About 18 Million Rising (18MR)
There are approximately 18 million Asians and Pacific Islanders in the United States, representing nearly 6% of the total population and growing faster than any other racial group (!) Despite that, Asian Americans remain one of the most politically under–organized, under–engaged, and under–represented constituencies: only 55% of Asian American citizens of voting age are registered to vote -- the lowest rate of all races.
18MillionRising.org was founded by Jee Kim and Ian Inaba (Citizen Engagement Lab) to promote APIA civic engagement by leveraging the power of technology and social media. 18MillionRising.org (18MR) is a campaign composed of a broad coalition of partners, ranging from community based organizations and print magazines to Asian American blogs and YouTube channels. Throughout the 2012 election cycle, 18MR will promote online voter registration tools, run social media-fueled civic engagement campaigns and contests, and provide up–to–date information and analysis on all things political that Asian (and all!) Americans should know about.
Ultimately, 18MR is about you, your friends, your cousins, your aunties, your whole community. It’s about making our voices heard...on Election Day, when a Sikh gurdwara is attacked, when an Asian American soldier or student is viciously bullied, when we’re misrepresented in the media or mainstream culture, when Jeremy Lin is called a “chink” (and when he registers his first triple double!), and when one of our APIA elected officials does us proud. 18MR is about us, all 18 million of us.
18 Million Rising Staff
Christina M. Samala
Christina Samala (known simply as Samala) is spearheading 18MR after three years as The Story of Stuff Project's Director of Online Strategy & Media. Prior to that, she spent years as a brand strategist for social impact organizations. Samala is a Bay Area based, New York raised, first generation Filipino American. She is well-versed with start-up projects, savvy with technology as a tool for social and environmental good, and a nerd for all things social media. You can chat with her directly @samala. Incidentally, Samala is also a pretty bad-ass DJ.
Born in the Bay Area and raised in California’s Central Valley, Jennifer Pae was the first Asian American woman to serve as the student body president at UC San Diego, followed by stints as president of the United States Student Association and Project Director for PowerPAC. As a trainer for the Midwest Academy, Camp Wellstone, and APIA Vote, Jennifer has trained hundreds of activists across the country to run effective and strategic campaigns. When she’s not on a plane you can catch her on twitter @jennpae. Jenn is 18MR’s campaign manager and makes runs for Oakland’s City Council in her free time.
PaKou comes to 18MR with 15 years of anti-racism organizing experience and after nearly two years of field organizing with MoveOn.org. She is also principal of Tseng Development Group, a firm that provides consulting, training, and coaching on anti-racist/anti-oppressive leadership development, organizational growth, and systems change. Born and raised in the Midwest, PaKou takes great pride reppin APIs living in the nation’s midsection. Some of her favorite non-campaigning activities include entertaining two young daughters, squeezing in occasional adult-only evenings with her spouse, chasing culinary adventures, and dreaming about reviving a long-lost singing career. Swap musings about race, culture, and organizing on Twitter @pakouher.
Editor & Strategist
Prior to joining 18MR as site editor & campaign strategist, Cynthia Brothers was a program officer and consultant at Public Interest Projects and the Four Freedoms Fund in New York, focusing on immigrant rights, integration, and civic engagement. She also coordinates arts and cultural organizing strategies in the immigrant rights movement for The Culture Group, and is a blog editor and social media editor for Hyphen. Cynthia was born and raised in Seattle and reluctantly admits to clichés such as playing in bands and once making espresso for a living – but is proud that she went to the high school where Bruce Lee first demonstrated his famous “one-inch punch.” You can holler at Cynthia via firstname.lastname@example.org.
Social Media Wizard
Cayden is finishing up a Master of Fine Arts in digital media at the University at Buffalo, New York, where they study participatory archives and games for civic engagement. Before joining 18MR, they worked as a staff organizer for SUNY's Graduate Student Employees Union, and have been deeply involved with New York Students Rising. Though they were born and raised in southeast Michigan, they're more likely to say they come from the internet. Nerd out about video games, cyborgs, and critical theory on Twitter @cayden.