Hmong Innovating Politics
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Organization Details


With such a significant portion of our community being well below the median age of any other race or ethnicity, HIP prioritized developing youth leadership as its top priority in 2018. Specifically, we wanted to create pathways for Young People to step into leadership roles and develop the skills necessary to mobilize and empower their peers. These efforts were rooted in community service, improving the lives of underserved communities and building solidarity with other communities of color.
Program Successes
Developed curriculum for a two day youth leadership training that helped young people connect their family's immigrant story with the legacy of other communities of color and the historical context that shapes our current political atmosphere. Fostering this identify helped the attendees articulate their larger goals for community organizing. Moreover, the training focused on tangible skill sets for the young people to take back into their community. In total, HIP trained 45 young people through this effort.

Seeding Change Fellowship
Last summer, we hosted 3 summer fellows through our partnership with Seeding Change, a center dedicated to building a national pipeline for the next generation of Asian American organizers. Our summer fellows created a Hmong glossary of political and LGBTQIA terms and expanded our capacity to engage additional youth. One of our fellows received additional funding from a health foundation to expand their LGBTQIA youth work in Fresno. We plan to host Seeding Change fellows during the Summer of 2019.

Hmong Innovating Politics focuses our work on increasing civic engagement and voter participation among community members that feel disenfranchised, left out, ignore and rarely engaged in the political process. We have found that local residents care deeply about the issues and policies that affect them and their family which runs contrary to the narrative that immigrant communities and young people are apathetic or do not care. Hmong and SEAA elders struggle with language and cultural barriers to voting. Similarly, young SEAA question the impact of their vote and believe elected officials ignore their voices regardless of their participation. Thus, with so much as stake for low-income and immigrant communities in this (and every) election, HIP specifically targeted our efforts to engage demographics often ignored by traditional campaigns to help residents understand key issues on the ballot and help first-generation voters and communities navigate the electoral process to ensure their voices and their vote count.

In addition, HIP work with local high school and college students in utilizing the voter data to mobilize and increase voter turnout in their own communities. As a result of their involvement, the youth and communities members develop leadership, organizing skills, self worth through group collaboration and played a critical role in advocating for safer and healthier communities.
Program Successes
Education and Ballots Parties - We hosted ballot parties for college student to learn about the importance of voting and the propositions. In-depth conversations on the impacts that propositions have on their families and the communities they live and play in. We provided information guides in 8 different Asian languages and online access. We hosted 2 throughout 2018 with attendance ranging from 15 - 30 participants.

Community Organizing around Youth Programs
In 2018, we contacted and surveyed voters in low income communities who lived in North and South Sacramento to find out if they would support more funding for youth programs and health/mental health services. We identified over 1500 voters who overwhelmingly supported that more funding be allocated to youth programs. Using the information gathered from this data and other youth surveys, HIP is working in collaboration with the Sacramento Kids First Coalition to advocate that funding come from the unrestricted general fund to support more youth programs in Sacramento.

Voters' Choice Act in Sacramento County
Gearing up for the June 2018 Primaries, Sacramento County was 1 of 5 counties to implement the Voters' Choice Act. The Voter's Choice Act (VCA) gives voters "More ways and more days" to vote; by making sure that every voter receive a ballot by mail and vote centers throughout the county would be open 10 days up to election night. This meant that we were speaking with community members on the phone and at their doorstep to make sure they were well informed about the changes and how it would impact them and the way that they choose to vote. Our work targeted dominantly low income communities of color and low turnout voters in Sacramento County. We were able to contact over 3,500 voters during this program and overall county-wide saw an increased voter turnout in this 2018 Primary (42%) compared to the 2014 Primaries (29.6%). In the November general elections, we contacted over 5,000 voters. Sacramento County saw the largest voter turnout in any midterm election year. The voter turnout in the 2018 General election was 68% compared to 38% in 2014 and 43% in 2010.

Continued VCA Efforts and Affordable Housing
The beginning of October 2018, our team continued their efforts in VCA education and outreach. Thinking about the displacement that often occurs in our communities, we also set our focus to the housing crisis and gentrification in Sacramento. As we walked and called our neighborhoods we also asked voters if having stable housing is something that is important to them. Of over the 2,000 voters we talked to, over 90% of them agreed with us that stable housing is an issue that is important to them. This reinforced the needs and desires for stability in our communities and it is an issue that we will continue to fight for.