A Message from SEARAC
Trump refuses to condemn white supremacists, violence
Tells Proud Boys to “Stand back and stand by”
During the first presidential debate last night, when President Trump was asked if he would condemn white supremacists, he refused, saying he would tell the Proud Boys, a known white supremacist organization, to “stand back and stand by.” He also used the debate platform to double-down on his anti-diversity and anti-racism training ban in the federal government. Additionally, President Trump again pushed a false narrative about mail-in voting fraud, despite the safety concerns of in-person voting during the pandemic. He similarly would not comment conclusively about whether he would urge peace and calm among his supporters rather than violence during the elections. The president also continued to lie about the progress of COVID-19 despite rising cases and deaths in the United States, with recent reports indicating that Asian Americans have died at a disproportionately high rate between March and August. 

It is shameful that the president of the United States could not denounce white supremacists or commit to a peaceful transition, and called out to a known white supremacist organization to stand by. His comments make crystal clear what our communities have known all along: President Trump’s racist and anti-immigrant agenda is deeply rooted in advancing white supremacist values and policies. His false accusations of fraud around mail-in voting ignores the reality that communities of color are dying of COVID-19 at a disproportionate rate and simultaneously undermines the democractic system. Southeast Asian Americans know firsthand the pain that white supremacy has inflicted among our communities, especially as acts of hate against Asian Americans increase during this pandemic. SEARAC rejects President Trump’s statements, support of white nationalists, invocations of violence, and white supremacist platform.
Community Spotlight
Community conversation on deportations of SEAAs in MA
Asian American Resource Workshop (AARW) and Greater Boston Legal Services’ Asian Outreach Unit held a virtual meeting with Massachusetts elected officials and screened a short film, “Keep Saray Home,” to discuss the state of Southeast Asian American deportations. “Keep Saray Home” follows the lives of three families fighting against deportation, highlighting the collective struggle faced by many Southeast Asian Americans across the country. Congresswoman Ayanna Pressley (MA-07), State Rep. Liz Miranda (5th Suffolk), Lowell City Councillor Vesna Nuon, DA Rachelle Rollins and an impacted community member, Jassy (daughter of Saray Kim), joined the discussion. Watch the inspiring conversation here
House reintroduces slimmed down COVID-19 package
On Monday, Sept. 28, House Democrats unveiled a $2.2 trillion dollar COVID-19 relief package. Initial analysis of the bill shows that it retains the $1200 supplement funding for Americans, including for individuals with a Individual Taxpayer Identification Number, and restores the additional $600 unemployment benefit. SEARAC’s policy team is still analyzing the bill but hope that this effort would bring Republican Senate Leadership to the negotiating table to pass a much needed relief bill for the American public. 
SCOTUS nomination could eliminate Affordable Care Act
On Saturday, September 26, President Trump announced Judge Amy Coney Barrett as his nominee to replace Justice Ruth Bader Gingsberg, despite the elections happening in less than 35 days. Judge Barrett has a long history of conservative and anti-immigrant rulings. Advocates have raised concerns that confirming Judge Barrett would enable the Trump Administration to repeal the Affordable Care Act, potentially eliminating healthcare coverage for over 20 million people. SEARAC maintains our position that Southeast Asian Americans and the American public deserve a fair and just Supreme Court. The next Supreme Court Justice must reflect the will of the people and happen after the 2021 inauguration.
California Legislature passes ethnic studies mandate
On Aug. 31, the state legislature approved Assembly Bill 331, which would add a one-semester ethnic studies course as a requirement for high school graduation beginning in the 2029-30 academic year. If Gov. Newsom decides to sign the bill into law, California will become the first state to mandate an ethnic studies course for all high school students. Ethnic studies provides a critical lens into the history, experiences, challenges, and contributions of traditionally underrepresented groups, including Southeast Asian Americans. Research has also shown notable gains for students engaged in ethnic studies programs.
Whistleblower reports allegations of abuse at ICE facility
On Sept. 14, allegations of medical neglect and abuse were reported by Dawn Wooten, a former licensed practical nurse of the Irwin County Detention Center (ICDC) in Ocilla, Georgia. Wooten filed a complaint regarding the lack of adequate medical care, unsafe work practices, and absence of adequate protection against COVID-19 for detained immigrants and employees at the facility. The complaint also detailed the alarming rate at which hysterectomies were performed on Spanish-speaking immigrant women under ICE custody at ICDC, including some who did not consent to the procedure or may not have understood what they were agreeing to. SEARAC endorsed a resolution that urgently responds to these reports.
