Chinese American Women in Action, CAWA, is a 501(c)(3) non-profit, non-partisan grassroots organization, founded in January, 2022 by Chinese American women of diverse ages and professional backgrounds in the wake of anti-Asian racism and violence in Naperville and nationally during the pandemic.
Asian Americans comprise 22% of Naperville’s population. However, Chinese Americans are underrepresented locally both in elected and appointed positions and in community leadership. After several anti-Chinese racial incidents in Naperville, Nancy Chen initiated a resolution passed by the City Council to denounce racism and to support Naperville’s Asian American community.
Anti-Asian racism galvanized CAWA to bring the community together to effect positive change and to assert that they belong in our city and the country they call home. CAWA’s mission is to empower Chinese American women to lead and engage at all levels of civic and community activities. They partner with government officials and civic and business leaders to change attitudes, influence actions, increase their visibility, and ultimately achieve the recognition and sense of belonging deserved by all.
CAWA’s Two Major 2022 Priorities:
• Support implementation of the TEAACH Act, the new Illinois law requiring the teaching of Asian American history in public schools. Asian American history will improve cross-cultural education for all students and advance racial equity. Thus, we are working with and supporting Naperville School Districts 203 and 204 in the implementation of the TEAACH Act this fall. CAWA is also conducting a book drive in partnership with Anderson’s Bookshop, to provide additional relevant Asian American books and resources for Naperville public school students and teachers. We have launched a GoFundMe campaign this month to raise funds to purchase Asian American-related books as additional enrichment resources for the schools in both districts.
• Increase voter education to create awareness among Chinese American voters. We will be partnering with the League of Women Voters Naperville and other community organizations to conduct voter education forums for community members to learn more about the process of running for office and issues important to them.
In celebration of AAPI Heritage Month, CAWA hosted an Inaugural Reception on May 9 attended by 90 people including elected officials and community leaders from all backgrounds.
If you would like to learn more about CAWA, visit their website.
Nancy Chen, President
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