September 2019 - In This Issue:

Reflecting on 2018
SEARAC is proud to share our 2018 Annual Report, which includes highlights of a year fighting back against attack after attack on our communities. We discuss our roles as a convener and advocate to build leaders, build capacity, and help build a powerful Southeast Asian American movement. Click here to read the full report. 


SEARAC launches census fact sheets for the SEAA community
In preparation for get-out-the-count efforts to promote the 2020 Census among the Southeast Asian American (SEAA) community, SEARAC launched a series of factsheets to help educate different stakeholders on the importance of census participation:
The SEAA-specific data are meant to demonstrate both the impact and need to get counted to ensure adequate resources and representation for SEAAs, in addition to addressing common concerns and questions community members may have around participation. While everyone is welcome to download and share the resources as is, individuals are also encouraged to edit and tailor them for their own needs in their local communities. These fact sheets are now also available in Lao and Hmong, with additional translations in Khmer, Vietnamese, and Mien coming soon. If you want to get involved in making sure your community community is counted, consider  signing up  to be a SEARAC Census Ambassador!

Celebrating the AANAPISI Program
We celebrated #AANAPISIWeek last week to recognize the impact of the Asian American Native American Pacific Islander Serving Institution (AANAPISI) Program. AANAPISIs have been critical to college access and success for low-income and first-generation AAPI students, including SEAA students. Nearly half of all AAPI students attend an AANAPISI, and community members have testified to the incredible impact these institutions have on students' higher education aspirations. Check out #AANAPISIWeek on social media to read more about what students, faculty, and community members have to say about why AANAPISIs are important to them.

Disaggregating Hmong student data
A recent report has shone a spotlight on the academic challenges Hmong students at California State University, Sacramento, experience. According to Hmong the Data: Disaggregating the Hmong Student Experience, authored by Dr. Chao Danny Vang, Hmong student enrollment at the university grew from 153 students in Fall 2005 to 1,075 students by Fall 2016, making Hmong students the second-largest Asian subgroup on campus. Nevertheless, despite the growth in enrollment, Hmong students experience an average 2.2% four-year completion rate. More significantly, a large number of the Hmong students frequently or occasionally felt depressed (71%) or isolated (64%) on campus. 

This illuminating report is a prime example of why SEARAC supports and fights for disaggregated data. Read the full report here


SEARAC joins civil rights groups to oppose public charge
SEARAC, along with 59 other organizations, supported an amicus brief filed by Advancing Justice-AAJC, the Asian American Legal Defense Fund (AALDEF), and the National Women's Law Center (NWLC) to oppose the Trump Administration's recent finalized public charge regulation forcing immigrants to choose between protecting their immigration status or accessing critical government benefits for their families and children. The brief argues that this rule is rooted in racial bias against immigrants, women, and children from communities of color. Read AAJC's
press release  for more information.

New Trump proposal would further cut food stamp eligibility
SEARAC joined a comment drafted by the Leadership Council on Aging (LCAO) to oppose a  Trump administration rule  making significant changes to some eligibility criteria for food stamps or the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP). The rule would largely impact seniors, children, and families. Read this article  from the Urban Institute for more information.

Support family reunification and dignity for detained immigrants 
The SEARAC national policy team continues to advocate for Congressional support for Rep. Judy Chu's Reuniting Families Act (RFA) and Reps. Pramila Jayapal and Adam Smith's Dignity for Detained Immigrants Act (Dignity). The RFA would decrease backlogs in the family reunification system while also creating new waivers for individuals currently in deportation proceedings. Dignity is a comprehensive bill that overhauls the immigration detention system by: 
  • Establishing humane and uniform standards for the facilities
  • Phasing out private detention facilities
  • Requiring more oversight of detention centers
  • Encouraging community supervised alternatives to detention; and
  • Expanding the definition of vulnerable populations to include youth, the elderly, LGBTQ, and limited English individuals without meaning access to a translator.
Both bills are comprehensive fixes to the family system and detention, and are not limited to the above specifics. Click here to view the current cosponsors of the RFA and here for Dignity. 

ICE begins raids of Cambodian communities
SEARAC partners at Asian Americans Advancing Justice | ALC have received notice that Immigration and Customs Enforcement intends to detain numerous Cambodian Americans in the coming weeks. If you have been given a notice to check-in with ICE, please contact (415) 952-0413. To all community members and allies, stay vigilant and visit to learn your rights if ICE shows up at your or your loved one's home.


Strengthening community power in CA
The California Southeast Asian American Collaborative (CA SEAA Collaborative) met in Orange County at the end of August to deepen discussion on strengthening efforts to build a collective statewide SEAA voice on local and state advocacy to increase education equity, advance health access, and fight for immigrant and refugee rights in California. The Collaborative also took a deeper dive in discussing SEAA mental health disparities, access to successful services, and future policy solutions to increase culturally and linguistically appropriate services for our communities. 

Urge CA. Governor to sign SEARAC-supported state bills
The last day of CA's legislative cycle was Friday, Sept. 13.  Assembly Bill (AB) 512 - Cultural Competence in Mental Health ,  AB 1393 - Laotian histories and cultural studies and AB 1282 - No Private ICE Act have reached Gov. Gavin Newsom's desk. Please urge the governor for a signature on these legislation by sending him a letter of support.

AB 512, sponsored by Southeast Asia Resource Action Center (SEARAC), California Pan-Ethnic Health Network (CPEHN), #Out4MentalHealth, Latino Coalition for a Healthy California (LCHC), California Black Health Network (CBHN), and the Steinberg Institute to improve accountability to cultural competence in mental health and increase stakeholder engagement in the development of county Cultural Competence Plans. Write a letter of support and send it directly through the governor's portal for comments. 

AB 1393, sponsored by Sacramento and San Diego Lao and Iu-Mien American advocates, will require the California Department of Education to create model Laotian history and cultural studies curricula by 2024. Write a  letter of support  and send it directly through the governor's portal for comments. 

AB 1282, sponsored by Asian American Advancing Justice - Asian Law Caucus, Asian Prisoner Support Committee, the Center for Empowering Immigrant and Refugees along with other advocacy organizations, will prohibit California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation (CDCR) from facilitating or allowing private security corporations to conduct immigration enforcement arrests of community members in CDCR custody. Write a  letter of support  and send it directly through the governor's portal for comments.  

Join our team
SEARAC is hiring for our CA Education Policy Advocate. We are seeking a highly skilled individual with a strong background in policy advocacy, advocacy capacity training, community engagement, and coalition building to join a dedicated team of passionate advocates working on social justice and racial equity. Read more and apply by October 4.

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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