OCA Solemnly Reflects on September 11

“My heart goes out to all the families and victims of September 11. It was a terrible tragedy and loss for our country. But we, as a society, must also face the actions that our prejudices and fears have produced post-nine eleven. The hate and harassment that the South Asian and Middle Eastern communities continue to endure, along with the xenophobic rhetoric employed in the media and among even our own policy makers, are not the answer to ensuring our national security…Thwarting threats to our national security should not come at the expense of our civil liberties. It is most important in times of crisis to ensure the civil rights of all Americans. We must move forward together as a people, a community, and a country instead of scapegoating and blaming the innocent.”

To see the full release, please visit the OCA National Center website.

Relief for Asian Pacific American Immigrants a Casualty of Partisan Politics

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

8 September 2014                        

CONTACT                                                              

Kenneth Lee | Acting Chief Executive Officer

202 223 5500 | klee@ocanational.org   

WASHINGTON, D.C. – OCA – Asian Pacific American Advocates, a national membership-driven organization of community advocates dedicated to advancing the social, political, and economic well-being of Asian Pacific Americans (APAs), is deeply disappointed by President Obama’s decision to delay executive action on immigration until after the November elections.

Over the weekend, President Obama announced that he would postpone executive action on immigration, in spite of his promise on June 30 to move forward with a plan by the end of summer.

“OCA is incredibly disappointed by President Obama’s decision to delay executive action that could have potentially provided additional relief to some of the over 11 million undocumented immigrants in the United States, of whom 1.3 million are Asian Pacific Islanders,” said Miriam Yeung, OCA National Vice President of Public Affairs. “The President has a moral and economic obligation to provide administrative relief to the millions of undocumented immigrants in the United States. Each day without some form of reform equates to a higher number of deportations. Our communities are not political currency to be traded for votes and should not be casualties of the same partisan politics that have prevented the House of Representatives from passing an immigration reform bill.”

Executive action could have expanded Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA), which currently grants work authorization and deferred removal for individuals under 31 on June 15, 2012 and who arrived before the age of 16, among other criteria. Additionally, the President’s authority would have also allowed him to make changes to current immigration enforcement priorities that could provide relief for non-citizens classified as deportable by the Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) agency, as well as adjust policies to decrease family and employment visa backlogs.

“Although 1.3 million Asian Pacific Islanders continue to hide in the shadows for fear of deportation, our communities need more than just relief for undocumented immigrants. We need broad executive action that is inclusive of all our communities’ experiences. The President must focus on expanding DACA and also reexamine different ways to decrease the family and employment visa backlogs,” said Ken Lee, OCA National Acting CEO. “We are disappointed with the President for the delay; however, we will continue to work with our partners to advocate within the administration and Congress to make sure that the diverse immigration needs of our communities are included in legislation and the President’s plans.”

In addition to pursuing broad executive action on immigration for Asian Pacific Americans, OCA, along with nine other Asian Pacific American and Latino organizations, released the 2014 National Immigration Score Card outlining support of comprehensive immigration reform and family reunification within the House of Representatives.

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Score Cards & Vote Descriptions

If you haven’t seen it already, OCA, along with nine of our AAPI and Latino partners, released the 2014 National Immigration Score Card in July. Bad news though, the President has delayed executive action.

Good news? The score card is now available in seven AAPI languages, including Khmer, Bengali, and Traditional Chinese!

The OCA Greater Philadelphia Chapter did some great work mobilizing around a racist caption in the Philadelphia Public Record. Check out the newspaper’s apology in the photos.

Undocumented Asian Americans Step On Stage to Share Stories - NBC News

18mr:

A great example of the capacity of young Asian American and Pacific Islanders who highlight intersectional experiences through art. Advocacy comes in many forms, and as Asian Pacific American communities continue to grow, so do the various ways we advocate for our communities and ourselves. Check out the article below for more information.

Re: Asian Racial Slurs in the Philadelphia Public Record

Letter to the Editor from Tsiwen Law:

As a Daily News subscriber, I am glad that Chris Brennan’s article “For the Record, publisher is sorry” (August 26, 2014 p. 12) addressed the Philadelphia Public Record’s changing response to widespread criticism of its use of anti-Asian slurs. I am disappointed that Mr. Brennan did not take the opportunity to educate my fellow readers about the historical roots of such slurs. Since the 1980’s, the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights has documented the stereotype of the Asian perpetual foreigner as being the cause of numerous hate crimes perpetrated against Asian Pacific Islanders (APIs).

The foreigner status has been rooted in racist U.S. legislation denying the right of naturalization to APIs since 1790. Only in 1952, was that right formally conferred on all APIs in the McCarren Walters Act. The stereotype has been used to justify denial to Asians of the exercise of basic Constitutional and economic rights, such as the abiilty to testify in court against a white U.S. citizen (People v. George Hall, CA Supreme Court 1854), to operate a laundry business (Yick Wo V. Hopkins, U.S. Supreme Ct 1885), and to obtain a fishing license (Takahashi v. CA Fish & Game Commn, U.S. Supreme Ct 1948). More than 300 Asians were lynched in the U.S. between 1848 and 1902. Vincent Chin was murdered in Detroit, Michigan in 1982 because he was mistaken for a Japanese person, responsible for the loss of jobs in the American automobile industry.

