Asian Americans Advancing Justice - LA

Building upon the legacy of the Asian Pacific American Legal Center

Bilingual Forum on Proposition 55 in the San Gabriel Valley

Tuesday, November 1st 2016
The bilingual forum, filled with participants, is led by Advancing Justice-LA's Kimberly Wu, Youth and Parent Engagement Manager. 
On the evening of October 20th, Asian Americans Advancing Justice - Los Angeles (Advancing Justice-LA) hosted a bilingual Chinese/English community event at the Mission Community United Methodist Church in Rosemead. About 50 residents of the San Gabriel Valley gathered to connect with each other and to prepare for the upcoming election, with a particular focus on one ballot measure that will affect their lives: Proposition 55. 
Prop 55 is on the November ballot and would continue a tax instituted by Proposition 30, which passed overwhelmingly in 2012. The tax affects only Californians who have a single-income of over $250,000 (approximately 1.5 percent of the population). Revenue generated through this tax benefits K-12 schools, community colleges, and healthcare. If passed, Prop 55 would continue this critical funding until 2030.  Currently, the tax is scheduled to end this year. 
Advancing Justice-LA hosted this community forum with the support of its newly-formed San Gabriel Valley Civic Engagement Team. The Civic Engagement Team is comprised of 10 Chinese-speaking youth and parents, hailing from El Sereno to San Gabriel and they have focused on outreaching to the Chinese-speaking population in the San Gabriel Valley. The youth and parents have focused on voter education and strengthening local investment in the region, and for months, they have met with other residents in parks, farmers’ markets, schools, and other public spaces in order to encourage greater engagement with civic issues and concerns. 
At the forum, posters were displayed depicting the history of voting rights for Asian Americans and other marginalized communities in the United States. Members of the Civic Engagement Team then led the participants in a bilingual discussion about the timeline and the historic struggles of Asian Americans, and to reflect on the importance of the right to vote in the U.S. The forum also covered the ballot initiative process, Proposition 55 and its relevance to supporting public education and health care, and what the community could do to build voter power and inform friends and families to also take action. 
In addition, Kaibin (Ben) Xiao and Sophia Mei, as youth and parent representatives of the team, shared their personal stories in support of Prop 55. Ben, a recent high school graduate, recalled how his school nearly let go its only Chinese-speaking teacher, which would have devastated the school’s many immigrant Chinese-speaking students.
As both a parent and a student at an adult school, Sophia shared the challenges she encountered as a result of budget cuts, such as losing English-language teachers and educational materials for many adult school students in the San Gabriel Valley. 
Both Ben and Sophia’s stories were powerful reminders of the very real impact that state ballot measures have on our daily lives. Advancing Justice-LA extends its deep appreciation to Ben, Sophia, and the other members of the San Gabriel Valley Civic Engagement Team for their great work connecting Chinese-speaking SGV residents to issues that affect them!
Learn more about Prop 55 by visiting


Advancing Justice-LA's helplines prioritize assistance to low-income persons in the following areas of law: family, immigration, public benefits, employement, housing, and civil rights. 

English: 888.349.9695
需要協助嗎: 800.520.2356
도움이 필요하십니까: 800.867.3640
Tagalog: 855.300.2552
ต้องการความช่วยเหลือ: 800.914.9583

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Our mission is to advocate for civil rights, provide legal services and education, and build coalitions to positively influence and impact Asian Americans, Native Hawaiians, and Pacific Islanders and to create a more equitable and harmonious society.