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The history of social services in the Asian American community has a relatively brief timeframe. Although social services were being conducted by ethnic churches and other welfare service programs (such as the Shonien Children’s Orphanage, which began in the Japanese American community in the early 1900’s), the concept of an Asian American federation or umbrellas of services is relatively new.
As an aftermath of the 1965 Watts Riots and as a part of the free-expression spirit of the 60’s, there was an awakening to the need for service programs in the API community, although back then, API’s were still referred to as “Orientals”.
The first Asian American federation was the Council of Oriental Organizations (COO) which was formed by staff of the County Human Relations Commission in 1968. COO organized the first gathering of API’s at a conference called “Asians Coming Together I or ACT I” which took place at UCLA in July of 1968 and formed the basis to begin seeking funding and programming to serve the API communities.
At that time, there were very few groups serving the API community, but soon, new groups began to form. SSG had been around since the 1950’s, but in the 1970’s, many new groups began to form. These include such agencies as: Chinatown Service Center, PACE, AADAP, KYCC, and ARS. Others formed early but later faded away. It was within this environment of new groups forming and coalescing to form an Asian American federation that A3PCON was born.
In January 1975, there was a meeting called Pacific Asians Coming Together (PACT) which was a followup to ACT I. PACT was called to organize the API communities and a number of committees were formed. This effort eventually led towards the creation of APPCON.
Asian Pacific Planning Council (APPCON) is born. After PACT, a number of API CBO staff, and public agency staff (mostly from the County) began meeting monthly at a information sharing time called the Asian Lunch Bunch. They discussed service needs such as the lack of bilingual services at DPSS, and County Probation. The Lunch Bunch became formalized into the Asian Pacific Planning Council, or APPCON, which as an acronym didn’t really make sense.
Around this time, Ron Wakabayashi who was then employed by AADAP is elected the first President of APPCON, and health and mental health committees are formed. At this time, county programs such as DPSS, Health, Mental Health, Probation and LAPD could not service API languages; this became a major initial focus for APPCON, and very likely, its major accomplishment over the years.
1980 – Royal Morales, Executive Director of the Asian American Mental Health Training Program is elected the next President of APPCON. APPCON was instrumental in getting the Asian Unit formed at DPSS, and helped in the formation of APCTC at County Mental Health. APPCON is also active in organizing for the 1980 Census, and in supporting the JA Redress movement which was just beginning.
1981 -APPCON sent a delegation of 5 persons to Sacramento to meet with legislators to discuss the distribution of the new “block grant” funding program. APPCON looks into the formation of a cooperative to save money on office supplies for nonprofits.
1982 – Mark Mayeda, Executive Director of the Asian Rehabilitation Services is elected President of APPCON. APPCON has grown to a membership of about 20 agencies and 25 individuals from various public departments. APPCON becomes a major advocacy voice for the API community, especially in dealing with the County of Los Angeles.
Mike Watanabe of AADAP is elected President in April of 1984. APPCON begins to present testimony before the Board of Supervisors Budget Hearings, focussing on the on-going needs of the API community, especially in the area of health services. An advocacy effort was initiated to get the Department of Mental Health to provide services to API communities resulting in funding to Coastal Mental Health, Long Beach Mental Health, and Asian Pacific Family Center. APPCON pushes the schools of social work to do more API student recruitment. Work begins on Voter Registration, and ongoing discussions with United Way to do more in the API community. Bylaws are now drafted for APPCON and average attendance at monthly meetings is over 20 persons.
APPCON organizes a major API Health Issues conference on May 31st at USC Davidson Center. The Asian Voluntary Action Center closes operations and the funds (from United Way, ARCO, and the City of LA Mayor’s office) are transferred for APPCON to provide Technical Assistance services to emerging organizations; this becomes the Pacific Asian Resouce Coordination (or PARC Committee) of APPCON. APPCON approves a study group to investigate “designated giving” by employees to support API organizations. APPCON’s budget testimony before the Board of Supervisor’s leads to a motion to investigate the status of county services to API.
Irene Chu of Chinatown Service Center is elected President in April of 1986. Due in part to APPCON pressure, United Way admits two more API groups to their Member Agency status, for a total of 5 API groups. A winter APPCON retreat was held with 16 people in attendance; points of discussion were: should APPCOCN incorporate, can we make political contributions, should we form an Asian United Way, and should we create a “superagency”? The Mas Fukai Roundtable (information sharing) met monthly in Gardena at the ACSC with 30 people or more in attendance. The AP Older Adults TF and the API Child Abuse Council have been formed. The APPCON Executive Committee takes more of a role in setting agendas.
