API Chaya formed from the merger of two organizations in 2011: the Asian & Pacific Islander Women & Family Safety Center and Chaya. Both organizations were founded in the mid-1990's and served Asian women experiencing domestic violence and sexual assault. Both organizations were deeply rooted in their communities and had long supported each other. By combining resources, we are able to provide robust services for survivors of domestic violence, sexual assault, and human trafficking. We now serve a broader Asian and Pacific Islander community - including East Asian and South Asian women.
The Safety Center grew out of organizing within the Filipino community in 1993 sponsored by the Washington State Commission on Asian American Affairs out of concern for the prevalence of violence against women in their community, including several murders of Asian Pacific women. The Safety Center hired staff in 1997 to work with community groups to organize for justice and social change.
Chaya - "shelter" or "shade" in Sanskrit - was established in 1996 to serve South Asian women in times of crisis and need, and to raise awareness of domestic violence issues. Chaya was founded as a volunteer-led organization to fill a critical gap in services for women who are survivors in King County's burgeoning South Asian community.