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Sept 8th: State of AAPIs in California

In 2020, we have the opportunity to be counted through the US Census, be a part of the Citizens Redistricting Commission process and to participate in our presidential election. This panel will give us a snapshot of what our communities look like presently, what demographic shifts to anticipate for the future and how we can leverage this information to become more civically engaged to influence positive changes for our communities and ensure our voices are represented.

Timmy Lu

Founding Director, AAPIs for Civil Empowerment

Timmy Lu is the founding director of AAPIs for Civic Empowerment, an organization dedicated to increasing the electoral power of AAPI grassroots communities. He brings over a dozen years of experience in community organizing, political campaigns, and voter data management. Prior to this role, Timmy was the Field Director at Asian Pacific Environmental Network Action, where he built the organization’s integrated voter engagement programs from the ground up, won increases to the minimum wage and tenant protections in Oakland, and led successful independent expenditure campaigns that overcame millions in corporate spending in Richmond, CA. Timmy serves on the boards of Bay Rising Action and Chinese Progressive Association Action Fund, and the executive committees of Million Voters Project and the Schools and Communities First (Prop 15) campaign. A second-generation ethnic Chinese Vietnamese refugee, he’s also a new father. Timmy is based in Oakland, CA.


Twitter: @timmyhlu @aapiforceef

Facebook/Instagram: @aapiforceef

Natalie Masuoka

Associate Professor & Chair, UCLA Department of Asian American Studies

Natalie Masuoka is Associate Professor of Political Science and Asian American Studies.
Her research interests include racial and ethnic politics, immigration, political behavior and public opinion. Her first book, The Politics of Belonging: Race, Public Opinion and Immigration (co-authored with Jane Junn) examines how and why whites, blacks, Asian Americans and Latinos view immigration and immigrants in systematically different ways.  This book was the winner of the 2014 Ralph Bunche Award by the American Political Science Association.  Her second book, Multiracial Identity and Racial Politics in the United States, explores the rise of Americans who self-identify as mixed race or multiracial and the impact on politics. This book was recognized as the best book in political behavior by the Race, Ethnicity and Politics Section of the American Political Science Association. Professor Masuoka received her Ph.D. and M.A. from University of California, Irvine and a B.A from CSU Long Beach. Before joining UCLA she taught at Tufts University and Duke University.


Twitter: @Prof_Masuoka, @UCLAAASC

Kathay Feng

National Redistricting Director, Common Cause

Feng has led Common Cause’s work to challenge partisan and incumbent gerrymandering, through litigation, state-based organizing around ballot initiatives and legislation and creating new platforms for community-based redistricting. As Executive Director of California Common Cause, she championed and won election and redistricting reforms, stronger government sunshine and accountability laws, campaign finance reforms, stronger net neutrality laws, and the voting rights of traditionally disenfranchised communities. Kathay is the architect of California’s Citizens Redistricting Commission, leading the multi-year effort to study, write, and pass the two initiatives, Propositions 11 and 20, that created the commission and new community-focused process. She also led efforts that secured passage of California laws bringing online voter registration and same day registration (called conditional voter registration) to the state.


Karthick Ramakrishnan

Founder and Director, AAPI Data

Karthick Ramakrishnan is associate dean of the UC Riverside School of Public Policy, and professor of public policy and political science. He is also a Board Member of The California Endowment, Chair of the California Commission on APIA Affairs, and adjunct fellow at the Public Policy Institute of California (PPIC).  He received his Ph.D. in politics from Princeton University, and has held fellowships at the Russell Sage Foundation and the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars

Ramakrishnan’s research focuses on civic participation, immigration policy, and the politics of race, ethnicity, and immigration in the United States. He directs the National Asian American Survey and is founder and director of, which features demographic data and policy research on Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders. He has published many articles and 6 books, including most recently, Framing Immigrants (Russell Sage, 2016) and The New Immigration Federalism (Cambridge, 2015). 

Ramakrishnan has secured more than $4 million in grants from sources such as National Science Foundation, James Irvine Foundation, and the Carnegie Corporation. He has provided consultation to public officials at the federal and local levels, and has written dozens of opeds and appeared in over 1,000 news stories, many in major news outlets such as the New York TimesEconomistLos Angeles TimesNational Public RadioPBS NewshourMSNBCCBS Evening News, and CNN.


Evan Low

Assemblymember, California District 28

Evan Low was elected to the California State Assembly in November 2014 to represent District 28. At the age of 31, Assemblymember Low became the youngest Asian American legislator to have been elected to the Assembly in state history. The district is located in Silicon Valley and includes Campbell, Cupertino, Los Gatos, Monte Sereno, Saratoga, and the areas of West San Jose, Willow Glen, Cambrian, and Almaden Valley in San Jose.  Assemblymember Low chairs the Business and Professions Committee. In 2015, together with Assemblymember Ian Calderon (D-Whittier), he launched the first in the state California Legislative Technology & Innovation Caucus. The Caucus comprises of a bi-partisan group of Senators and Assemblymembers who view this as a statewide effort to ensure that California remains the global leader in technology and innovation.

Assemblymember Low is a lifelong resident of Silicon Valley and has been a regional community leader. His work within the community and deep knowledge of issues local residents faced led him to run for Campbell City Council in 2006. He made history as the first Asian American elected to Campbell’s City Council.

Additional Resources

2020 UCLA AASC Analysis of Latino and Asian American Voting in 10 States

It’s been 55 years since the Voting Rights Act, and we still don’t have equal voting rights

Responses to questions (including additional resources) during panel: State of AAPIs in CA

Kathay’s Redistricting Presentation

Karthick’s Demographics Presentation

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