Recently, the Association for Asian American Studies (AAAS) board decided to move its 2018 conference from Nashville, TN. Undeniably, this decision – made in response to anti-LGBT state politics – was the right one given that the AAAS is dedicated to social justice, civil rights, and human rights.
We are now faced with a profound financial crisis that threatens the very viability of our association. To move our conference, we were forced – due to hotel contract – to pay a considerable sum that constituted roughly half of the association’s total operational budget. As an organization largely run by volunteers, we use our operational monies to host mentoring workshops, and graduate student travel, along with day-to-day conference activities. Indeed, the majority of our funds are spent on and come from our annual conference.
Our decision to move the conference was easy given that we are invested and committed to the rights of all our members. But, financially, we knew that we would be faced with very real challenges. In sum, the AAAS is in a very precarious position and faces a very real possibility of dissolution due to economic instability.
Expressly, we are presently facing a $45,000 shortfall. This is considerable but – with support from our membership and others – manageable. For example, if 700 individuals donated $50 each, we would be able to raise $35,000. If we surpassed our initial target amount by $15,000, we would be in a much more secure position to move future conferences, as we face an especially unpredictable era and need may again arise. And, the more money we raise, the more we can do for our membership, particularly with regard to continuing our mentoring initiatives and offsetting travel costs.
Your help at this critical moment is desperately needed. We have begun a GoFundMe campaign and sadly do not have the benefit of time. Your support is needed right now.