Community Spotlight
Rex (top row, third from left) and his fellow LAT participants. (Photo courtesy of Rex Yin)
Pride in our authentic selves
In honor of Pride Month, SEARAC Leadership and Training (LAT) program alumni Raksmeymony “Rex” Yin wrote a beautiful and powerful blog post embracing his identity as a 1.5-generation queer Cambodian American educator. “This year’s Philadelphia Pride Parade will be my first pride event ever. I am not only showing up for myself; I am attending to be visible and demonstrate my intersectional freedom to be my authentic self.”

Rex argues that we must center SEAA communities’ joy while also acknowledging – and addressing – the disparities that still exist. Read more from Rex on the SEARAC blog here.
Support SEARAC
SEARAC tote bags and T-shirts now available
In honor of World Refugee Day, SEARAC is re-launching our online merch shop, featuring t-shirts and tote bags designed by Hmong American artist Khou Vue. Support SEARAC and get a gift for yourself or a loved one!
SEARAC condemns SCOTUS decision restricting abortion
Last week, the Supreme Court released an egregious majority opinion that will devastate abortion access in the United States. Affirming the majority draft that was leaked last month, the Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization ruling effectively overturns Roe v. Wade (1973), the landmark Supreme Court ruling that established a childbearing individual’s right to abortion. This decision has disastrous consequences for Southeast Asian Americans and countless others across the country. Read SEARAC’s full statement here.
COVID vaccines now available for children under 5
Children ages 6 months and older can now receive a safe and effective COVID-19 vaccine. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends all children who are eligible should receive a COVID-19 vaccine. Both Moderna and Pfizer’s COVID-19 vaccines for children are safe and effective in preventing severe symptoms of COVID-19. Families can visit to find providers offering the pediatric vaccine.  
Dept. of Education seeks public comment on Title IX
The US Department of Education has released proposed changes to the regulations that help elementary and secondary schools and colleges and universities implement Title IX and is seeking public comment on these changes. According to the agency’s factsheet on these proposed changes, some of the updates would include: 

  • Protecting students from sex discrimination and harassment 
  • Protect LGBTQIA+ students from discrimination based on sexual orientation, gender identity, and sex characteristics
  • Protect students and employees from retaliation who have brought complaints on sex-based harassment 

Learn more in the Department of Education's proposal and request for comments. The regulations are available for public comment for the next 60 days on the federal register. 
White House announces plans to revise SPD-15
Chief Statistician Karin Orvis recently announced the Administration’s intent to revise the Office of Budget and Management’s Statistical Policy Directive No. 15: Standards for Maintaining, Collecting, and Presenting Federal Data on Race and Ethnicity (SPD-15) by summer 2024. SPD-15 sets forth the minimum standards of the collection, tabulation, and reporting of race and ethnic data across Federal agencies. 

The Administration will review previous recommendations from the OMB-chartered Interagency Working Group for Research on Race and Ethnicity and the work of the Equitable Data Working Group. As part of this prior effort, SEARAC provided comments on expanding data equity through further disaggregating data for Southeast Asian subgroups. The Administration plans to solicit stakeholder input on recommendations to SPD-15 on the collection of race and ethnic data. 
SEARAC in the News
Image created by the National Council of Asian Pacific Americans (NCAPA)
SEARAC endorses AANHPI history bill
To make our voices heard, we must understand and remember where those voices come from. 

At the end of May, SEARAC endorsed the Teaching Asian Pacific American History Act, introduced in the House by Rep. Grace Meng and in the Senate by Sen. Mazie Hirono (D-HI). This bill would require curricula in Asian American, Native Hawaiian, and Pacific Islander (AANHPI) history by educators applying to and receiving federal grants. It was recently signed into law by President Biden. We are grateful to the Orange County Breeze for sharing SEARAC’s endorsement of this important bill.
Staff Blog
Art by Kylie Volavongsa
Kylie Volavongsa: “I don’t know that much about Laos, but I can tell you about the ghosts”
In our monthly staff blog, SEARAC’s Summer Communications Intern, Kylie Volavongsa, shares a beautiful, poetic reflection on history, identity, and ways of reconnecting with both. 

“because being the way that I am (Lao)
with a history the way that it is (American),
I consider almost everything
a strange dream in a strange place.”

Read Kylie’s blog here.
Screenshot from May 2022 panel discussion with Grantmakers in Education
Why data disaggregation matters to SEAAs
Natalie Truong, SEARAC Education Policy Manager, has written a vital blog post about why data disaggregation is important to understand how Southeast Asian Americans are truly faring in education, health, and immigration. Natalie writes, “SEAA refugees and their descendants have different historical backgrounds, cultures, and challenges that are made invisible by the label of Asian American.” Check out the blog to learn more, including video of a panel discussion on data disaggregation that our Executive Director, Quyen Dinh, participated in earlier this year.
Meet our Summer Interns!
Diane Chao and Janessa Thao join SEARAC team
We are thrilled to have two new interns joining us this summer! Diane Chao will be working with our Policy Team, and Janessa Thao has joined the Development Team. Check out their bios below:
Hello! My name is Diane (she/hers) and I am a rising senior at UC Berkeley, where I currently study Political Science, Asian American and Asian Diaspora Studies, and Public Policy. In my free time, I enjoy teaching students about debate and having picnics on the glade. This summer, I am joining SEARAC as a Policy Intern because I want to help actualize the political imaginations of our Southeast Asian stakeholders.

Coming from a Chinese-Burmese family of immigrants, my policy advocacy was informed by the cultural hybridity of my identity. I realized that my lived experiences alone were a part of a diverse range of narratives that existed within the Southeast Asian community. I believe in the importance of using an intersectional and culturally-competent approach to policy work that is grounded in the needs of our community members. 
Hello! My name is Janessa (she/hers) and I am a rising senior at UW Madison. I am studying Community and Nonprofit Leadership with a certificate in Asian American Studies with a HMoob Emphasis. In my free time, I enjoy strolling in the park, trying new restaurants and food and, in the winter time, I spend my time ice skating. I am the Development Intern at SEARAC this summer.

I have always been passionate about community service and uplifting the Southeast Asian community, and that translates into my work in the nonprofit sector. Growing up as HMoob American, I saw the struggles of HMoob and Southeast Asian communities in the US and have wanted to shine light on how the Southeast Asian experience contrasts from that of the Asian American experience. I believe supporting our communities is crucial to creating change in the systems we live in.
Fundraiser to support undocumented college students
SEARAC is uplifting an important effort by RAISE-Boston and the Asian American Resource Workshop to support undocumented Asian youth and young adults in the Boston area with their college expenses. In addition to providing financial support, they hope to create space for undocumented youth and young adults to build connections with one another and build skills in leadership, organizing, and advocacy experiences. Learn more and donate 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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