AAPI Run: Ravi Grivois-Shah | Candidate for Tucson Unified School District Governing Board

Dr. Ravi Grivois-Shah (Photo Credit: Dr. Ravi Grivois-Shah for TUSD).

Once again, a record number of Asian Americans and a growing number of Pacific Islanders are running for public office at the local, state, and national level.

Every week, Reappropriate will profile progressive AAPI candidates for higher office. Check back at Reappropriate throughout 2020 to learn more about these candidates and find out how you can get more involved in their campaigns.


Ravi Grivois-Shah is endorsed by Run for Something, a group that recruits and supports talented, passionate young people who advocate for progressive values now and for the next 30 years, with the ultimate goal of building a progressive bench. Since its launch on inauguration day 2017, they’ve recruited 16,000 young people to run for office.


What is your full name? 
Ravi Grivois-Shah

What office are you seeking?
Tucson Unified School District Governing Board

When is the election date?
It is a non-partisan election and will be on the General Election ballot this November 3, 2020.

What is your party registration (if any)?
Democrat

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Warren Releases Extensive Plan for Asian Americans, Native Hawaiians and Pacific Islanders

Elizabeth Warren speaks at the 2019 California Democratic Party Convention. (Photo credit: Getty)

Disclosure: After supporting the Castro campaign to its end, I recently indicated my public support for the Warren campaign.

Coinciding with an online presidential townhall organized by Asian American and Pacific Islander advocacy groups today through the hashtag #AAPI2020 and that involved representatives of every current Democratic presidential candidate, Senator Elizabeth Warren released a comprehensive working agenda this morning that presents an extensive vision for Asian American, Native Hawaiian and Pacific Islander communities under her presidency. The plan highlighted several key planks of her campaign platform.

Warren also introduced novel AANHPI-specific ideas. Warren vowed that as president, she will create a White House task force on data equity to prioritize disaggregation of federal and state demographic data. Aggregated AANHPI data has long led to the erasure of Southeast Asian Americans, Native Hawaiians and Pacific Islanders for access to everything from education, healthcare, and the ballot box, and data disaggregation has been a major issue area for community advocacy groups (as well as for this blog).

Warren also promised to work with Asian American, Native Hawaiian, and Pacific Islander community leaders to develop other policies to better our communities. This is a vision that heralds back to the Obama administration when the White House worked in close partnership with AANHPI organizers to advance several policy initiatives and to launch the first-ever White House Summit on Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders.

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Just Show Up: A Field Guide to Campaign Volunteering in Iowa – as an Asian American from California

An Iowan neighborhood canvassed by the author. (Photo credit: Kevin Xu)

By Guest Contributor: Kevin Xu, Model Majority Podcast

Last week, I traveled from my home in San Francisco, California to Cedar Rapids, Iowa. It was my first visit to Iowa, and what better way to travel the state than as a campaign volunteer? I’m a political junkie, and the Iowa Caucus has always held a certain mystique: the complex and archaic caucuses procedures, the cold harsh winter warmed only by Midwestern charm and hospitality, the first ballots in the presidential primary — how could I not be enthralled? 

I wanted to experience it. I wanted to help. And I wanted to represent the Asian American community out on the campaign trail in my own small way.

So here’s what I did to make it all work.

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Andrew Yang’s Problematic Reinforcement of the Model Minority Myth

Democratic presidential candidate Andrew Yang at the Sept 12 Democratic primary debate in Texas Southern University in Houston, Texas. (Photo Credit: Win McNamee/Getty Images)

Tonight, Silicon Valley entrepreneur Andrew Yang joined the nine other top Democratic presidential candidates on the debate stage at Texas Southern University. A noteworthy moment for Asian Americans, Yang remains one of the first Asian Americans in history to run a national campaign for the presidency.

That’s why it is all the more problematic that Yang routinely leans upon Model Minority stereotypes of Asian Americans to advance his candidacy. As early as last year, Yang routinely framed himself as qualified to be president because he is a “smart Asian” who is “good at math” — a classic Model Minority trope reminiscent of the infamous Time magazine cover that popularized model minority stereotypes for a generation of Americans. Tonight, Yang invoked a different facet of the Model Minority Myth when he quipped in response to a question on healthcare that “I am Asian, so I know a lot of doctors.

The Model Minority Myth has stood at the root of a good deal of anti-Asian racism and oppression. Yet, Yang is unconcerned by the many ways that the Model Minority Myth hurts Asian Americans and other people of colour. Instead, Yang sees Model Minority caricatures of Asian Americans as something to lean into and to laugh at, and he even sells math-branded Yang swag in his campaign store.

I can’t but wonder if Andrew Yang sees Model Minority stereotypes as a joke, then who’s really laughing with him?

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The Lessons the Democratic Party Must Learn About Asian American Voters to Win in 2020

Kamala Harris (middle) pictured at a campaign event. (Photo credit: Ebony)

For over a decade, political strategists have contemplated tactics for winning over the Asian American electorate. Routinely noted as one of the fastest-growing electorates in the country, Asian Americans currently make up about 5% of the electorate and is projected to double to over 12 million voters by 2040. Because Asian Americans are geographically concentrated in a few states, their impact on state and local elections in these states is even higher: in California, for example, Asian American voters wield profound influence in the heavily-Asian American Orange County. In swing states like Virginia, the Asian American electorate is large enough to swing narrow elections; indeed, Senator Hillary Clinton narrowly won the state in 2016 by a margin smaller than the number of Asian American voters in the state.

Going forward, Democrats need to include Asian American voters as part of its core base, and as part of its fundamental electoral strategy.

As the Democratic party sets its sights on the presidential election in 2020 — and the first opportunity for voters to unseat President Trump at the ballot box — The New York Times reports that several early voices have emerged as potential candidates to take the Democratic presidential nomination. They include Senators Elizabeth Warren, Bernie Sanders, Cory Booker, and Kamala Harris as well as former Vice President Joe Biden.

The speculation around these rumored candidacies is fierce; but all of these candidates must implement the following lessons as they advance towards the 2020 election season, particularly when it comes to courting the “sleeping giant” of Asian American voters.

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