July 2020 - In This Issue:

COVID-19 Critical Relief Fund 
Through your generous support, SEARAC raised a total of $2,078 for our COVID-19 Critical Relief Fund, which will be split between National Korean American Service & Education Consortium (NAKASEC) and the Southeast Asian Freedom Network (SEAFN). 

NAKASEC's COVID-19 mutual aid emergency fund was created specifically for low-income undocumented immigrants and families excluded from COVID-19 government aid packages.  " Thanks to  all the donors and supporters , we were able to distribute cash assistance to over 150 folks who were ineligible for government aid due to their immigration status," said Jung Woo Kim, organizing director at NAKASEC. "That's 150 people in 11 different states who didn't just receive financial assistance, but whose lives were changed through our community power.

SEAFN's fund fights for the release of detained community members, who are especially vulnerable to COVID-19 infection due to detention conditions. Regarding the multiple pandemics the Cambodian and Southeast Asian community are facing during this time, Sarath Suong, national director of SEAFN, pointed out, "The deadly contradictions of American democracy that's built on slave labor and indigenous genocide is laid bare for all of us and the world to see. Your support helps us forge a way forward for all Southeast Asians committed to a world without police, prisons, and borders. This new world is on the horizon, and we have to be ready."

Those wishing to support these organizations' COVID-19 relief efforts further can do so by visiting NAKASEC and SEAFN (*Give in honor of: SEAFN).


SEAAs, immigrants excluded in latest COVID relief bill
Unveiled Monday by Senate Republican leadership, the Health; Economic assistance; Liability protection; and Schools (HEALS) Act continues to exclude millions of individuals living mixed immigration status households from receiving financial relief, increasing financial constraints for over 100,000 undocumented Southeast Asian Americans. The HEALS Act also includes significant funding for Customs and Border Protection and legal protections for businesses and schools while decreasing overall relief and support for Americans. SEARAC rejects this bill and will continue working with community members and Congress to pass a proper relief package. 

SEAA college student survey
SEARAC wants to hear from you about how COVID-19 has affected your higher education experience. Take our 5-minute survey here!

NCAPA community listening sessions on education
This summer, join the National Council of Asian Pacific Americans, of which SEARAC is a member, for a series of virtual listening sessions on education and Covid-19 for Asian American, Native Hawaiian, and Pacific Islander communities. We want to hear from you and offer this space to uplift your stories. Click here to register. 

Trump Administration takes steps to end DACA
On July 28, the Department of Homeland Security released a memorandum announcing that the department would consider ending the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals Program (DACA), despite the recent Supreme Court ruling reinstating the program. The memo will reject all initial DACA applications and limit renewals and work authorizations to one year, among other changes. SEARAC remains committed to the more than 100,000 undocumented Southeast Asian Americans and will continue to work with our partners to preserve the DACA program until our country can create a robust pathway to citizenship for all immigrants. 

NO BAN Act passes House  
Last week, the U.S. House of Representatives passed the historic National Origin-Based Antidiscrimination for Nonimmigrants (NO BAN) Act by a 233-183 vote. Introduced by Rep. Judy Chu, the bill would repeal President Trump's discriminatory travel ban on citizens of 13 countries and limit the president's power to place such sweeping bans in the future. The NO BAN Act is a clear response to Trump's xenophobic Muslim Ban, and it would ensure no one can be banned from our country based on religion ever again. SEARAC stands united in urging Congress to pass H.R. 2214 NO BAN Act to ensure the Trump Administration's agenda of discrimination can go no further.

New legislation affirms basic rights in immigration proceedings
The Access to Counsel Act, a bill sponsored by Rep. Pramila Jayapal, also passed the House last week. The bill would ensure those detained by immigration officials in airports, at the border, and under other specific circumstances have the right to access legal help. The bill would also:
  • Require the Department of Homeland Security to ensure that people with valid travel documents who present themselves at the border, airports, can communicate with legal counsel if they are subjected to prolonged inspection.  
  • Allow counsel the ability to advocate on behalf of the individual by providing information or documentation in support of the individual.

Announcing SEARAC Virtual Training Program
SEARAC will be hosting its first ever Virtual Training Program, scheduled for September 2020. The Virtual Training comes in lieu of SEARAC's annual Leadership & Advocacy Training (LAT), which was canceled this year in light of the COVID-19 pandemic. This program will provide community members with an opportunity to share virtual space, learn about current key policy priorities for the Southeast Asian American community, and build momentum for civic engagement opportunities in the year 2020.  Further updates will be housed on SEARAC's LAT website. For more information, contact SEARAC Field Associate Gina Le at

Welcome our new team member!
SEARAC is pleased to announce the addition of Nary Rath as our new Immigration Policy Advocate. In her roleNary will. be monitoring immigration policies impacting the Southeast Asian community and managing immigration-specific programs and convenings. She will advance SEARAC's legislative goals and immigration priorities by coordinating and participating in key immigration meetings with congressional and administrative stakeholders. Happy to have you on board, Nary!

Staff blog

Learn more about how life has come " Full Circle" for our new Director of California Mandy Diec, in the latest post to SEARAC's blog. Mandy shares, " Almost 30 years ago, my family and I left Vietnam for a new home country that represented the opportunity for equality, growth, and new beginnings. For most of my life however, the difficulties and struggles we endured challenged that notion and the socioeconomic insecurities that our communities faced were often unrecognized and left out of the social justice conversation.Read her  full post  here .

Nominate a youth leader

Youth leaders have been true agents of change in California, creating positive momentum and ushering social progress. Now is the chance to help recognize both young leaders and organizations who raise up young leaders in your community. Click here to nominate them for the 2020 @tceyouthawards �� before the deadline on August 9th.

Lao Youth Forums: Community Conversation for Black Lives  
Lao Youth Forums is hosting a workshop series addressing anti-Blackness and the Black Lives Matter movement within the Lao community on August 4 and 5. This series will provide Lao youth (ages 14-26) a safe space to learn, unpack, and express their feelings regarding the recurring events of our country. Facilitators will provide tangible tools on how to uplift the Black Lives Matter movement in support of our Black friends, families, and colleagues and address the deeply-rooted Anti-Blackness that has been historically prevalent in Asian American and Lao culture.  If you are interested in being part of the workshop and community conversation, sign up here. For more information, contact

Share your #AActivated story

As the fastest-growing population, AAPI stories and votes matter now more than ever! Ensure that Southeast Asian American voices are heard by submitting a short video with your personal story and #AActivated message to encourage other AAPI and SEAA voters. Join the campaign at

Survey on COVID-19 impact in LGBTQ+ populations
The Center for Health, Identity, Behavior, and Prevention Studies (CHIBPS) is conducting a survey to better understand how the COVID-19 pandemic is impacting the health of the lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer (LGBTQ+) population in the United States. Responses are confidential, and respondents must be 18 or older. Take 10 minutes to participate and help include SEAA LGBTQ+ experiences in this important research. Click here to read more and get started. 

In case you missed it

Inspired by the important work Southeast Asian American, Asian American, and Pacific Islander leaders are spearheading to move our communities in support of Black leadership, SEARAC launched a Solidarity Resource Hub last month that highlights their impactful work and ways we can all get involved. Check it out 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