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CAPI USA offers help and support while elevating community voices

This Twin Cities nonprofit offers unique support to AAPI communities, immigrants and refugees on this week's "Communities that KARE."

MINNEAPOLIS, Minnesota — On Communities that KARE, we introduce you to the people, organizations, and businesses making a difference.

This week we're featuring CAPI USA, formerly known as the "Center for Asians and Pacific Islanders." It's an organization dedicated to lifting up immigrants, refugees, and communities of color. 

"As an immigrant, I worked at different places, but when I joined CAPI, I felt like this is my home place," said Ekta Prakash, CEO of CAPI USA. 

For more than a decade, Prakash helped expand her new home into a thriving community. "We have 31 staff at CAPI, and all together, we speak 15 different languages," she said. 

CAPI started as an Asian community food shelf in the early '80s and is now a multifaceted organization in the Twin Cities. The team helps immigrants, refugees, and communities of color with things like food and housing assistance, finding employment, navigating insurance, even tax preparation. When describing the staff, Prakash said, "They're connected with the community, they speak the language, and they have the trust."

But in the last couple of weeks, CAPI started offering much-needed emotional support for their clients. "We were making sure we were checking with them that, you know, they are safe. If they have any kind of fear or anxiety and if they are witnessing any kind of hate crime," explained Prakash.

CAPI recently joined the Asian Minnesota Alliance for Justice for a streaming event focusing on the unheard stories of hate in the AAPI communities. CAPI wants to help to raise those voices, and ensure their stories aren't dismissed and swept aside. CAPI's team also wants to hear from other demographics as well. "I think it's important not just saying for the AAPI, and communities of color and our Black brothers and sisters, or our Latinx community or our Native American, but also for the white communities. What kind of community and society do they want to live in? This is not what America is for," said Prakash. 

CAPI has an urgent need right now for volunteers, especially at its curbside food shelves. They are serving four times the usual amount of folks since the pandemic. There's also a need for phone companions who speak Hmong and other languages to connect with seniors.

Connect with CAPI by visiting its website, Facebook, and other social media channels to learn how to volunteer and donate.