Howard Chou: Equity and Inclusion at the Helm
“My first memory of being politically active was when I was about 16 during the Rodney King civil unrest back in 1991. That was my first exposure to racism within the system. Looking back, I wish we had the Black Lives Matter movement then and we could have worked on systemic change for the last 30 years.”
Vice Chair of the Colorado Democratic Party
Co-Founder/Chair, Asian American Pacific Islander Initiative of Colorado Democrats
Howard Chou recalls speaking at City Hall in San Mateo, Calif. about the injustice that Rodney King had suffered.
Since he can remember, he has always been fighting for social justice—either through his work or through contributing to political activities.
In recent years, he has taken his political and civic engagement to another level by being elected into a leadership role with the Democratic Party.
Chou was first elected as the Vice Chair of the Colorado Democratic Party in December of 2018. As the only Asian American to hold any elected political party position in Colorado, the opportunity to lead in this role means a lot to him.
“I am both proud and honored because I have an opportunity continue to bring our values of equity and inclusion to the forefront and continue to expand our base and elect leaders who truly represent the people,” he said.
This role also allows him to serve on the Democratic National Committee (DNC), which he takes great pride in representing Colorado on the national scene. Re-elected in March 2019, he is completing his two-year term and running for re-election in March of this year. Furthermore, he was elected as the Trea- surer for the Association of State Democratic Committee (a branch of the DNC).
Born in Shanghai, Chou immigrated to the U.S. in 1980. His grandmother was a refugee granted asykum and was able to sponsor his parents, brother and him into the U.S. Chou spent his younger years in the San Francisco Bay Area, before moving to Kansas in 2003, and then to Colorado in 2007.
“Most of what shaped my perspective was being in lower income areas in a very diverse Bay Area where I would spend a lot of my time in other families’ homes,” he said.
These experiences have fueled his passion to advance racial justice and civil rights, climate care, immigrant and human rights, and healthcare for everyone.
With this new administration, Chou believes in President Biden’s plan to address the pandemic and contain the virus.
“We have, for the first time, a strategic plan in place and the necessary leadership to address it by consulting with medical and scientific experts and effectively put wheels in motion to stop the spread.”
He continues: “I am looking forward to preserving our planet again; Biden has put us back in the Paris Agreement, revoked the permit for the Keystone XL Pipeline and put a moratorium on oil and gas leasing in the Arctic. But we need to continue to protect our environment and exercise climate care.”
Chou makes it a point to stay up to date on immigration issues. He believes there must be a humane handling of immigrants, who make the backbone of this nation. And he is looking for real systemic changes for racial justice and equity.
One way to move the needle on equity is to engage communities of color to vote and get involved politically. He is working on increasing AAPI voter engagement as well as helping with outreach to voters in rural and mountain towns in Colorado.