AAAJ-Atlanta organized candidate training to train underrepresented communities to run in the South.
By Anna Kim
2016 is a huge election year with races that affect every facet of the Asian community. Beyond the Presidential, U.S. Senate, and House races, there are elections for State-House and Senate, state judges, local judges, school boards, and other state offices. Due to the lack of non-Caucasian leaders, AAAJ-Atlanta took the lead in training candidates, from different backgrounds, and youth groups (ages 17-24), who have much interest in engaging in civic activities.
The event was an amazing opportunity for individuals who plan on running in 2016, or in the future, and for those community leaders who we know should run and just need the encouragement and information to get started. What makes this year special is the inclusion of the youth group session, where young ones learn about politics and the electoral process in more detail from guest speakers, who are in the political and PR profession, or incumbent politicians.
BJ Pak, State Representative; John Park, Councilman for the City of Brookhaven; Ted Terry, Mayor of the City of Clarkston; Hang Tran, Mayor Pro Tem and a Councilwoman in the City of Morrow, Clayton County; Pedro Marin, State Representative; Jay Lin, Councilman for the City of Johns Creek and more took part in the event as a special guest speaker.
The training for the total 22 individuals started at 7:30 am Saturday, April 23rd and ended by noon on Sunday, April 24th. It took place at the Sonesta Gwinnett Place Hotel in Duluth Georgia.
AAAJ- Atlanta organized its first nonpartisan candidate training in 2014. That very year, one of our participants, Judge Meng Lim, on his contested race, won, which made him the first ever Asian American Superior Court Judge in Georgia.
The training session is being expanded and is ready to throw its specific plans for Asian candidates to get in shape.
“Throughout our state and region, People of Color continue to lack adequate representation at the every level of government, despite the fact that these communities are fastest growing in the region,” said Stephanie Cho, Advancing Justice – Atlanta’s Interim Executive Director. “We need more Asian, Latino, and other People of Color to run for office. Our community members are interested and capable of leadership positions at all levels of government and we want to assist them in taking the first step towards running.”
Meanwhile, Asian Americans Advancing Justice – Atlanta (formerly Asian American Legal Advocacy Center or AALAC) is the first nonprofit legal center dedicated to promoting the rights of Asian immigrants and refugees (“Asian Americans”) in the Southeast. It was formed in the spring of 2010 by and for Asian Americans. It works in four major
program areas: public policy; legal education and support; civic engagement; and defense of rights.
Youth groups (ages 17-24), who have much interest in engaging in civic activities, took part in the training session.
All the participants have a photo time.