I wanted to take this opportunity to introduce myself as the new Director of API Equality and provide an update of our activities. I have engaged in this work in communities as far ranging as Boston and Cincinnati to places closer like Portland and Los Angeles, but to participate in what may be the historic struggle of our era in the city and state where I grew up is truly a homecoming.
As you may know, the fight for marriage equality is at a crucial juncture in California. The struggle for LGBT acceptance has spanned across the nation, over state borders, throughout corridors of government, and has landed now in a proverbial firestorm at our feet. For Asian Pacific Islanders (API), this is a struggle with which we have been and continue to wrestle. Just four years ago, nearly 10,000 APIs rallied across the state in San Francisco and the San Gabriel Valley of L.A. County. And, just four years ago, API Equality was founded. Since then, API Equality has and continues to play a lead role in the efforts to open the hearts and minds of Californians with a particular emphasis in API communities.
With all that hard work, we NOW have marriage! But, the battle is by no means over. An amendment to ban same-sex marriage is slated for the November 2008 ballot. And, the opposition is at it again. WeÆve recently heard wind of API religious extremists planning a repeat performance of the 2004 rallies in the coming months. We desperately need to educate our fellow APIs and take a stand for justice and equality.
With a seat on the Executive Committee of Equality for All, the statewide campaign to win marriage rights, and my recent election as co-chair of the San Francisco No on 8 Local Action Committee, API Equality is well-place to continue this work. However, regardless of the outcome on Election Day, we must remain vigilant. Throughout the years, the targeting of the API community and proliferation of discriminatory ballot measures in California virtually guarantees that our community will soon face more onslaughts on the right to marry for the foreseeable future.
Please join us by pledging to vote No on Prop. 8, volunteering with us, or hosting a house party to educate your friends and family and raise important funds for the battle ahead!
Tawal Panyacosit Jr.
Director, API Equality