It’s fire season and this year, we’re facing one of the worst droughts in California’s history. Fires are already blazing in some parts of the state and we’re once again preparing for mass power shutoffs.

Here are 5 things you can do to make sure your community is ready and resourced for this year’s fire season:

A pedestrian walks around Lake Merritt on Sept. 9, 2020, in Oakland. Photo by Aric Crabb, Bay Area News Group

1. Assess your risk: Figure out what risks you’re preparing for. Potential evacuation from fires in your community? High levels of toxic wildfire smoke?

by Denny Khamphanthong, Richmond Community Organizer, APEN

I still remember the first time I learned about APEN.

It was a cold, drizzly September morning in San Francisco during the People’s March for Climate, Jobs and Justice in 2018. I wasn’t affiliated with any organization, but a friend had let me know it would be a great opportunity to do photojournalism and use my camera to document history.

Denny Khamphanthong, June 2020

I heard a thousand grandmothers sing their songs of liberation, I smelled burning sage from indigenous leaders, and I listened to rally speeches left and right from different organizations. And then, I heard…

Assemblywoman Lorena Gonzalez (D-San Diego) talks with Assemblyman Ian Calderon (D-Whittier) on the Assembly floor in Sacramento on Aug. 31. (Hector Amezcua / Associated Press) Photo via LA Times.

This year, Californians faced unprecedented crises as the state became a hotspot in the global COVID-19 pandemic, historic wildfires drove hundreds of thousands of people from their homes, and heat waves pushed temperatures as high as 130 degrees in some parts of the state. The pandemic and climate disasters laid bare California’s deep racial and class inequalities as working class communities of color faced the greatest risks with the least access to stable housing, healthcare, and good family-supporting jobs.

Grassroots groups put forward bold policy proposals to keep people in their homes, stabilize our climate while addressing deep inequalities, and…

Seng So, APEN Electoral Organizer

2020 has been a year like no other. Millions of acres of land have been consumed by fires and communities across the state have been displaced. On Labor Day weekend, we experienced some of the hottest weather on record: Woodland Hills reached a record breaking 121℉. September marks the umpteenth month into a global pandemic that has shuttered us in our homes, infected people in the tens of millions and has laid bare the vast inequities that exist between working-class, immigrant and refugee communities and the rich. …

Against Islamophobia: How We Take Care of Each Other

by Ayesha Abbasi, APEN SOMAH Outreach Coordinator

“Please don’t let it be a Muslim, please don’t let it be a Muslim, please don’t let it be a Muslim.”

This was the only full sentence formed and repeated by the adults in my house the morning of September 11, 2001. The faint memories of calls coming in from my khalas (aunties) and nani (grandmother) in Pakistan, the conversations coming from my grandparents room at home, the words exchanged by my uncle and father at dinner — all repeating the same sentence.


APEN members Linda Saephan and Aaron Saechao at a Black Lives Matter protest in Richmond, CA. Photo by Denny Khamphanthong. Artwork by Faye Saechao, see more at

Dear community,

We are youth and adult members of Asian Pacific Environmental Network (APEN). We came together to fight the big polluters that are poisoning our air and bodies, and build the future our communities deserve.

We grew up around Richmond, California as children of Southeast Asian refugees and immigrants in majority Black and Brown neighborhoods. Growing up on the same blocks and going to the same schools, we shared many struggles and found solidarity in that. But our complexion and race gave us a level of privilege when it came to anti-Black racism.

We are writing today to call…

Collage of our favorite books by Asian American Writers

To close out #APAHM, we asked APEN staff to share their recommendations for books by Asian American authors. We’re excited to share this list of novels, graphic novels, poems, and stories with you — 11 in total, so you can read one each month from now until #APAHM next year!

Photo essay by Ayush Dahal

My name is Ayush Dahal. I am 13 years old and attend Cal Prep Charter School. I grew up in San Pablo, California.

APEN Senior Policy Researcher, Amee Raval hiking at Banff National Park, Alberta.

This summer marks the two-year anniversary of my bike accident. I was biking to work, stopped in the bike lane at a major West Oakland intersection, waiting for the light to turn green, when a turning 24 foot semi-truck trailer rammed into me and sucked me under it. Protected by my mom’s prayers to keep me alive, I rolled out the other side into the middle of the intersection, untouched by the truck’s wheels. My bike was a coiled mass of metal under the trailer.

For me, biking wasn’t just a mode of transportation. It was how I connected to…

We held a creative writing workshop to make space for APENistas to process what’s happening amid the pandemic. With 18 Million Rising’s Love Letters to Movement Leaders as our guide, we wrote love letters to the people who inspire us in this time. What emerged were deep appreciations for people working on the frontlines, including APEN members.

Here’s Richmond Youth Organizer Katherine Lee’s letter to Asia Stevenson, a 2nd generation APEN member and youth leader. We’re posting it here with permission from both Kat and Asia.

Asia (left) at APEN’s 2019 Halloween party

Dear Asia,

I’m writing this letter as a thank you to you, and all…


Asian Pacific Environmental Network (APEN)--Uniting Asian and Pacific Islander communities for environmental and social justice. #apen4ej

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