APEN seeks to empower low-income Asian Pacific Islander (API) communities to achieve environmental and social justice. APEN believes that the environment includes everything around us: where we live, work and play. And we strive to build grassroots organizations that will improve the health, well-being and political strength of our communities.
In 1991, there was a historic convening of the national environmental justice movement, the People of Color Environmental Leadership Summit in Washington, DC. At this convening, a group of fewer than 30 APIs among 600 activists of color realized that a vehicle was needed to represent the specific issues of concern to API communities. APEN's formation in 1993 reflected this growth of the national environmental justice movement and the recognition that API voices needed to be at the table.
APEN currently works on three levels: Direct Organizing in local communities, building a Network of API organizations and working in multiracial Alliances to affect regional and national social change.
The direct organizing is at the center of our vision of environmental and social justice. Our two local San Francisco Bay Area projects are the 11-year old Laotian Organizing Project (LOP) in Richmond and the 6-year old Power in Asians Organizing (PAO) that works with a pan-Asian immigrant community in Oakland.