January 2019 - In This Issue:

National week of action
SEARAC partnered with the Asian Americans Advancing Justice affiliations, the Southeast Asian Freedom Network, and the Vietnamese Anti-Deportation Network to host a National Week of Action to End Southeast Asian deportations from January 19 - 28. More than 21 actions were held across the country, including a Twitterstorm using the hashtags #RefugeeResilience and #StopTheRaids. 

 On Jan. 24, SEARAC joined dozens of community activists in Sacramento, CA, at the California Supreme Court to protest its recent decision to deny the clemency applications of several SEAA community members without explanation. Activists then marched to the State Capitol to deliver a letter to Gov. Gavin Newsom and protest directly outside his office to demand that he prioritize deportation relief. Check out video footage from the demonstration.

National Week of Action to End Southeast Asian Deportations
National Week of Action to End
Southeast Asian Deportations


Graduation rates highlight need for disaggregated data
In late January, the federal government released the most recent  high school graduation rates. The national graduation rate increased slightly to a new high of 85.65%, while the rate for Asian/Pacific Islanders increased to 91.2%. However, this number shows nothing about the achievement of Southeast Asian American students, whose unique educational attainment and challenges are obscured by averages for all "Asian/Pacific Islanders."

A state-by-state breakdown of data on "Asians" and "Hawaiian Native/Pacific Islanders" shows that even between those two very broad student subgroups, significant educational gaps persist. For example, only 68% of Hawaiian Native/Pacific Islander students graduated in Washington, compared to 87.5% of Asian students and 85.3% of all "Asian/Pacific Islander" students. Nine states neglected to even provide data on the large subcategories, opting to only provide a graduation rate for the vast "Asian/Pacific Islander" category.

SEARAC  continues to advocate for the collection and reporting of disaggregated data because, as these graduation rates demonstrate, policymakers cannot know what additional resources and supports SEAA communities need to thrive without specific information on our communities. We already know from census data that from 2011 to 2015, 33.9% of Cambodian, 30.2% of Hmong, 30.2% of Lao, and 27.8% of Vietnamese adults over the age of 25 do not have a high school diploma, compared to 11.4% of white adults. Without disaggregated data, SEAAs and other AANHPI groups are made unseen and their unique circumstances and needs left unconsidered in important policy and programmatic decisions.


Senators stand against unjust deportations  
In late December,  Sens.  Mazie Hirono (D-HI) and Kamala Harris (D-CA), along with 13 other senators, sent a letter endorsed by SEARAC and other community organizations to the Department of Homeland Security. The letter urged the Administration to reexamine their arbitrary detention and deportation policies of Southeast Asian Americans. They also requested that the Administration restore protections for pre-'95 Vietnamese refugees. Interested individuals can join SEARAC's ongoing petition denouncing these unjust deportations.

Federal government shutdown ends 
On Friday, Jan. 25, President Trump and members of Congress passed a resolution to reopen the federal government after a 35-day shutdown. The deal would keep the government open until Feb. 15 and does not provide any funding for the president's border wall. SEARAC continues to oppose any package that further militarizes our borders by using taxpayer dollars to build an unnecessary wall.


Census funding and budget advocacy
In July 2018, former Gov. Jerry Brown passed California's budget committing $90 million for 2020 Census outreach. The California Government Operations Agency and the Census 2020 California Complete County Committee released two major requests for proposals (RFPs), including the  regional RFP (due Jan. 31)  and the  statewide RFP (due Feb. 15) . Please be encouraged to apply. 

This year, new Gov. Gavin Newsom allotted an additional $50 million in his proposed budget. SEARAC will be advocating along with the  Census Policy Advocacy Network and  Chinese for Affirmative Action to obtain the most appropriate census funding to ensure a complete Southeast Asian American complete count for the 2020 Census. 

Legislative support
On Jan. 18, The California State Assembly voted on Assembly Joint Resolution 1, which denounces any attempts by the US president to reinterpret or disregard the memorandum of understanding between the United States and Vietnam and urges that any changes to the agreement maintain the historic deportation protections for Vietnamese refugees. Sixty-nine state legislators have signed on as authors or co-authors of this resolution to show solidarity for the Southeast Asian American community in the face of deportations.


New blog post
SEARAC's California Policy Advocate Lee Lo is the latest staffer to add a reflection to our official blog.

In Healing my soul in Laos, Lee describes the emotional reunion between her uncles and her mom, who had been torn apart from each other during the Secret War. Their outpouring of love and affection defied cultural norms and opened up old wounds.

Calling all creators and innovators
The Adobe Creative Residency is a structured program that empowers talented individuals to spend a year focusing on a personal creative project, while sharing their experience and process with the creative community. Designed for applicants who are early in their creative careers, the program is a vehicle for residents  to make inspiring and innovative work, try new tools and workflows, refine their processes, and engage with others to share progress, discoveries, and outcomes. The deadline to apply is Feb. 7. For more information, click here

Leadership development opportunity
Applications are currently open for Culture of Health Leaders, a structured three-year program that offers leadership development for leaders from all sectors and is based on evidence, informed by experience, and grounded in principles of equity and social justice. Leaders come from the technology, education, housing, transportation, social sector, business, the arts, and countless other disciplines.
Applications close Feb. 20 at 3 pm ET. For more information, click here

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