8Asians At DNC 2016: Day 1 – Asian American & Pacific Islander (AAPI) Caucus – Session 1

  • 0:00:00 – 0:03:00 – Pledge of Allegiance, Welcome, Moment of Silence for Congressman Mark Takai (D-Hawaii, 1st District) – DNC AAPI Caucus Chair Bel Leong Hong
  • 0:03:00 – 0:07:48 – Tribute to Congressman Mark Takai (D-Hawaii, 1st District) – Jadine Nielsen, DNC AAPI Caucus Vice Chair & delegate from Hawaii
  • 0:07:48 – 0:17:20 – Congresswoman and Congressional Asian Pacific American Caucus (CAPAC) Chair, Judy Chu
  • 0:17:20 – 0:28:15 – Congressman Mike Honda (D-California, 17th District)
  • 0:28:15 – 0:34:25 – Congressman Ami Bera (D-California, 7th District)
  • 0:34:25 – 0:44:30 – Congresswoman Madeleine Bordallo (D-Guam)
  • 0:44:30 – 0:50:15 – Congressman Xavier Becerra (D-California, 34th District)
  • 0:50:15 – 0:58:00 – Senator Amy Klobuchar (D-Minnesota)
  • 0:58:00 – 1:05:10 – Mayor of San Francisco, California – Ed Lee
  • 1:05:10 – 1:10:20  – DNC AAPI Caucus Chair Bel Leong Hong
  • 1:10:20 – 1:25:40 – Panel 1 – “Seize the Moment”
    • Dilawar Syed, entrepreneur, Silicon Valley executive
    • Jenny Yang, Chair, U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC)
    • Irene Bueno, consultant & formerly served in the Clinton administration
    • Professor Taeku Lee, University of California at Berkeley
  • 1:26:50 – 1:32:00 – Congressman Mark Takano (D-California, 41st District)
  • 1:32:00 – 1:38:25 – Raja Krishnamoorthi, Democratic candidate for 8th Congressional District of Illinois
  • 1:38:25 – 1:58:45 – Panel 2 –“ Our Persona, Our Fight For Visibility”
    • Kesha Ram, candidate for Lieutenant Governor of Vermont, Vermont House of Representative
    • Constance Wu, actress, Fresh Off The Boat
    • Mark Keam,  member of Virginia’s District in the House of Delegates, District 35
  • 1:58:45 – 2:00:32 – Final remarks – DNC AAPI Caucus Chair Bel Leong Hong

As in 2012, the official Democratic National Committee (DNC) Asian American & Pacific Islander  (AAPI) events at the Democratic National Convention (DNC) are the caucuses, which are basically opportunities for various AAPI Democratic elected officials, appointed officials, community leaders, and guests to speak individually, or on a panel. And that was my first AAPI related DNC event I attended in the morning at 10 AM on Day 1.


Since the Convention was four days instead of three days this year, there were two AAPI caucus days – on Day 1, Monday, July 25th and Day 3, July 27th. These caucuses were open to the public and you didn’t need any credentials (just grab a free ticket – and not like people were checking) to get into the Pennsylvania Convention Center where they were held – you just had to go through security.

A Facebook friend commented on exactly what went on during these caucuses. In regards to any official Democratic Party platform stuff or any voting, etc. Not really. Basically, the forum allows all attendees to see the various speakers and panelists speak and to see familiar faces and network with new ones and afterwards, meet and greet and work together in the future on like-minded issues.

The highest profile elected official I saw speak that I liked was Congresswoman Judy Chu (the first Chinese American woman ever elected into Congress) as well as actress Constance Wu (of Fresh Off The Boat fame) on a panel discussion.

Congresswoman Chu outlined why AAPI’s should support Hillary Clinton for President, that Clinton has reached out to the AAPI community, especially early on in her campaign. Clinton has also met with Congressional Asian Pacific American Caucus (CAPAC), which Chu chaired, and knew CAPAC’s – priorities and concerns, and understood issues concerning AAPI’s around immigration, higher education, etcetera. Clinton invited CAPAC to speak at the Democratic National Convention (on Day 3 at 5PM EST on Wednesday, July 27th) – a historic first. Clinton had also attended and spoke at the CAPAC Gala in Washington, D.C. And that Clinton had AAPIs on her staff, including Jason Tengco, AAPI Outreach Director and Olympian Michelle Kwan as Surrogate Outreach Coordinator – both of whom I’ve had the pleasure of meeting.


Me & Jason Tengco, AAPI Outreach Director for the Hillary Clinton campaign

Constance Wu discussed the issue of diversity in Hollywood, which she has been more local about and been getting noticed about.

IMG_20160725_115244Center – actress Constance Wu, who Fresh Off The Boat

During the caucus, there were some Asian American Bernie supporters that briefly protested and then remained silently within the room. Not to my surprise, I saw my friend Michelle as one of the protesters, as I had been corresponding to her via IMs and texts. I hadn’t realized until later that Michelle had also been protesting at the California Delegates breakfast earlier in the morning (which I had also attended).


With the California Delegates breakfast as well as this particular incident, I was wondering what kind of other Bernie Sanders supporters protests I would see.

Overall, the first caucus session was a good start from an AAPI standpoint and I got to see a lot of familiar faces and meet some new ones.

More photos from the AAPI caucus – Session 1:

DNC 2016 - Day 1 - AAPI Caucus


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About John

I'm a Taiwanese-American and was born & raised in Western Massachusetts, went to college in upstate New York, worked in Connecticut, went to grad school in North Carolina and then moved out to the Bay Area in 1999 and have been living here ever since - love the weather and almost everything about the area (except the high cost of housing...)
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