FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
APRIL 27, 2021
‘WESTCHESTER ASIAN AMERICAN DEMOCRATS’ LAUNCHES
Political Committee installs 2021 Slate of Officers and Plans for Longterm AAPI Voter Registration and Engagement Efforts
WESTCHESTER COUNTY, NEW YORK – On the heels of the Asian American Pacific Islander (AAPI) vote delivering crucial 2020 victories for Democrats, the Westchester Asian American Democrats (WAAD) officially launched this month with a mission to increase visibility, representation and political engagement of Asian Americans, the fastest-growing ethnic group in America.
“We are the margin of victory for Democrats so the time is now to empower our vote and raise our presence in the electoral process,” said Lisa Do Hofflich, a Mount Vernon resident who was elected Chair. She is currently Hudson Valley Regional Director and Special Advisor for Senator Kirsten Gillibrand, and former Legislative Advisor for New York State Assembly members Amy Paulin and Sandy Galef.
Among the approximately 60,000 AAPI residents in Westchester County, the New York State voter database suggests more than a third are registered voters with nearly 48% registered as Democrats. WAAD aims to increase Democratic registrants across Westchester’s AAPI population, recruit AAPI candidates to run for office, and collaborate with the local Democratic party to engage the community with in-language voter education for greater turn-out and impact.
The full slate of officers installed for 2021 are as follows:
Chair - Lisa Do Hofflich of Mount Vernon
First Vice Chair - Dr. Bhavana Pahwa of Rye Brook
Second Vice Chair - David Imamura of Irvington and Co-Chair of the Irvington Democratic Committee
Treasurer - Anjali Thavendran Chen of Hastings-on-Hudson
First Secretary - Jin Whang of New Rochelle
Second Secretary - Jeanhee Chung of Mamaroneck
The group’s inaugural meeting, held virtually and attended by more than 60, culminated as AAPI Congressional leaders introduced the Covid-19 Hate Crimes Act – legislation (passed in the Senate with wide bipartisan support) that directs federal assistance in addressing the surge in racist incidents and hate crimes against AAPIs elevated since the coronavirus pandemic. In February, an 80-year-old Korean American senior was violently attacked in White Plains; the case is under investigation as a possible hate crime by the Westchester district attorney.
“The inaction or dismissal of hate and violence against the AAPI community, as we have seen in the media and law enforcement, magnifies our lack of representation across all levels of government and it’s motivating many of us to step up for change,” added Do Hofflich.
Once organization filings complete with the Westchester County Board of Elections, WAAD will be recognized as an official party committee by the County Democratic Committee, said Suzanne Berger, Chair of the Westchester County Democratic Committee.
“It makes a lot of sense for there to be a Westchester Asian American Democrats committee in our diverse county at this time. I am thrilled to work with my fellow Democrats in building a broader coalition and supporting the mission of engaging AAPI Democrats in the political process,” said Berger.
The next WAAD general members meeting will be Tuesday, May 11th; and will be held (indefinitely on Zoom) every first Tuesday of the month.
All new interested members are welcome to sign-up for membership at bit.ly/WAADmembership.