APPCON forms the the AP Health Venture and seeks foundation and County support funds. Meetings draw 20 – 40 people and are held at the IndoChinese Refugee Service Center on Beverly Blvd. Planning starts for the 1990 census. API Designated Giving campaign has 8 member agencies to collect United Way donor designations. A statewide API Health/Mental Health Conference sponsored by APPCON was held Nov. 1987. An APPCON Legislative Committee is formed to coordinate City, County and State-wide legislative people. An API Aids Task Force is formed by APPCON which begins outreach and education efforts.
Bill Watanabe of the Little Tokyo Service Center is elected President of APPCON. APPCON committee meetings use the CSC Annex space (later to become the A3PCON Center). The AP A Community Research Roundtable is formed by APPCON and UCLA staff and they plan the first Roundtable held at UCLA in Nov. 1988. APPCON forms an Outreach Committee to increase other API participation in APPCON. PARC issues a study of local Foundation support for API groups, revealing that less than .3% of foundations funds went to API agencies.
APPCON conducts the first API Legislative Day in Sacramento in February 1989, co-hosted by Senator Roberti’s API Affairs staff. API Task Force on the Disabled is formed. AP Health Care Venture is incorporated and obtains county and federal funds. APPCON and United Way investigate API service needs in the San Fernando Valley. A new APPCON committee, Service Network for AP Youth (SNAPY) is formed. APPCON issues its first Newsletter, including Committee Updates, Organizational Announcements, and News in Brief. A Drug & Alcohol Task Force is formed (and later becomes the Drug, Alcohol & Tobacco (DAT) Committee).
Bong Hwan Kim of the Korean Youth Center is elected President of APPCON. The Asian Pacific Community Fund is incorporated. A Housing, Employment, Economic Development Committee is formed. A planning retreat firms up membership and structure issues for APPCON. APPCON participates in an expanded and more state-wide Sacramento Legislative Day, joining over 50 community based organizations from seven counties to advocate for government services to the exploding API population. A Reapportionment Committee is formed. APPCON meets Mayor Bradley to discuss Korean/Black tensions and forms a working committee.
1991 – APPCON hosts the First Annual Job Fair at the Korean Television Enterprise Building; over 150 job applicants attended, and 26 employers were present. APPCON forms an Ethnic Relations Committee to address issues of race relations, with a focus on the deteriorating relations between Blacks and Koreans. APPCON takes over the CSC Annex (CSC was asked to vacate to make way for a proposed hotel development), with AADAP as manager and HCV as the major tenant, along with other groups.
Deborah Ching of Chinatown Service Center is elected President in April 1992. APPCON hosts planning and funding workshop for APPCON members, attended by over 90 participants, many from Pacific Islander communities. APPCON hosts a candidates forum for the 2nd Supervisorial District and forms a Transportation Committee. APPCON tries to address the challenges brought about by the 1992 Civil Unrest, the most devastating riots in our time.
APPCON and its member agencies respond in force to assist victims of Los Angeles’ civil unrest. With individuals and businesses attacked in Koreatown, South Central, Long Beach and other parts of LA, all communities were hard hit, including Korean Americans, Cambodian Americans, Filipino Americans and Chinese Americans. A new organization, called Asian Pacific Americans for a New L.A. (APANLA) was formed in July 1992 under the direction of APPCON and the Asian Pacific American Legal Center to address victim relief, build links between major ethnic groups, and address policies for business development, law enforcement, and education.
APPCON holds historic Mayoral Forum as competition heats up between
Mike Woo and Richard Riordan to fill the seat long held by Tom Bradley. Over 300 attended to hear the mayoral and city council candidates. APPCON’ Liquor Store Task Force helps shape policies regarding rebuilding of liquor stores in riot-damaged areas. APPCON assists in the formation of API’s California Action Network (APISCAN).
Nancy Au of the Western Region Asian American Project becomes President of APPCON. Leadership Education for Asian Pacifics and APPCON sponsor study “Beyond Asian American Poverty,” exploding the Model Minority Myth. APPCON participates in First Annual APIsCAN Legislative Day in Sacramento, joining APA groups from around the state to educate legislators and policy makers about the APA community. APPCON member agencies mobilize to oppose Proposition 187, which would strip undocumented immigrants of access to government services.
APPCON / APANLA awarded $250,000 from HUD for training and technical assistance to help API groups address housing and economic development projects. 17th Annual LA APA Heritage Month honors APPCON with its Community Organization Award. APPCON’s new Telecommunications Committee provides up to $1000 for APPCON member agencies to assist in setting up e-mail on their computers, and free e-mail addresses for one year to 22 groups. APPCON assists Thai garment workers freed from enslaved work conditions in El Monte by rallying with donations and assistance. APPCON grows to 50 member organizations, and Nancy chairs a series of meetings regarding APPCON’s need to re-structure and formulate guiding principles. A new set of Bylaws are drafted.
