Advocacy and Civic Engagement

We help our newest Americans to take charge of their own destinies by creating opportunities for them to have voice through advocacy and civic engagement. Through advocacy, we can educate and influence policy and legislation as well as increase knowledge of how government works. Citizenship begins with naturalization but continues as we help create a pathway to become involved in community.


RISNW educates elected officials and policy makers on needs and issues facing refugees and immigrants. We participate in various advocacy efforts with other groups for collective impact through Asian Pacific Islander Coalition (APIC) and the Tri-County Refugee Planning Advocacy Committee, etc.

Each year since 1997, RISNW mobilizes an average of 150 refugees and immigrants annually (3 buses) to go to Olympia. There they meet their legislators and voice their concerns at the annual Asian Pacific Islander legislative day.


For the past 3 years, we have organized Get Out to Vote Campaigns targeting refugees and immigrants. This includes organizing ballot parties and other activities to encourage voter registration and voting. We average 400 pledge cards from voters, help obtain replacement ballots and call people to remind them to vote.


The 2020 census is providing RISNW with a new opportunity to engage and mobilize refugee and immigrant communities. This is the first time RISNW has been funded to conduct census related community engagement activities. We received two grants, one from the WA Census Equity Fund managed by Philanthropy Northwest and the second from an anonymous funder.

The goal is to increase the participation of historically hard-to-reach and undercounted populations in the 2020 census. We are implementing this important effort targeting 15 ethnic communities in Snohomish, Skagit and Whatcom Counties with a team of 29 trusted community leaders/members, natural leaders and RISNW staff. Activities include:

  • Outreach and mobilizing activities

  • Community education about the importance of being counted in the census

  • Orientation and help completing the census. Access to computer labs to complete the census on line

  • Bilingual assistance and follow up

Why is it important to be counted in 2020? The census is used to determine community needs and resource allocations to State and local jurisdictions. In addition, census data is used by policy makers, funders, businesses, community organizations and others for a variety of purposes.

For help with the census or additional information, click to contact Kamal.

Be Counted in 2020!