August 2020 - In This Issue:

Photo credit: Cambodian Mutual Assistance Association

CMAA vote-by-mail win for the Cambodian community 
Lowell, MA is home to the second largest Cambodian population in the country, and the Cambodian Mutual Assistance Association (CMAA) has been providing essential support services to the community for over 35 years. Cambodian residents of Lowell recently received their vote-by-mail applications and found that Khmer translations were not included. CMAA partnered with Lawyers for Civil Rights to call on the Massachusetts Secretary of Commonwealth to fulfill the state's obligation to provide Khmer translated vote-by-mail applications for voters in Lowell. A second set of vote-by-mail applications, this time including Khmer translations, were promptly sent by the Secretary. Advocacy to ensure our communities receive the resources we need to have safe, adequate, and equal access to the ballot box this fall is more important than ever. Congratulations to CMAA and Lawyers for Civil Rights on this tremendous win for the community! Read their official press release here

Photo credit: Stone Soup Fresno

SEARAC, partners participate in national Census Week of Action
Alongside national and community-based partner organizations, SEARAC concluded August by participating in a nationwide week of action to remind households that time is running out to be counted in the 2020 Census. Highlights include Stone Soup Fresno's Census Spirit Week, a census-themed Facebook Live event hosted by our partners at the United Cambodian Community of Long Beach, and The Cambodian Family's census caravan! SEARAC continues to urge everyone to respond to the census online at, by phone, or by mail. The deadline to respond to be counted is Sept. 30, 2020.

Sign up to receive voter education updates and resources
Are you getting out the SEAA vote? Interested in receiving updates and resources for engaging SEAA communities for this year's election? Sign up for our dedicated listserv and resource hub for all things related to SEAA voter engagement and the 2020 election.

Save the Date: National Poll Worker Recruitment Day, Sept. 1
As coronavirus continues to impact Americans across the country, there has been a staggering decrease in the number of people who are able to work the polls -- which could mean closed polling places and long delays during the November election. Tomorrow, Tuesday, Sept. 1, is National Poll Worker Recruitment Day, and SEARAC is proud to partner with Power The Polls to help recruit a new generation of poll workers this November. Check out this video by Brave New Films on how you can help ensure a safe and fair election for ALL voters in your community and sign up to be a poll worker today!

Announcing SEARAC's First-Ever Digital Advocacy Training
SEARAC is proud to announce our first-ever Digital Advocacy Training, a week-long series of virtual training sessions designed to provide legislative knowledge and skills to advocate for the Southeast Asian American (SEAA) community and its unique needs.
This virtual training program is aimed at emerging SEAA advocates interested in gaining a deeper understanding of advocacy that is centered on the needs and experiences of our communities. Participants are welcome to register for as many (or as few) training sessions as they wish.

The trainings will be held over the week of September 21 through 25, 2020. Community members can register on our website. Capacity is limited, so we encourage you to register as soon as possible.

Ethnic studies required in the California State University System
On Aug 3, Gov. Newsom signed a bill into law mandating that students take ethnic studies as a graduation requirement within the California State University (CSU) system that comprises 23 campuses across the state. This bill supersedes a similar graduation requirement approved by the CSU Board of Trustees earlier this year, to ensure that the ethnic studies requirement is focused on the history, oppression, and contributions of four ethnic and racial groups: Asian Americans, African Americans, Latinx Americans, and Native Americans. Together, these four groups make up about two-thirds of California's population.

U.S. deports 30 Vietnamese community members
On Aug. 4, ICE removed 30 Vietnamese community members to Vietnam, including people previously thought to be protected under a 2008 bilateral agreement. The agreement between the United States and Vietnam had previously provided deportation protections for Vietnamese refugees who arrived in the United States prior to July 12, 1995. Instead of prioritizing the health and wellbeing of our country, ICE continues to arrest and detain community members without taking proper steps to keep immigrants and refugees safe from the coronavirus.

USCIS increases fees 
The United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) will raise the naturalization application fee from $640 to $1,170 effective Oct. 2. USCIS' new fee rule will put citizenship out of reach for millions of low-income immigrants across the U.S. Increasing fees for new naturalization, asylum, refugees and green card applicants during the COVID pandemic is cruel and unacceptable.

Staff blog

Our new Immigration Policy Associate, Nary Rath, shares her story of working as a social worker and navigating trauma and mental health issues within herself and her family. "Continued anti-immigrant racism and oppression perpetuated by the US government through discriminatory policies, from aggregated racial data to systematic deportation, exacerbates the barriers that prevent SEAA communities from thriving. Poor access to culturally and linguistically appropriate health care in this country furthers the severity of these conditions, making the cycles of trauma difficult to break and healing out of reach for many." Read Nary's powerful story here.

Study on Vietnamese parental health decisions
Huyen Trang and Kim Truong-Vu, Vietnamese PhD candidates at the University of Colorado Boulder, are conducting a research project on the decision making process behind Vietnamese parents' health related decisions. The study has a focus on health disparities that affect the Vietnamese community and seeking participants who live in Orange County or Los Angeles area. The interviews will be done remotely and participants will be compensated with an Amazon gift card. Sign up here or contact the researchers directly at [email protected] or [email protected].

Let us know about your upcoming events
If you have an event or campaign that you would like SEARAC to promote to the community, fill out this Google Form to let us know! We recommend submissions are entered at least two weeks in advance of the event date to allow time for processing and scheduled uplift. To follow up regarding your requests, please email [email protected].

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. 
Find out more at