Community Spotlight
The Right to Heal: Centering Mental Health Multi-Racial Equity
The California Pan-Ethnic Health Network, in collaboration with SEARAC and the California Black Health Network, Latino Coalition for a Healthy California, and California Consortium for Urban Indian Health invite you to register for our "Right to Heal: Centering Mental Health in Multi-Racial Equity in California" statewide virtual event on Sept. 22 at 10 am PT. Attendees will be entered into a drawing to win gift cards!

The Right to Heal will be an opportunity for our partners to:
  • Share their local mental health findings with policymakers and stakeholders
  • Break down systemic barriers in mental health by centering BIPOC needs
  • Build and strengthen community
  • Inspire community members to take action and stay engaged in mental health advocacy
Mental health impacts of Anti-Asian hate
"It has been over three months since the series of mass shootings in Atlanta, Georgia that killed eight people, six of whom were Asian American women. I am still tired, I am still processing, and I am still in pain."

SEARAC's Director of California, Mandy Diec, has written a powerful essay about the mental health impacts of anti-Asian hate and violence. Our friends at have published Mandy's piece, just in time for National Minority Mental Health Awareness Month.
Mental health needs might not be met in Asian communities
new study by the UCLA Center for Health Policy Research sheds light on the unmet mental health needs among adults across Asian ethnic groups in California. In the survey, 51% of the state’s Asian adults who identified a need for services did not receive the mental health care they needed. Among Asian adults, 78% of Vietnamese adults reported having serious or moderate psychological distress and unmet need(s) for mental health care. The data vary widely among different ethnic groups, and these disparities suggest that state and local mental health agencies may need to do more to provide certain California communities with better information about recognizing, seeking, and accessing mental health support.
HHS: 2019 Public Charge Rule is no longer in effect
The US Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) recently issued an informational bulletin reaffirming that the 2019 Public Charge Final Rule is no longer in effect. Accessing public benefit programs, such as Medicaid, will not impact determination of an individual's immigration status. SEARAC encourages eligible individuals to access the benefits to which they and their families are entitled. For more information, see the HHS press release or the Centers for Medicare and CHIP Services informational bulletin
Updates on House Spending Bill
The House Appropriations Committee recently passed “Fiscal Year 2022 Labor, Health and Human Services, Education, and Related Agencies Funding Bill.” This bill would provide $102.8 billion in funding for the Education Department, which would include $36 billion for Title I spending, a $3.1 billion increase in special education funding, and would provide for raising the maximum Pell Grant award by $400. Additionally, undocumented students who are protected from deportation by the Deferred Action for Childhoods Arrivals program would also be made eligible for federal student aid, including Pell Grants. 
New scholarship opportunity from AT&T and Udacity
AT&T and Udacity are proud to announce a new scholarship opportunity designed to provide hands-on learning in fields like Business Analytics, Programming, and Full Stack Web Development. The tech industry comprises some of the highest growth, most in-demand careers today. However, diverse representation in these organizations continues to lag. We are committed to the empowerment of underrepresented communities and want to provide opportunities to those who would not otherwise have them. AT&T will be awarding 175 scholarships, and Southeast Asian American community members are encouraged to apply. The deadline to submit an application is 11:59pm PT on Aug 12.
Federal guidance on safe return to school
The Department of Education (ED) encourages schools and districts to include stakeholders in a collaborative effort to reopen schools through town halls, surveys, and reaching out to stakeholder groups and community organizations. ED also recommends providing information through multiple languages and formats. The latest guidance on returning to school was issued on July 14th. Some highlights from this guidance includes:

  • Recommendations for schools to implement a “layered” prevention strategy for those who are unvaccinated. This refers to using multiple prevention/mitigation strategies together. Prevention strategies are to be determined by level of community transmissions, vaccine coverage, screening, COVID-19 outbreaks, and ages of children served. These strategies should include ongoing physical distancing, frequent handwashing, cleaning and disinfection, ventilation, wearing masks correctly, screening and testing for COVID-19, staying home if tested positive, and increased vaccination.
  • Vaccinations for eligible individuals to prevent COVID-19. ED recommends vaccinations for all staff and children ages 12 and older, per CDC guidance. 
  • Masks should be worn indoors by everyone age 2 and older who are not fully vaccinated. This includes on school buses, however, masks are not required outdoors. 

