Community Spotlight
Image still from Spectrum News video
Annie Vang creates new app to preserve Hmong language
Annie Vang, a Hmong American woman from Wisconsin who came to the United States as a refugee when she was two, has created the HmongPhrases app to contribute to the effort to keep the Hmong language alive. The app includes both Hmong Green and Hmong White dialects, and it breaks down the language into categories. Now that the app has thousands of downloads, Vang was chosen for a coveted spot in Apple’s E-Camp for Female Founders and Developers. Learn more in this video from Spectrum News.
Federal Policy Update
House of Representatives passes Build Back Better Act
On Friday, Nov. 19, the House of Representatives passed the Build Back Better Act, a cornerstone of the Biden Administration’s priorities and a robust piece of legislation that would provide significant funding for current and new social programs across multiple issues, including in education and health. While the bill falls short in certain areas, such as lacking a pathway to citizenship, it also increases Pell grant funding and adds $150 billion to the caregiving economy. SEARAC supports Build Back Better and urges the Senate to act quickly to pass a version of the bill that would build on the provisions in the House rather than stripping away any of the current support provided. You can read SEARAC’s full statement here
School Ambassadors Fellowship program
The Department of Education is currently accepting applications for the School Ambassadors Fellowship program. Teachers, school staff, and school administrators are highly encouraged to apply for this opportunity to bring their classroom experience to share with the Department of Education and with their peers. This fellowship is for the 2022-23 school year and applications are due on Jan. 14. 
COVID-19 school dashboard
The US Department of Education and the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recently launched a public COVID-19 data dashboard that tracks the impact of COVID-19 on K-12 schools. The dashboard shows the number of student cases, vaccination rates, and school opening (either in-person, online, or hybrid) across U.S. school regions. 
Support DACA recipients with a public comment by Nov. 29
The Department of Homeland Security and United States Immigration and Citizenship Services’ comment period for the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program is open until Nov. 29. These comment periods are an opportunity for the public to provide feedback on proposed policies and gives us the chance to tell our stories about why we need permanent protections and stability. Individuals and organizations are encouraged to file a comment prior to the Nov. 29 deadline.
SEARAC engages policymakers on DHS visa sanctions 
SEARAC and our partners at the Southeast Asian Deportation Defense Network continue to meet with elected and agency officials on the Department of Homeland Security visa sanctions on Cambodia and Laos. At this moment, we do not have any additional information that we can share with the public. However, if you or your loved one has been impacted by the sanctions, please reach out to the SEARAC team if you’d like to have your story shared as part of the advocacy efforts to lift the sanctions. You can also sign SEADDN and SEARAC's petition.
Health insurance open enrollment begins Nov. 1
Are you looking for affordable healthcare coverage for 2022? Open enrollment on the Marketplace is here! Now is the time to shop, compare, and #GetCovered by affordable, quality health insurance. Open enrollment in the federal marketplace is open until Jan. 15, 2022 and enrollment in California's Covered CA is open through Jan. 31, 2022. This year, SEARAC is a Champion for Coverage and will be sharing information about healthcare coverage from throughout the open enrollment period.
COVID-19 booster shots available for everyone 18 and older
The Center for Disease Control (CDC) has approved COVID-19 booster shots for everyone 18 and older. Recommendations differ depending on the brand COVID-19 vaccine you received. Below is a short summary of the CDC’s recommendations, and information is available on the CDC website.
Pfizer and Moderna Vaccines

  • If you are 50 or older or 18 and older and living in a long-term care facility, you should get a booster shot after 6 months of your initial COVID-19 vaccine. 
  • If you are 18 and older, you may get a booster shot 6 months after your initial COVID-19 vaccine. 
Johnson & Johnson Vaccine

  • Everyone 18 and older should get a booster shot 2 months after your initial COVID-19 vaccine. 
New mental health toolkit for the Hmong community
We are proud to join the California Mental Health Services Oversight and Accountability Commission (MHSOAC) and the Hmong Cultural Center of Butte County to release a new mental health toolkit for the Hmong community in Butte County, CA. The toolkit offers insight into Southeast Asian American mental health needs, solutions, and local resources.
SEARAC in the News
Photo courtesy of Vietnamese American Roundtable
Vietnamese American Community Empowerment Symposium
Vietnamese American Roundtable (VAR) brought together Vietnamese community members in San Jose, CA and held their first ever Silicon Valley Vietnamese American Community Empowerment Symposium on Nov. 13, 2021. The event convened a space for the Vietnamese community to continue to recognize the policy issues impacting our families, reflect upon and learn from our shared experiences, and strategize ways to take action towards empowering ourselves and our communities. SEARAC’s Director of Field, Tuấn ĐinhJanelle, joined as a panelist and spoke on how we can draw strength from our community organizing wins and lessons from the past in order to fuel our creativity as we create our future. Watch the video of the event on VAR's Facebook Page.
SEARAC holiday office closure announcement
Please note that SEARAC offices will be closed from Wednesday, Nov 24 through Monday, Nov 29 in observance of the Thanksgiving holiday. We look forward to connecting with you when we return on Monday morning and thank you for your patience while we are away!
SEASON Conference seeks workshop proposals
The Southeast Asian Students for OrgaNizing Conference (SEASON) will take place from Feb. 25-27, featuring various advocacy training workshops, keynote speakers, and coalition-building activities. The virtual conference aims to provide Southeast Asian students all over the country with a safe space to strategize campus-based actions to effectively advocate for their communities. SEASON is looking for presenters to provide workshops to student attendees that will equip them with organizing tools. The deadline for submissions is Sunday, Nov. 21 at 11:59pm PT. Learn more and submit a proposal here.
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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