Our Mission and Vision
AAPI Montclair is a 501(c)3 nonprofit representing Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders and families across New Jersey. Our mission is to create a more inclusive community by uplifting the varied experiences of Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders, advocating for AAPI rights and representation, and promoting awareness and education around AAPI culture and history. We envision a future where Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders--and all historically marginalized communities--thrive in a just and liberated society.
The members of what would become AAPI Montclair came together after the Atlanta spa shootings--moms, dads, kids, elders, and young adults, most of whom had never engaged in advocacy--to do everything we could to drive change for our community. We recognized how everyday racism, left unaddressed, created a dangerous climate that we all had an obligation to help change if we didn't want our grandchildren to experience the same "perpetual foreigner," "model minority," and other pernicious stereotypes that our grandparents did.
Since our start two years ago, we have become a red-hot, community-driven engine with big dreams and heart. We helped advocate for NJ's historic AAPI curriculum mandate, and are now leading implementation across the state through our Teach Asian American Stories initiative. We have also engaged community members who had never spoken with an elected official or set foot in our statehouse before in issues such as voting rights, immigrant justice, and language access. We work as a community partner to help build trust between AAPI communities and law enforcement, and offer free self-defense classes and bystander intervention trainings. In addition, we offer up inclusive cultural celebrations attended by thousands that invite our wider community to share in Asian American joy and traditions, and mental health programs that seek to normalize interactions with mental health professionals and raise help-seeking rates for AAPIs.
AAPI Montclair is a diverse and intentionally inclusive space encompassing all AAPI identities. Our members are of every Asian American and Pacific Islander nationality and heritage, and include multiracial, adoptee, LGBTQ+, and other intersectional identities.