Upcoming Department of Education events

Parent Town Hall with the Department of Education
Thursday, July 29, 2021 from 8pm-9pm ET
This event will have representatives from the Department of Education and the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) to answer questions from parents and guardians on returning to school in the fall.
Support SEADDN petition to lift visa sanctions
The Southeast Asian Deportation Defense Network has launched a petition demanding President Biden and the of Department of Homeland Security lift the visa sanctions placed on mostly Southeast Asian and African countries under the Trump Administration. In particular, the petition focuses on how the Laos sanctions serve as an immigration ban preventing all forms of immigration to the US and preventing Hmong, Iu Mien, and Lao families from reuniting with each other.
President Biden Announces effort to return deported veterans
On July 2nd, President Biden announced an effort by the Department of Homeland Security and Department of Veteran Affairs to return deported veterans and their immediate families back to the United States. Currently, little detail about the program has been released to the public. SEARAC continues to urge the White House to expand the program to, at a minimum, include in its review process everyone who was deported under the Trump Administration. 
Staff Blog
Making the educational system work better for SEAA students
“As our nation’s students transition back to almost “normal” social interactions, activities, and classroom instruction after a year that has upended our education system, will our schools and communities be ready to support them?”

SEARAC’s new Education Policy Manager, Natalie Truong, has written a blog post about her excitement, apprehension, and determination around the new school year. As students return to classrooms after a year and a half of virtual learning, educators and communities must be prepared to support not just their academic achievements, but also their social-emotional development as well.
Meet our summer intern, Anna Dang
Anna (she/her) joined SEARAC as the communications intern in June. She recently graduated from the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor with a double major in American Culture (Ethnic Studies submajor) and Film, Television, & Media. As the daughter, granddaughter, and great granddaughter of refugees, she identifies as a second-generation Vietnamese American. 

Through organizing and art, Anna is inspired by abolitionist and transformative justice frameworks to forward collective liberation. On campus, she served as the president of the United Asian American Organizations, a founding organizer of the Students of Color Liberation Front coalition space, and the student representative of American Culture to push for her Ethnic Studies submajor. Outside of UMich, she has served as a part-time staff member of the Asian Pacific American Labor Alliance and a volunteer at Rising Voices. SEARAC is her first time officially organizing with Southeast Asian American as a political label, and she is excited to channel her experiences with Asian American student organizing and coalition building.

When she isn't organizing, Anna is often working her restaurant server job, fishkeeping, listening to showtunes, and looking up new dinosaur facts. She plans to move to Atlanta at the end of the summer and can't wait to see where that journey takes her.
Nguyen Ho models a SEARAC "Made by Refugees" t-shirt
Thank you for a successful T-shirt fundraiser!
Thank you, SEARAC community, for helping us raise more than $550 in support of our mission through our recent T-shirt fundraiser. Wear your refugee and immigrant pride, and tag us on social media @searac!
Child Tax Credit checks begin arriving this month
Starting July 15, millions of American families will automatically begin receiving monthly Child Tax Credit payments from the Treasury Department and the Internal Revenue Service. Eligible families will receive advance payments, either by direct deposit or check. Each payment will be up to $300 per month for each child under age 6 and up to $250 per month for each child ages 6 to 17. Payments will be issued on the 15th of each month through December 2021. To learn more about the Child Tax Credit or to verify your eligibility, visit the website.
Historic victories in the CA state budget
Governor Gavin Newsom signed a $262.6 billion state budget, which includes vital investments that support immigrant communities and takes steps to address the recent rise in hate incidents against Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders. 

The final 2021-2022 CA state budget extends Medi-Cal coverage to all income-eligible Californians ages 50 and above, regardless of their immigration status, beginning May 1, 2022. This historic move makes California the most inclusive state in the nation in terms of Medicaid eligibility. This win was possible thanks to years of tireless advocacy by the Health4All Coalition for a more equitable and inclusive safety net for all! 

Governor Newsom also signed the historic $156.5 million API Equity Budget. Sponsored by the API Legislative Caucus, the budget is among the most significant actions to date in response to the surge in anti-AAPI hate and violence over the past year. The measure would fund victim services and violence prevention, disaggregated data collection and analysis, safer schools for AAPI students, and more.
Let us know about your upcoming events
If you have an event or campaign that you would like SEARAC to promote to our communities, please fill out this form to let us know! We recommend alerting us to your event at least two weeks in advance of the date to allow time for processing. If you have any questions about your submission, please email
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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