The Asian Pacific Islander Coalition (APIC) formed in 1996 to counter anti-immigrant provisions in the Welfare Reform Act of 1996. This federal legislation resulted in the denial of cash, food and medical assistance programs for low income, elderly, and disabled non-citizens.

At its first Legislative Day in 1996, APIC successfully convinced the state of Washington to fill in some of the gaps left by the Welfare Reform Act and protect our communities. Since then, APIC has organized every year the Asian Pacific American (APA) Legislative Day, which attracts thousands of community members who voice their concerns about public policies that affect the APA community’s access to basic services, protection of civil rights and other issues of concern.

In May 2004, APIC organized the APA Summit, an event that drew 5,000 people to the Tacoma Dome to celebrate their unity and promote civic engagement. At the summit, participants attended a gubernatorial candidates’ forum and participated in workshops promoting civic engagement.

Today, there are a total of seven APIC chapters in King, Pierce, and Snohomish counties, South Puget Sound, Southwest Washington, Yakima Valley and Spokane. Each organizes local community leaders to address access to basic services, civil rights and regional issues affecting APAs and to promote civic engagement and unity.

The regional leaders all believe that APIC is needed because our APA community faces many challenges to equal participation and equal representation in our society. APIC brings the APA community together across ethnic, language, geographic and generational divisions. It brings immigrant, refugee, and American-born APAs together to use our collective strength to empower and advance our community.

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