Sam Demonteverde of the Older Adults TF is elected Chairman of A3PCON and for the first time, APPCON has a paid Executive Director in the person of Warren Furutani. After a planning retreat in Big Bear, APPCON evolves into “A3PCON,” the Asian Pacific Policy and Planning Council. The new structure will allow A3PCON to not only continue planning and coordinating the member agencies in their provision of services, but also maximize the collective ability to develop and educate on policy positions. A3PCON organizes historic September 1996 Rally on steps of LA City Hall to have a physical show of the API community’s force. APPCON also rallies to oppose Proposition 209, which would abolish affirmative action. A3PCON also supports efforts to register voters and get out the vote in November 1996.
A3PCON makes history by co-sponsoring a legislative hearing on the Imapct of Welfare Reform. Over 700 attendees packed the LA County Hall of Administration to listen to API’s testify about the personal impact the welfare cuts would have on their lives and was covered on the front page of the LA Times. A3PCON holds an “agenda-setting gathering at Edison offices attended by 200 participants.
A3PCON forms APIA Vote!, a coalition of organizations dedicated to registering and educating voters and turning out the vote. A3PCON organizes Asian and Pacific Islander Community Child Care Workshop to assist organizations interested in providing child care services. Building at 300 Cesar Chavez officially named “A3PCON Center.”
Gladys Lee of Asian Pacific Family Center/Pacific Clinics is elected the President of A3PCON and Dennis Arguelles replaces Warren Furutani. A3PCON spearheads community-wide Census education to mitigate the 2.3% undercount of Asians and Pacific Islanders. A major effort is underway to deal with Welfare Reform issues, and consolidation plans within the County structure which impacts services for API’s. A3PCON spearheads the Census 2000 outreach effort for API’s in LA County. A3PCON Housing & Economic Dev. Committee launches an API Small Business assistance program.
Kazue Shibata of AP Health Care Venture is elected President, succeeded by Dennis Arguelles in December 2000. APPCON hosts meetings for the White House API Initiative. A Re-Structuring Committee re-affirms the policy that A3PCON will not be a direct service agency but to coordinate and plan/advocate services provided by others. A3PCON Health Committee hosts trainings on Language Access issues.
Ford Kuramoto of the National Asian Pacific American Families Against Substance Abuse (NAPAFASA) is elected President of A3PCON. There is a proposal that A3PCON should, at last, incorporate. The A3PCON Center site is first notified in December that it may be threatened with eviction by a new El Pueblo development project slated for the lot where the Center is now located. Following 9/11, A3PCON engages in anti-hate crime activities.
A3PCON and APALC jointly release a new report entitled “Immigrant and Refugee Children Left Behind… Asian and Pacific Islander Families in the Aftermath of Welfare Reform.” A3PCON is incorporated and files for 501 c (3) tax exempt status. A3PCON releases a voter guide highlighting the APIA need for several propositions.
2003 – A3PCON actively campaigns against Proposition 54, the information ban that would make it illegal for state and local agencies, schools, hospitals, and law enforcement, to collect or analyze data on race, ethnicity, color or national origin. The proposition fails. A3PCON distributes information on SARS to address devastating impact SARS has on API-run businesses.
2004 – A3PCON produces a Voter Guide on California Propositions. The guide is reproduced and sent to hundreds of voters, it is also translated into Korean by the Korean Resource Center and distributed to Korean voters. A3PCON also holds a press conference to urge Governor to protect newly established Commission on API affairs. A3PCON holds a signature event for member organization addressing fundraising strategies during state, federal and local budget cuts.
2005 – A3PCON moves offices to the Refugee Service Center. A3PCON holds a press conference addressing new concerns in Tsunami Victim Relief and announces local efforts to help victims. The commission on API affairs is saved. A3PCON hosts “The Future of Los Angeles: Immigrant Communities Mayoral Forum.”
2006 – Participated in Los Angeles County policy and budget development process, including formulating position paper articulating API community issues and priorities, meeting with Supervisors Deputies and providing testimony during the County Budget Hearings in May (Feb-May). Moved A3PCON office and stabilized administrative operations (Feb.).
Conducted training on non-profit organizations and participation in electoral and political affairs. Speakers included the Honorable Warren Furutani (June). Established Equitable Development Task Force to research, educate and develop A3PCON strategies around critical issues of gentrification, displacement and affordable housing in traditional API enclave communities. Received support from Southern California Edison to organize series of receptions/networking sessions between A3PCON members, the Asian Pacific American Legislative Staff Network (APALS) and Asians and Pacific Islanders in Philanthropy (APIP) (Nov.)
Held 30th Anniversary Luncheon Celebration. Over attended 200 attended. Exceeded fundraising goals and received widespread corporate and foundation support. Recognized founding A3PCON members with key note address provided by Warren Furutani (June). Held strategic planning retreat to establish goals and priorities for 06-07 program year. Gentrification, Cultural/Linguistic Access to County Services and Human Services Resource Allocation identified as priority issues (Sept.).
2007 – Some of year 2007’s activities included: