. We focus particularly on the most marginalized, underserved, and vulnerable populations in the Filipino community.
The Department of Asian American Studies at San Francisco State University, part of the College of Ethnic Studies, grew from the 1968 Black Student Union/Third World Liberation Front Student Strike. AAS at SF State is the nation’s most comprehensive Asian American studies program with over 50 undergraduate and graduate courses taught by more than 20 faculty members who are teacher-scholars, mentors and community leaders.
The Asian American Studies Department offers a unique academic experience where students from all majors can learn the histories, contributions and diverse identities of Asian Americans in the United States. Our courses provide specialized opportunities for students to engage in community-based research, social activism, performance pedagogies, service-learning and versatile internship experiences that positively impact our Asian American communities within the San Francisco Bay Area and across the nation.
The purpose of the Asian American Studies Program is to shed light on the forces and processes that have shaped American society. The program focuses on the perspectives of Asian Americans and their contributions in the development of the United States. It seeks to account for the similarities and differences in their participation in, and responses to, the social and cultural processes that have given form to the United States in a global context. To facilitate the study of these complex social phenomena, courses in the program are interdisciplinary, with emphases upon the social sciences.
The Asian American Studies Major and Minor offer students interdisciplinary analytical tools to actively study and research Asian American experiences. Asian American Studies classes cover a broad selection of topics and are offered in departments ranging from History to English to Music and Politics representing the breadth of interests among our diverse faculty members.
The Department of Asian American Studies at the University of California, Irvine offers an undergraduate major, minor, the country’s first 4+1 B.A./M.A. program, and a graduate emphasis in the School of Humanities. Asian American Studies explores the intersections of race, gender, citizenship, ethnicity, and dis/ability within Asian American histories, experience, and cultural production. The Department offers more than twenty cross-disciplinary courses annually such as Asian American Community, Asian American History, Asian American Literature, Asian American Media and Music, Asian American Women, Ethnic Food & Identity, and Politics of Protest.
The UCLA Asian American Studies Center promotes research and scholarship in Asian American Studies. The Asian American Studies Center Library/Reading Room contains rich historical materials on Asian American Studies.
Asian American Studies provides critical interdisciplinary perspectives on the various histories of contact, migration, and settlement of Asian groups in the United States. “Asian Americans” compose a diverse collection of diasporic communities and are becoming increasingly fractured along socioeconomic and geographic lines. In an era of U.S. global hegemony fueled by an increasing military and economic presence in the Pacific Rim, Asian American Studies plays a crucial role in analyzing and shaping economic, political, cultural, and international relations among Asia, the Pacific Islands, and the United States.
Asian American Studies at the University of California, Santa Barbara is an interdisciplinary department that offers a wide variety of intellectual ideas and approaches. As part of a larger Ethnic Studies tradition, we are a community of scholars devoted to collective knowledge production that brings historically marginal voices to the center with the goal of promoting greater social justice. The Department offers a major and a minor degree program with a range of courses that critically analyzes the complex and many times contradictory realities of Asian America.