25th CAUSE Annual Gala: "The Time is Now"

Los Angeles, CA – On Thursday, April 5th, CAUSE hosted its 25th Annual Gala: “The Time is Now!” at The LA Grand Hotel Downtown.

The CAUSE Annual Gala is the premier event for those interested in politics and community and boasts the largest attendance of APA elected officials. Attendees came together to celebrate the achievements of CAUSE and recognized those who have advanced the needs of the APA community. The gala also served as the largest fundraiser of the year for the organization. Funds raised will support the organization’s many programs and services, which include non-partisan voter outreach, training, and education as well as leadership development programs.

2018 CAUSE Annual Gala

The theme for this year was “The Time is Now.” The Asian Pacific American community is the fastest growing population in the United States, but remains severely underrepresented. As our country enters a new era of politics, it is important, now more than ever, to mobilize and empower our community, to make an impact in future elections. We want to ensure that the many voices in our communities are being heard.

Dan Matthews performing at the 2018 CAUSE Annual Gala

The evening kicked off with an energetic performance from Dan “DANakaDAN” Matthews, featuring his tracks “Runners” and “Stuntman” to get the audience excited for the night and empowered to participate in the 2018 elections.

Alex Padilla speaking at the 2018 CAUSE Annual Gala

Following his performance, The Honorable Alex Padilla, California Secretary of State and the Master of Ceremonies, welcomed guests to a night of celebrating CAUSE’s 25 years in empowering the APA community. He spoke of the great partnership between the state and CAUSE in encouraging higher voter participation.

Following opening remarks, CAUSE presented the “CAUSE at 25” short documentary, produced courtesy of East West Bank. The video included remarks by local elected officials and highlighted CAUSE’s history and vision for the future.

Judy Chu speaking at the 2018 CAUSE Annual Gala

As representatives of the Congressional Asian Pacific American Caucus (CAPAC), Congressmember Judy Chu and Congressmember Brad Sherman provided remarks on how far the APA community has come in terms of representation in elected office. Congressmember Chu also presented CAUSE with a Congressional Record that will forever be displayed in the halls of the US Capitol.

Charlie Woo speaking at the 2018 CAUSE Annual Gala

Afterwards, CAUSE Board Chair Charlie Woo shared with the audience the history of CAUSE and how CAUSE was first founded in 1993 as a way to better support APAs running for elected office. Since then however, CAUSE has expanded to empower the APA community to take on leadership roles not only in elected office, but to also hold leadership positions across a variety of industries and sectors. CAUSE emphasizes the importance of political and civic-minded leadership across all leadership roles.

CAUSE then presented its 2018 Voter Engagement strategies in a video produced by Christopher Duong.

Portrait of Power, 2018 CAUSE Annual Gala

CAUSE Board Members Adam Ma and Nita Song invited attending CAUSE board members, sponsors, elected officials, and nonprofit leaders to the stage for the annual Portrait of Power to document the community’s growing civic leadership and power.

Rob Bonta speaking to the 2018 CAUSE Annual Gala

As representatives of the California Asian & Pacific Islander Legislative Caucus (APILC), Assemblymember Rob Bonta, Assemblymember Evan Low, and Assemblymember Ed Chau spoke on the importance of the continuation and growth of APA civic engagement.

Billy Chun and Charlie Woo presenting Ming Hsu at the 2018 CAUSE Annual Gala

Next, City of Los Angeles Deputy Mayor of Economic Development Billy Chun took to the stage and introduced Ming Hsu, Trustee of the JT Tai & Company Foundation. As one of CAUSE’s greatest sponsors, Ming Hsu shared how valuable it is for her and future generations to have a community of powerful APA leaders. Ms. Hsu and the JT Tai & Company Foundation’s support has allowed for CAUSE’s transformational growth and has allowed CAUSE to provide more voter engagement programs.

Kim Yamasaki speaking at the 2018 CAUSE Annual Gala

Kim Yamasaki, Executive Director of CAUSE, shared the State of CAUSE as well as the organization’s growth throughout the past few years. Kim shared more about the organization’s 2018 voter engagement strategies and parallelled the organization’s continued success with the importance of voting saying, “Just like every single voice and vote counts, every single dollar counts…The more dollars we raise, the more people we can touch. The more doors to opportunities we can open to young leaders who would have otherwise gone unnoticed. The more work we can do to help each and every person in the community to find their voice. When you open your wallet, you are validating the value of an individual in our democracy.”

CAUSE Alumni at the 2018 CAUSE Annual Gala

To celebrate 25 years of empowering the APA community, CAUSE selected 25 of its outstanding alumni to spotlight from across its leadership development programs. Alumni spotlighted were invited to the stage and presented with certificates of recognition from CAUSE.

David Ryu speaking at the 2018 CAUSE Annual Gala

Lastly, Los Angeles City Councilmember David Ryu was presented with the “Inspirational Leadership Award” by The Honorable Michael Woo, along with CAUSE alumni Annie Chang Long and John Yi. Both Annie and John highlighted just how much CAUSE has meant to them over the years as well as what it meant to them to have seen Councilmember Ryu elected into office. Councilmember Ryu spoke on the importance of APA individuals seizing leadership opportunities, stating, “It will never be our turn if we never step up.”

Thank you to all sponsors and supporters for making the CAUSE 25th Annual Gala a great success. Together, CAUSE commits and looks forward to many more years of empowering the APA community through leadership development and voter engagement programs!