October 2018 - In This Issue:

We need your support
The Trump Administration has proposed broadening the set of government assistance services that is considered when determining whether an individual is a 'public charge,' or, in other words, likely to rely on government services for support. If a person is considered a public charge, he or she may be denied a green card. The Administration's latest move has created panic among immigrants across the country and has forced them to make impossible decisions between their health and their immigration status.

SEARAC has  launched a campaign to collect 1,000 comments letting the Trump Administration know that we oppose its attack on immigrant and refugee communities. We still have 890 comments to go.

Please help us reach our goal by submitting your signature at this link!


Federal education funding for SEAA students
The Department of Defense and Labor, Health and Human Services, and Education Appropriations Act, 2019 became law on Sept. 28, funding the Department of Education until Sept. 30, 2019. While it  provides a $581 million increase in total funding from fiscal year 2018, SEARAC calls for continued and robust support for the department, particularly for programs that support low-income students, refugee students, and English language learners. This includes funding for English language acquisition, for programs like Gaining Early Awareness and Readiness for Undergraduate Programs (GEAR UP) and TRiO that increase access to higher education for the most disadvantaged students, for Pell grants that make college affordable for many, and more. SEARAC will continue to monitor the federal appropriations process to ensure that SEAA students receive the supports to help them thrive.

Educational equity on trial
A federal trial in Boston against Harvard led by an anti-affirmative action group has entered its final week. Regardless of the trial's outcome, the case is widely expected to reach the US Supreme Court and challenge equity-focused admissions policies in schools across the country. SEARAC has and continues to reaffirm its support for race-conscious admissions policies, from holistic review and affirmative action to other race-conscious policies that uplift diverse student experiences and backgrounds. AAPIs must not be used as a divisive wedge, and our community's voices cannot be manipulated to deprive others of educational access and equity.


Toolkit launch
Last month, SEARAC together with  #ReleaseMN8 campaign , the  National Immigration Project of the National Lawyers Guild and  the University of Minnesota James H. Binger Center of New Americans launched  Southeast Asian American Solidarity Toolkit: A Guide to Resisting Deportations and Detentions from the #ReleaseMN8 Campaign . Read and listen to our National Policy Director's blog post   and  podcast interview on SEARAC's journey with campaign organizers over the past two years in fighting to keep families together. Click here   to view a webinar hosted with partners and #ReleaseMN8 organizers, and click here to view our joint press release Lastly, consider signing and sharing SEARAC's newly launched  public statement  drafted with community partners to support an end the unjust mandatory detention and deportation of Southeast Asian Americans.
Vietnamese lawsuit classified as a class action
In a major victory for the Vietnamese community, the lawsuit filed by our partners at Asian Americans Advancing Justice-Asian Law Caucus (ALC) was approved as a class action. This lawsuit challenges the prolonged detention of Vietnamese refugees who came into the country prior to 1995--a category of people currently protected under an agreement between the United States and Vietnam. For more information, check out this community advisory created by ALC.


A brave space
In October, we held our third biennial Leadership, Empowerment, and Advocacy Fellowship (LEAF) convening, bringing together 16 community leaders from Southeast Asian American-led and -serving organizations across the country.

Pivoting from previous LEAF convenings, this year's program had three objectives: to connect with others in order to feel less isolated, to acknowledge and heal from the burnout that often accompanies the fight for social justice, and to strategize on national issues affecting the Southeast Asian American community. Read our recap here and see below for a poem that was shared and that spoke to the tone of the gathering.

Invitation to Brave Space
By Micky ScottBey  

Together we will create brave space
Because there is no such thing as a "safe space." 
We exist in the real world.
We all carry scars and we have all caused wounds.
In this space
We seek to turn down the volume of the outside world.
We amplify voices that fight to be heard elsewhere.
We call each other to more truth and love.
We have the right to start somewhere and continue to grow.
We have the responsibility to examine what we think we know.
We will not be perfect.
This space will not be perfect.
It will not always be what we wish it to be
It will be our brave space together, 
We will work on it side by side.


Intern with SEARAC
SEARAC has open California, communications, and field and outreach internship opportunities in our Washington, DC, and Sacramento, CA, offices for the Spring 2019 semester (January-May). The application deadline is Nov. 16. Start and end dates are flexible. Read more about the internship descriptions and application requirements here

Fellowship opportunity
APAICS has opened its  application  for its 2019-2020 Congressional Fellowship Program. The APAICS Congressional Fellowship Program offers full-time legislative and public policy fellowships in Washington, DC, providing exceptional graduates and young professionals with an opportunity to work on policy issues as staff members in a congressional office. The program aims to build leadership skills, encourage political civic engagement, and foster a strong interest in public service careers.

In case you missed it
SEARAC ended October with a condemnation of the recent hate crimes against black and Jewish community members and a call to action this coming Tuesday, Election Day, to get out and vote. Our voices matter, and we can and will support a vision for this great nation that is driven by love, justice, and equity. Read our full statement 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. 
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