Community Spotlight
Spotlight on SEARAC's Digital Advocacy Training 2022
This month, SEARAC welcomed a cohort of 43 rising advocates from 19 states and the District of Columbia to our 2022 Digital Advocacy Training (DAT). This year, our DAT program was once again conducted fully virtually, but we still spent a powerful week together learning to harness our collective power and use it to advocate for the needs of Southeast Asian Americans across the country.
Thank you to the six Congressional offices who met with our trainees to hear our stories and discuss the policies that will impact our lives! So many participants shared stories about their lives, families, and communities, with the goal of making change for this and future generations.

Melinda Dang, a participant in the health track of DAT, reminded us that "Health influences everything! If you’re not well, your community is not well." She and her fellow Health track participants demanded more healthcare access and in-language services for Southeast Asian Americans. Reflecting on her time at DAT, Melinda shared: "The opportunity to tell your story and discover the art of storytelling – plus the active listening to others’ stories – has no comparison. I found it easy to tell my story, I thought I would break down but I didn’t! Even if you aren’t yet ready to tell your own story, there is power in listening to and affirming each other."
Civic Engagement
California Transition Age Youth (TAY) mental health listening sessions
California’s Mental Health Services Oversight & Accountability Commission (MHSOAC) will be hosting two listening sessions on Tuesday, Aug. 2 and Thursday, Aug. 4 to gather information on the most effective approaches for advocacy on behalf of the mental health needs of Transition Age Youth (TAY). TAY, adult allies, youth-serving organizations, and other stakeholders have an opportunity to share input on TAY mental health experiences and how to enhance local participation, voice, and empowerment. Interested participants can check out the MHSOAC events page or subscribe to their listserv for registration information to come.
CA budget includes historic investment in higher education
This month, CA Gov. Gavin Newsom signed the 2022-23 state budget with significant investments in education. The state budget includes $16 million to the California Community College and California State University systems to provide culturally competent support programs for underserved AANHPI students, including mental health services, career development support, ethnic studies and curriculum development, and cultural learning communities. $5 million is also provided for Asian-language bilingual teacher education programs to build a pipeline of dual-language teachers, support English learners, and increase cultural competency and awareness amongst students.
New in-language factsheets on Health4All Older Adults
On May 1, Health4All Older Adults, also known as Older Adult Expansion, was launched in California, allowing all eligible Californians 50 years of age or older to access free full-scope Medi-Cal regardless of immigration status. The Health Consumer Alliance (HCA) has developed a fact sheet to help Californians understand how to register for Medi-Cal and answer frequently asked questions about Health4All Older Adults.

You can access the fact sheet in the following Southeast Asian languages:

  • Vietnamese
  • Hmong
  • Lao
  • Cambodian
  • English

For more languages, see the Health Consumer Alliance website.
New California Office of Health Care Affordability 
A new California agency called the Office of Health Care Affordability (OHCA) has been formed to slow the rate of future cost of growth for working families and to make healthcare more affordable. The OHCA's $30 million budget includes examining the health market as a whole by collecting data on expenditures, which includes medication, doctor appointments, hospital care, and medical supplies.
SEARAC in the News
People gather for a rally protesting violence against Asian-Americans at Sara D. Roosevelt Park on February 14, 2022, in the Chinatown neighborhood in New York City. Photographer: Michael M. Santiago/Getty Images
SEARAC joins AANHPI partners and community at Unity March
On June 24, SEARAC was thrilled to join hundreds of community members at the Unity March in Washington, DC, to demand equity in health, education, and immigration for Asian American, Native Hawaiian, and Pacific Islander communities. Journalist Amy Yee previewed the event in an article for Bloomberg, which uplifted not just the organizers’ policy priorities and demand for equitable access to services during the COVID-19 pandemic, but also the parallel pandemic of anti-Asian hate that has plagued our communities.
Staff Blog
Photo courtesy of Janessa Thao
Janessa Thao shares reflections on family, Hmong identity
Janessa Thao, SEARAC’s summer Development Intern, shared a poetic and heartfelt reflection on a day with her grandma. “As I remember the past, I remember my life growing up with you every day and wishing I could relive it once more. To the matriarch of my family, my puj – kuv ncu koj, kuv hlub koj.” Read Janessa’s blog here.
Join AAD and CAPAL for their Summer Career Fair
The Asian American Dream, Inc. (AAD) and the Conference on Asian Pacific American Leadership (CAPAL) will host a Summer Career Fair from August 7th to August 14th. Throughout the week, AAD is providing workshops on interview and resume preparation as well as Q&A discussions on entering the workplace. A career fair will occur on August 14th from 10AM to 4PM ET featuring dozens of employers from private, public, and nonprofit sectors. Learn more and register here.
Tell SEARAC your health, education, and/or immigration story
Our stories are our strength. Southeast Asian American communities have shared histories and experiences that form the basis for SEARAC’s advocacy work. We center our community members’ stories of accessing healthcare and education, navigating the immigration system, caring for older adults and loved ones, and expressing our joy through food, music, art, and culture. It is through these stories that we make powerful, lasting change.

SEARAC wants to hear from you! If you have a story about your family’s refugee journey, your experiences with our policy priority areas (health, education, and/or immigration), or your engagement with SEARAC at our summits and training programs, fill out this form and we may use your story in our advocacy on Capitol Hill.
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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