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Local advocacy group pushes for more voter engagement from Georgia's AAPI population

The Asian American Advocacy Fund has been working to increase awareness of certain issues with candidates.

ATLANTA — Local advocacy groups are working to engage their communities in smaller races happening across the state.

The Asian American Advocacy Fund is one of them.

The organization was founded four years ago. Executive Director Aisha Yaqoob Mahmood said the organization's purpose is to advocate for Asian Americans, Pacific Islanders, and Native Hawaiians in Georgia.

"We want to make sure that folks are turning to us when they have questions about how to best support Asian-American communities," Mahmood said.

Statistical Atlas puts Georgia's AAPI Population at roughly 374,000 people. The same data puts the highest concentrations of those communities in Gwinnett and Forsyth counties. 

For Mahmood, part of addressing the AAPI community's concerns includes ensuring people are informed about registration and voting deadlines, as well as talking to people about what issues are top of mind. 

"People are concerned about inflation. People are concerned about rising prices for gas and groceries and all of the things that impact all of our families here in the state of Georgia," Mahmood said.

Mahmood told 11Alive's Karys Belger the organization is hearing about many of the same issues mentioned in 2018.

"We're hearing about health care and education and the growing interest that our families and communities have around supporting public education, and keeping our communities involved in how decisions are made at the education standpoint," Mahmood said.

Part of AAAF's work includes making sure people understand voting materials. 

"With older Asian-American voters, oftentimes English is not their first language. So we're having to help them take a step further and help translate materials," she said. 

"There are a great deal of voters in Gwinnett County that speak Arabic, Urdu, Punjabi. There are other languages, not even just prominent for Asian Americans that often need language access," Mahmood continued.

Overall, Mahmood said their focus is to get voters registered and prepared for the polls. 

"We have to do that hard work to help correct some of that messaging, but also motivate people that they need to show up once again," she said.