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Community Partners

Asian American Organizing Project

As a community-supported public awareness campaign, UnRestrict Minnesota is driven by the solidarity and leadership of its community partners. Together, these advocates, health care providers, lawyers, union members, artists, and concerned citizens are advancing every Minnesotan’s right to access abortion care in our state.

Founded in 2016, Asian American Organizing Project (AAOP) is a nonpartisan, nonprofit organization founded to empower young Asian Minnesotans to create systems change toward an equitable, conscious, and just society. In 2019, AAOP joined the UnRestrict Minnesota coalition. Through a gender justice and critical cultural lens, AAOP addresses issues impacting young Asian Minnesotan communities through youth participatory action research, grassroots organizing and canvassing, and a narrative shift to co-create community change.

  • connecting young people with their elders

    We believe that power exists in those intergenerational conversations, and connecting the potential and energy of young people with the knowledge and experience of their elders to dismantle barriers to care, combat disinformation, and build justice for the newest generation of folks.

    - Michelle Vohs


Below, AAOP’s gender justice organizer, Michelle Vohs, shares a little bit about why AAOP is a member of the UnRestrict Minnesota coalition.

Could you tell us a little bit about your work?

At AAOP, we work with youth and young people to make sure that they have the resources to make the decisions that are best for their bodies, whether that’s gender-affirming care, reproductive justice, bodily autonomy for themselves, or for their communities. Health care is already a challenging field to navigate as a young person, and being at the intersection of marginalized identities can make it even more challenging—and that’s not even taking into consideration the cultural barriers that many people in the Asian diaspora face. Through our work, we hope to shift barriers to care and misconceptions or negative connotations around health care, building safe spaces for young people to talk about things that matter to them and their health, whether that’s mental health, gender and sexual identity, abortion access, or access to contraception. Through our young people, we hope to make space for more intergenerational conversations, to connect with elders in our communities, and ultimately to make things easier for the next generation of folks who will come after us. We are able to connect with our community via gender and reproductive justice events (workshops, journaling events, Q & A panels, etc.) and participatory action research projects, all of which are led by our reproductive justice program leaders. These events and projects allow us to further identify supporters and continue to base-build and activate community members for change.

Why is this work important to take on in Minnesota?

We work particularly in the Metro area and the Twin Cities, and we have a very diverse community here; and of course, the Asian American diaspora itself is very diverse. So we want to make sure that there is an organization here in Minnesota that can advocate for those different needs, to tell our unique stories, to make sure that our policymakers are representing for us, and to provide our young people with the tools and resources they need to vote and mobilize their own communities and networks.

Why did you join the UnRestrict Minnesota coalition?

We joined in 2019 shortly after launching AAOP’s Gender Justice program. UnRestrict Minnesota has an amazing network of supporters, and we joined to represent our communities and their needs. As community organizers who are on the ground and in community with our base and our supporters, we have an important perspective, and as a coalition member, we are able to advocate for our community, to have a voice at the table, take part in building inclusive messaging, and combat disinformation. And I think that’s why this coalition is here: together, we can expand and reach into many nuanced and culturally-specific communities that one organization doesn’t necessarily have the capacity to reach by themselves.

Combating disinformation in our communities was another reason that we joined UnRestrict Minnesota. We know that this coalition has medically accurate, evidence-based resources to share with our base, and through this coalition we can make sure that our base has the information to make the decisions that are best for those bodies. We are also able to provide our base with resources from other coalition members like Just the Pill or Our Justice. Having those partners at our fingertips is really helpful for us when our communities are seeking direct services or abortion support funding.

What is your vision for achieving full reproductive justice in Minnesota?

We want to make sure that young people have the tools to thrive and not just survive, and activate them to make change in their own communities. Young people’s influence can expand to their aunties, their parents, their cousins, the elders in their family—people that can be hard for an organization to logistically reach, particularly with language and cultural barriers. The Asian diaspora is so wide, there are so many languages and nuances—and many aunties or elders, and even young people may not trust an organization they aren’t familiar with, or that doesn’t have people that are from their community. They may not listen to an organization, but they might listen to their niece or their nephew, or friends if they’re saying, “Hey, this is really important. This is why we should care, this is why we should vote, this is why we should advocate for this kind of change in our community.” We believe that power exists in those intergenerational conversations, and connecting the potential and energy of young people with the knowledge and experience of their elders to dismantle barriers to care, combat disinformation, and build justice for the newest generation of folks. We’re proud of the successes that we’ve already had in expanding abortion access and pulling down some bans in Minnesota through that solidarity already. This is a super inspiring and hopeful time for us.

How can people get engaged with your work?

At AAOP, we have a very robust civic engagement program that works primarily with the youth and young Asian population here in the Twin Cities. We have a voter engagement and education program for young potential voters, and a youth program that works to politically engage our young people through participation as program leaders on our teams, including the civic engagement team, or the reproductive justice team.

One thing that’s on the horizon is also our first-ever efforts in issue-based canvassing, and one of the issues we want to focus on is reproductive justice. We’re really hoping that we can get Asian people talking to other Asian community members at the door or on the phones to get a better baseline understanding of what people know and where there are gaps in understanding about reproductive justice and health care.

Additionally, the Gender & Reproductive Justice Team and AAOP as a whole always have opportunities for youth and young people to gain leadership and on the ground community experience through our seasonal internships and fellowships. Our social media and newsletter always have the most up-to-date opportunities to join AAOP, and plenty of ways to plug in. We encourage people to volunteer, become a sustaining donor, or support the UnRestrict Minnesota coalition–all those are great options! To tap directly into our reproductive justice work, reach out to us at

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