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Established in 1985, Asian Americans United exists so that people of Asian ancestry in Philadelphia exercise leadership to build their communities and unite to challenge oppression. Find out more about us »


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We need your help!

There are many ways to get involved with AAU – from fundraising, to organizing events, to working with youth and more. Find out how you can help »


Thank you to the funders who generously support AAU’s work: Bread and Roses Community Fund, The Philadelphia Foundation, Douty Foundation, Emergency Aid Foundation, Samuel S. Fels Fund, Greater Philadelphia Traditions Fund, Allen Hilles Fund, National Endowment for the Arts, Pennsylvania Council on the Arts,  Pennsylvania Humanities Council, Philadelphia Cultural Fund, Seybert Institution, Union Benevolent Association, Wells Fargo Foundation, Henrietta Tower Wurts Memorial, Youthadelphia.




20th Annual Chinatown Mid-Autumn Festival

MAF 2015 Save the Date

AAU’s Mid-Autumn Festival creates a time when people come together in an expression of community pride and collective responsibility. Youth give a day of service, restaurants donate food, artists offer their talents, businesses and organizations chip in money – hundreds of people work together to make the festival our own.  Join us on Saturday, September 19th as we celebrate our 20th Festival in Chinatown!!

Find out more »

AAU Summer Program:  Call for Applications!


We’re hiring 20-25 high school students for our Summer Program and looking for College Youth Leaders!  If you or if you know a student who has a passion and a commitment to community work, please share our application.

Find out more and download our application »


CYOP Report and Findings:  Chinese immigrant student experiences with the Pennsylvania Keystone Exams

Our Chinese Youth Organizing Project (CYOP) is taking on the Pennsylvania Keystone Exams!  In November 2014, our CYOP youth delivered their formal report to Superintendent William Hite and the City Council and shared their immigrant student experiences with the Keystone Exams.  They found that many Chinese immigrant students:

  • many schools did not explain to ELL students their rights to accommodations
  • were not receiving appropriate accommodations in spite of state regulations
  • most students were denied access to qualified interpreters


Failure rates among immigrant students for the 2013 pilot test were:

  • 84% failed Algebra I
  • 90% failed Literature
  • 97% failed Biology

Asian Americans United – Philadelphia City Council Standardized Testing testimony from Ken Derstine on Vimeo.


Read the full Report and Findings:  Chinese immigrant student experiences with the Pennsylvania Keystone Exams.

AAU Launches Search for a New Executive Director!

AAU is excited to launch a search for a new Executive Director.  Reporting to the Board of Directors, the Executive Director provides leadership and strategic direction to the organization, promoting the goals of AAU, serving as the public representative of AAU and working in concert with the broader progressive community.

For more details, please view our Jobs & Internships page.


The State of Asian Americans in Philadelphia


AAU launched our State of Asian Americans in Philadelphia report in February 2014. The report moves us away from perception and stereotype and uses data to better understand Asian American communities in our city. Among the findings:

  • 47% of Philadelphia’s Asian American community is limited English proficient, making language access a policy concern;
  • Vietnamese and Cambodian adults are the least likely of all racial categories to have a high school diploma;
  • One out of four Asian Americans lives in poverty. Moreover, the rate of Asian Americans falling into poverty is double that of the city.


Read the full report: A Community of Contrasts: Asian Americans, Native Hawaiians and Pacific Islanders in the Northeast, 2013

If you would like hard copies of the report or want to discuss ways to disseminate data, contact us at aau@aaunited.org



Hooray for Wei!

AERA-Wei Chen1

Congratulations to Wei Chen for winning the inaugural Peace First Prize Fellowship. Wei was one of 10 national winners of a fellowship from the Peace First Foundation which honors young activists across the country engaged in peace activism. A folk artist and community worker, Wei helped lead the 2009 immigrant student boycott at a local high school that resulted in a federal civil rights case to stop anti-Asian/anti-immigrant harassment and to uphold safe school climates for all students. He has been recognized with the Princeton Prize in Race Relations and the Freedom From Fear award given to immigrant organizers nationally. Wei is on staff at Asian Americans United. Great job Wei!


No Second Casino in Philadelphia!

We are angry at the plan to put a second casino in Philadelphia. Another casino in Philadelphia – no matter the location and no matter the brand – would harm our city.

Casinos are predatory. Their business model depends on creating addiction among their customers. In fact, casinos have made a science out of getting people to “play to extinction” ­– to play until they have nothing left.

Casinos shamelessly target Asians, using Chinatown buses, Asian marketing executives, noodle bars, and Asian gaming areas.  Now Sugarhouse Casino is requesting permission to expand its casino in part to create a dedicated and expanded Asian gaming area.

Our state and city policymakers are at it again.  They are currently deliberating on where to site a second casino in Philadelphia.

In 2009 Asian Americans United played a key role in building the No Casino in the Heart of Our City Coalition. Over 40 organizations took a stand to oppose Foxwoods Casino. And by acting with unity across neighborhoods, communities, and organizations, we forced Foxwoods out of Philly.

It is time again to come together to take a stand in defense of all of our communities and all of our neighborhoods. It is time to say no to a second casino anywhere in Philadelphia.

See: Many from Chinatown protest 2d Philly Casino, Philadelphia Inquirer, May 10, 2013

To join the No Casino in Our City Coalition: Read the Coalition Beliefs Statement [may 2013]




Listen to Our Oral Histories and Tell Your Own!

For many of our alumni, Asian Americans United was our first political home, a place for consciousness building and emerging awareness of the power and possibility of change. Whether working on a neighborhood campaign, creating a mural, leading a program, or fighting for justice, our alumni share transformative moments that have impacted them throughout their lives.

Listen to AAU oral histories »

Have you been involved with AAU in the past? Please tell us your about your experiences »

Used to be involved with AAU and want to join in again? Find out more »