April 2019 - In This Issue:
Dear SEARAC supporters,

Today, April 30th, marks the 44th anniversary of the fall of Saigon and the end of the Vietnam War -- a pivotal moment in history that led more than a million refugees from Laos, Cambodia, and Vietnam to flee their homes and resettle in America. Among those who fled in search of safe haven were my parents who arrived in the United States as boat people. Today, I remember their courage and honor their resilience and bravery to survive the trauma of war and persecution, risking their lives so that I could be free. It's been more than four decades since Southeast Asian refugees came to America, and I continue to be proud and inspired by how powerfully our community has grown in our fight for equity, justice, and self-determination. On this 44th anniversary, SEARAC sends our hopes for healing and love to light our path forward for the season ahead. 

In partnership,


CA advocacy
SEARAC's California team and partners have been closely monitoring California's legislative activities throughout the month of March and April, and will continue into May as bills move from committee to appropriations. Through the leadership of Chinese for Affirmative ActionCalifornia Rural Legal Assistance Foundation and SEARAC have continued to advocate for an effective California census language access plan, especially for small language groups and non-written language communities. The plan is scheduled to be released today.
On April 12, 2019, SEARAC's California team hosted an abridged advocacy training with staff from Fresno Interdenominational Refugee Ministries Stone Soup Fresnoand The Fresno Centerto build the advocacy muscle of their program staff in order to conduct effective district visits educating the offices of Fresno state policymakers on education and health issues impacting the Southeast Asian American communities in Fresno. Together, we visited the offices of Assemblymember Joaquin Arambula (D-31) Assemblymember Jim Patterson (D-23) Sen. Andreas Borgeas (D-8)and Sen. Melissa Hurtado (D-14).

Please see the full list of bills SEARAC is monitoring in California.


Counting our communities
Early this month, a federal court in Maryland issued a decision  to block the addition of a citizenship question to the 2020 Census, supporting prior decisions made in New York and California courts. The case finally made it to the Supreme Court on April 23, where oral arguments commenced. Community groups and advocates rallied in Washington, DC, to demonstrate widespread opposition to the addition of this question that would keep many immigrant and refugee communities afraid and invisible. SEARAC will continue to monitor the progress on a final decision in the Supreme Court. Consider signing our census pledge form if you plan to participate and watch our webinar to learn how to mobilize your community to get counted.

Expanding census translations in SEAA languages
Rep. Lori Trahan (MA-3) is coordinating a congressional sign-on letter to the Census Bureau urging the addition of translated phone and online support in Khmer, Laotian, and Hmong (in addition to the already existing support for Vietnamese translations) for the 2020 Census. Join us in reaching out to your congressional representative and urge them to sign onto this letter by May 3 to strengthen the ability of many limited English proficient Southeast Asian American community members and elders to be counted.


Battle over ACA continues
Following the Trump Administration's recent efforts to invalidate the entire Affordable Care Act (ACA) including protections for those with pre-existing conditions, the House Energy and Commerce Committee favorably reported six bills that would strengthen access and affordability of the ACA. Senate Republicans also introduced a new bill this month. While they claim it would protect people with pre-existing conditions, in reality, it would overturn protections for these individuals to access affordable, quality care though the ACA. Click here for more information.


Census impact on SEAA students
Like with many other programs that help our communities, funding for education stands to be at risk if a citizenship question is added to the 2020 Census. This includes funding for the National School Lunch Program; Title I funding, which supports our most vulnerable students in high-poverty communities; funding for special education; and the Head Start program, which provides early childhood education and development services for low-income families. A  brief filed by the Council of the Great City Schools estimates that a population undercount caused by a citizenship question may result in more than $151 million in misallocated funding for Title I. Another brief by the National School Boards Association emphasizes the importance of an accurate count for public school funding because of the nearly 6 million children who live with an undocumented family member--and this number does not account for children who are undocumented themselves. These estimates further show the compounding negative effects a citizenship question will have on our communities across the country.


Speaking engagements
Earlier in the month, SEARAC spoke at the Freedom Walk in DC, hosted by the National Japanese American Memorial Foundation. The engagement focused on the internment of Japanese Americans during WWII and its connection to modern day immigration policies, particularly those that separate immigrant and refugee families. SEARAC staff spoke at the Japanese American Citizenship League (JACL) - OCA Leadership and Advocacy Summit, highlighting the importance of combating Southeast Asian deportations, and the 19th annual   Hmong National Development  Conference's plenary, "Building Immigrant Communities' Political Will and Power in the Era of Trump." Several SEARAC staff also presented workshops on advocacy, health, and immigration. 

#Fix96 Revisited webinar
Families for Freedom, Immigrant Defense Project, Immigrant Justice Network, Immigrant Legal Resource Center, National Immigration Project of the National Lawyers Guild, and SEARAC held a webinar highlighting the need to end mass detention and deportations by repealing segments of the 1996 immigration laws the expanded enforcement of immigrant communities. The webinar featured immigration rights activist and former SEARAC staffer Lundy Khoy as one of the speakers, and highlighted a letter to Congress pushing for the introduction of legislation repealing the aforementioned laws. Click here to watch. 


Your response is needed

Are you 18 years or older and provide any type of physical, emotional, and/or financial support to a relative, friend, or neighbor who is 55 or older who needs assistance due to ongoing health problems or disabilities? If so, please consider filing out this  online survey  to help inform a study on elder caregiving in diverse communities. 

SEARAC in partnership with the Diverse Elders Coalition is conducting a study with Asian American, Latino, Black, American Indian, Alaskan Native, and LGBTQ communities to understand the unique needs, motivators, and challenges that our communities face in elder caregiving. Survey participants are those who provide care in person or remote, in the same household or in different households. Helping someone who is far away could be done by telephone, mail, or email, and care can be anything from helping with household chores to emotional support.

 Your survey answers will be combined with 800 others who are similarly supporting a relative or friend. The survey takes 20-30 minutes to complete and you will be entered into a raffle to win a $25 Target virtual gift card (20 winners will be selected), if chosen. 

T he deadline for survey completion is May 10The current survey is translated in Vietnamese, HmongLaoand Cambodian. Please share with your networks, far and wide, to ensure Southeast Asian American voices are represented!

Apply for 2020 Census jobs
Expanding the pool of culturally and linguistically competent enumerators across the country will be key to ensuring that Southeast Asian American communities are reached and counted in the 2020 Census. Help your community get counted while earning extra income by applying for census jobs today!  

SEARAC is a national civil rights organization that empowers Cambodian, Laotian, and Vietnamese American communities to create a socially just and equitable society. As representatives of the largest refugee community ever resettled in the United States, SEARAC stands together with other refugee communities, communities of color, and social justice movements in pursuit of social equity. 
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