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AAPI PAC launches nonprofit, think tank amid rise in hate crimes

AAPI PAC launches nonprofit, think tank amid rise in hate crimes
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The AAPI Victory Fund PAC launched a nonprofit and think tank on Monday amid the recent rise in hate crimes against the Asian American and Pacific Islander communities. 

The nonprofit AAPI Victory Alliance replaces AAPI Progressive Action and will include a think tank aimed at addressing policy through an Asian American and Pacific Islander perspective. The Victory Fund said it will be the only such organization that includes a PAC, think tank and nonprofit 501(c)4. 

The Hill was the first news outlet to report on the launch. 

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"We were trying our best to respond as an organization to the last year-plus of acts of hate and race violence against our community," the group's executive director, Varun Nikore, told The Hill. 

"It's such an important time to show leadership and the path forward, frankly, that will allow us to take our grief and our hurt and our pain and channel it into more positive things for our community," he continued. 

The Victory Alliance hopes to work with lawmakers at all levels of government to enact policies that will benefit Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders and continue to build support for that community's political candidates. 

The launch comes as hate crimes against the community have skyrocketed amid the coronavirus pandemic. Last month, eight people, including six Asian women, were killed during a shooting rampage at Atlanta-area spas.  

The group's rollout also comes as more Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders become more politically active in the U.S.

Rep. Andy Kim, a Democrat from New Jersey, last month launched In Our Hands PAC, which will recruit and support Asian American and Pacific Islander candidates and other candidates of color.

Vice President Harris also became the first South Asian and first Black person to hold the nation's second-highest executive office earlier this year, while Reps. Young Kim (R-Calif.) and Michelle Steel (R-Calif.) became some of the first Korean American women to serve in Congress. 

Asian American and Pacific Islander voters voted in record numbers in the 2020 election cycle, playing a crucial role in states like Georgia, where some counts show their voter participation doubling, helping Democrats flip the Republican stronghold.