APF Brings Bay Area Experience to National Conversations on Gun Violence

On June 25th, Asian Pacific Fund (APF) President and Executive Director Carolyn Wang Kong participated in a critical roundtable hosted by the White House Office of Gun Violence Prevention and the Office of Public Engagement. The discussion, which was also joined by our partners from the Hope and Heal Fund, AAPI Against Gun Violence, AAPI Victory Alliance, and Chinese for Affirmative Action, among others, focused on assessing and addressing the impact of gun violence on the Asian American, Native Hawaiian, and Pacific Islander (AANHPI) community.

The AANHPI community faces unique and compounded challenges related to gun violence, including increased risks of suicide and domestic violence, which are further exacerbated by the proliferation of firearms due to targeted marketing exploiting AANHPI individuals’ fear of hate crimes. The roundtable emphasized the necessity for the community to advocate and collaborate on providing culturally sensitive mental health and substance abuse services. Furthermore, we highlighted the importance of developing culturally appropriate strategies for firearm storage and disposal, and addressing the root causes that lead to firearm purchases and gun violence.

In addition, Carolyn also spoke at a funders’ panel during the 3rd annual AAPI Against Gun Violence Coalition in Houston, Texas, in May. The panel, moderated by Hope and Heal Fund Executive Director Brian Malte, examined the role and responsibility of philanthropy in addressing gun violence beyond legislative measures.

The discussion centered around the need for funders to tackle the root causes of gun violence and support prevention initiatives. With the fastest increase in gun ownership within the AANHPI community and 84% of Asian Americans expressing fear of becoming victims of gun violence in the wake of incidents such as those in Half Moon Bay and Monterey Park, the tension within the community is palpable. The Asian Pacific Fund and other funders, including The Asian American Foundation, stressed the importance of meeting community members where they are—educating them on gun-safe storage while advocating for systemic changes and community-based solutions to ensure safety and prevent violence.

Both events highlight the proactive steps taken by leaders and organizations, within and outside the AANHPI community, to address the multifaceted issue of gun violence in our communities. By combining advocacy, education, and community-based solutions, they aim to create safer environments and reduce the risks associated with firearms.

Special thanks were extended to AAPI Victory Alliance, Chinese for Affirmative Action, Daya Houston, Hope and Heal Fund, MomsRising.org, Newton Action Alliance, and AAPI Rise for their efforts in ensuring that AANHPIs are integral to the conversation on finding solutions to gun violence.