History & Formation

Where our journey began, where we've been, and where we are moving towards.


We are the first cross-sector, multicultural, multiethnic, Contra Costa coalition of Asian American Pacific Islanders and allies in more than 18 years. We began organizing to respond to the unmet needs of our community during COVID. We stepped up because no one else would and we refused to leave our struggling AAPI communities behind during the pandemic. We moved, got things done, and before we knew it we created an amazing coalition of people who come together to build up and strengthen resources and opportunities for AAPI and all Contra Costa community members.

  • April 2020

    The Contra Costa Asian Pacific Islander Advocacy Coalition began its inception in April of 2020 during the height of the COVID-19 Pandemic. As a response to COVID-19,  the Contra Costa Health Department created the Historically Marginalized Communities Engagement Unit. During the formation of the Historically Marginalized Communities Engagement Unit - The Healthy Richmond Initiative (HR) advocated for the inclusion of the Asian American/ Pacific Islander (AAPI) community. This became the genesis and creation of the API Focused COVID-19 Workgroup.

  • June 2020

    In June 2020 Healthy Richmond and Contra Costa Health Services sought out to recruit a group of AAPI identifying individuals and allies to form this new group. We determined the best way to identify, recruit, and retain these individuals was to host a focus group session where the project itself would be unveiled, data would be collected to inform the project’s planning and operations, and those who were interested would be invited to be on the group.

  • July - December 2020

    Between July and December of 2020, the group occupied itself with continuing to build community, grow partnerships, develop new COVID-19 collateral, solicit donations for supplies, and rolled out the first round of Care Kits. These activities were done simultaneously and were successful because each action supported the next. The group started with a small “Steering Committee” of 7-15 who participated in the strategic leadership and directioning of the work.

  • January 2021

    In January of 2021 the group (fiscally sponsored by the Family Justice Center) was awarded the Rapid Response Grant from the Regional Health Foundation to focus on COVID-19 response targeting the Contra Costa AAPI community.

  • June - July 2021

    In June - July of 2021, the group began shifting focus from downstream rapid response interventions to policy advocacy and systems change - from this transition came the genesis of the Contra Costa Asian American Pacific Islander Advocacy Coalition 2.0. This AAPI coalition 2.0 will be focusing on pushing forward the policy recommendations that the Community Health Advocates created.

  • July - December 2021

    July 2021 - December 2021, through a partnership with RCF Connects the team received a $24,000 grant from the Emergency Rental Assistance Program. With these funds we were able to outreach to approximately 6,000 community members informing them about the state rental assistance from and resources. We were able to also provide technical assistance to more than 100 families and enroll them into the program.

  • February 2022

    February 2022, the team successfully developed and broadcasted the very first API New Year Celebration at the Board of Supervisors meeting. This makes the first time in history that the Contra Costa Board of Supervisors publicly acknowledged the API community’s beloved traditions.

  • April 2022

    Our coalition was successful in receiving a $300,000 multi-year grant from the California Governor's Office of Emergency Services (Cal OES) Sexual and Domestic Violence Prevention (SD) Program. The coalition researched and designed a dating violence prevention program focusing on the Laotian and Nepali communities. Coalition leaders are currently organizing AAPI families to carry out this important program. This program includes a CDC research-backed curriculum and workshops empowering Laotian and Nepali parents to prevent dating violence in their children at the middle school level.

  • April 2022

    Our coalition was successful in receiving a $25,000 grant from the Regional Health Foundation to launch a capacity-building and advocacy training program focused on the Chinese-speaking community. The coalition is partnering with NAMI Contra Costa staff to design, develop, and carry out this program -  which includes a culturally appropriate training curriculum for 20 community member trainees. The program will conclude with an “Advocacy Day” where trainees will present mental health-based policy solutions and recommendations to Contra Costa decision makers.

  • June 2022

    Our coalition was successful in receiving a $25,000 grant (allocated by the Contra Costa Board of Supervisors) to identify and provide outreach and education to AAPI undocumented immigrants. The purpose of this project is to bring in and enroll undocumented adults into the Contra Costa CARES Program which provides health access for qualifying individuals. Due to the state of California’s decision to expand Medicare for all - this project hopes to bridge this population into the program for long-term services.

  • August 2022

    To this date, we have collected through donations 10,000 pieces of COVID rapid testing kits, masks, sanitizer, and emergency/disaster response resources to the community and are in the process of distributing these items now.

  • September 2022

    The coalition was successfully awarded the Vaccinate All 58 Neighborhood Partnership Program to plan and carry out a COVID Vaccination, Health, & Wellness Festival Event for West Contra Costa County. We are excited to partner with our coalition of partners to provide an opportunity for community members to come to receive vaccinations and a variety of social safety net resources all in one event. If you are interested in partnering with us for this project (join us in resource tabling) please contact us.

Quote from resident leader

“API communities are the most vulnerable during this COVID-19 period. Families are without jobs and are dependent on food banks and the relief programs. Most of them are Uber drivers, Lyft drivers, restaurant workers and nail salon workers. They are unable to go back to their works. They are hopeless, stressed and having financial hardship. API Community leaders are outreaching these communities and trying to connect them with the resources, but more support is necessary. This task force is very important. This API Task force is distributing Personal protective materials to the communities and many other resources through weekly community support groups. When I distributed the kits, community members expressed their appreciation. They are excited to get them with the information sheet and flyer.”

 Prem (Nepali Community Leader)