Photo: Reuters/Kevin Lamarque
Trump administration terminating the TPS program
A federal appeals court allowed the Trump administration to terminate a program that lets at least 400,000 immigrants live and work in the US. In a 2–1 decision, the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals sided with the Administration in ending temporary protected status (TPS) for immigrants from Haiti, El Salvador, Nicaragua, and Sudan.
Rep. Alan Lowenthal sends letter to ICE opposing deportations 
On Sept. 29, Representative Alan Lowenthal (CA-47) led a letter, along with with 29 of his House colleagues, urging U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) to end the detention and deportation of Southeast Asian refugees from Cambodia, Laos, and Vietnam. The letter to newly installed ICE Acting Director Tony Pham points out that hundreds of thousands of Southeast Asian refugees fled to the U.S. to seek freedom from political persecution in the aftermath of the Vietnam War and the Communist take-over of Vietnam, Cambodia, and Laos in the 1970s. SEARAC, along with nearly 30 other organizations, endorsed and supported the letter. 
Civic Engagement
Continuing 2020 Census outreach to get out the SEAA count
With the Trump Administration’s recent appeal and the Census Bureau’s announcement counter to Judge Lucy H. Koh’s ruling last week to extend 2020 Census deadlines for field operations and data reporting, SEARAC encourages community members to keep up their census outreach efforts with urgency until the final whistle. We encourage community members to make sure their loved ones have filled out their census and to call on their senators to support the bipartisan 2020 Census Deadline Extensions Act to provide much-needed certainty on the remaining census timeline. Find more information on contacting your elected officials and a sample script here.
In-language presidential election voter guide
Last week, SEARAC proudly released our 2020 presidential election voter guide in five Southeast Asian languages: Hmong, Khmer, Lao, Mien, and Vietnamese. (We are currently working with our community partners to make revisions to our Lao text to ensure our voter guide translation is accurate. However, the Lao audio is currently available.) We are hopeful that these resources will assist our SEAA communities in making an informed vote in the 2020 presidential election and helping loved ones who may face language barriers to learning about candidates’ platforms.
Sign up to be an election protection volunteer
Every eligible voter deserves to have their vote counted -- that’s the cornerstone of our democracy. And democracy suffers when eligible, registered voters are turned away from the polls, unable to find their polling place, or otherwise blocked from exercising their rights. That’s why this year, we are partnering with ProtectTheVote to help mobilize thousands of Election Protection volunteers from SEAA communities across the country. There’s a role for everyone, and they’ll help you find the best way to get involved -- whether that’s monitoring polling places, watchdogging social media for disinformation and voters in need of help, or reaching out to voters to make sure they know their rights. Sign up today!
California Policy Manager
SEARAC is hiring! Our team is looking for a California Policy Manager to support our state-level work in policy analysis and advocacy, coalition building, community engagement, and organizing. Join us in our work to drive policy change and build strong leaders toward social justice and equity in health, education, immigration, and criminal justice. The new application deadline has been extended to TODAY, September 30. Apply here.
43rd Asian American International Film Festival
SEARAC is a co-sponsor of Asian CineVision’s 43rd Asian American International Film Festival taking place virtually this year from October 1-11. The festival’s line-up includes Monsoon, a film about a man who returns to Vietnam for the first time in 30 years and starts to connect the memories of his parents and his own roots, as well as The Donut King, the rags-to-riches tale of a refugee escaping Cambodia, arriving in America in the ’70s, and building an unlikely multi-million dollar empire baking America’s favorite pastry, the donut. SEARAC community members can use the promo code AAIFF43_b!QcU to receive a 20% discount on AAIFF tickets!
Let us know about your upcoming events
If you have an event or campaign that you would like SEARAC to promote to the community, fill out this Google Form to let us know! We recommend submissions are entered at least two weeks in advance of event date to allow time for processing and scheduled uplift. To follow up regarding your requests, please email alyssa@searac.org
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. 

Find out more at www.searac.org