The ridicule of Asian names reinforces the perpetual foreigner stereotype, whose original purpose was to deny APIs the right to invoke the Constitutional for their protection. More recently, the Congressional investigation into the political campaign funding scandal of 1996 witnessed the frequent attack on Americans of Asian descent by ridiculing of their last names. In that investigation, less than four per cent of the campaign funds was raised from APIs, but the entire focus was on APIs introducing “foreign” funds into the campaign. A newspaper which publishes anti-Asian slurs is not only showing insensitivity, but it is placing a community in harm’s way. Philadelphians should not be surprised when APIs react strongly and persistently to the the ridicule of their names.

Tsiwen M. Law
OCA-Asian American Advocates
Greater Philadelphia Chapter
General Counsel
1617 John F. Kennedy Blvd
Suite 1055
Philadelphia, PA 19103

215-751-0500
Fx 215-751-0700

Over 200 individuals were arrested in a National Day to Fight for Families. Immigrant families and allies turned out to demand an end to the crisis of family separation, inhumane deportations, and family reunification.

There are over 1.3 million undocumented Asian Pacific Islanders, and APA family members can wait up to 23 years to reunite with their families. We need reform now. And we need executive action that will uplift our communities. Laws that do not recognize the humanity of our communities are laws that should never be allowed.

If you’ve never seen the original music video for “Wake Me Up,” please watch it. Aloe Blacc makes a powerful statement for the over 11 million undocumented immigrants in the United States. As a community, we cannot continue to ignore the humanity of all Land marginalized individuals.

We must push on for laws and policies that will provide them with a pathway to citizenship.

Asian Pacific Americans Outraged by Racist Remarks from Senator Reid



Asian Pacific Americans Outraged by Racist Remarks from Senator Reid

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

22 August 2014                            

CONTACT                                                              

Kenneth Lee | Acting Chief Executive Officer

202 223 5500 | klee@ocanational.org

WASHINGTON, D.C. – OCA – Asian Pacific American Advocates, a national membership-driven organization of community advocates dedicated to advancing the social, political, and economic well-being of Asian Pacific Americans (APAs), is outraged by the racist remarks from Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid at the Las Vegas Asian Chamber of Commerce event on August 21. Ken Lee, OCA Acting Chief Executive Officer said the following:

“Senator Reid’s comments are offensive and racist to Asian Pacific Americans. He falsely assumes that our communities continue to perpetuate the model minority stereotype, when we have been actively working to highlight the vast socioeconomic disparities within our communities. If Senator Reid doesn’t know, Asian Pacific Americans include ethnic communities that have some of the highest rates of poverty and lowest rates of academic success among all ethnic and racial groups in the United States – an advocacy point that many APA organizations have continued to mobilize around to ensure necessary funding to address these discrepancies.

Additionally, the Senator’s comment about keeping his Wongs straight is, simply put, racist and disgusting. It implies that Asian Pacific Americans are identical, monolithic, and interchangeable and devalues our individual identities, cultures, and heritage.  Though we understand the Senator has apologized, half-hearted apologies are not enough. He must make intentional efforts to work with Asian Pacific Americans in a culturally acceptable and appropriate manner.”

We must continue to hold our elected officials accountable for their words and their actions, regardless of party affiliation.

Online Voter Registration

Over 20 states allow for online voter registration. Voting has always been important, but now, more than ever, we must demonstrate to our elected officials - those who hire our public servants - that our voices matter. So vote today!

Asian Pacific Americans Denounce Civil Rights Abuses in Ferguson

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Asian Pacific Americans Denounce Civil Rights Abuses in Ferguson

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

18 August 2014 

CONTACT

Kenneth Lee | Acting Chief Executive Officer

202 223 5500 | klee@ocanational.org

WASHINGTON, D.C. – OCA – Asian Pacific American Advocates, a national membership-driven organization of community advocates dedicated to advancing the social, political, and economic well-being of Asian Pacific Americans (APAs), sends its deepest condolences to the family of Michael Brown and denounces the outrageous abuse of civil rights against demonstrators in Ferguson, Missouri.

“OCA extends our deepest condolences to the Brown family and stands in solidarity with the African American community in this most troubling time. Excessive use of police force, continued racial and religious profiling, and the lack of accountability for officers involved in these cases have led not only to the death of Michael Brown, but a long list of deaths from the African American community and other communities of color,” said Sharon M. Wong, OCA National President. “The reports and investigations from the Ferguson police department have been inadequate in addressing the role of their officer in the shooting and have instead focused on demonizing the character of Michael Brown. That is unacceptable. We call on a full and transparent investigation into this case by the local authorities and by the Department of Justice.”

“The incidents in Ferguson are an outrageous abuse of civil rights against the African American community. The reactions by local police to peacful protesters, from their use of police dogs to tear gases thrown at demonstrators, are clear violations of the Ferguson community’s constitutional right to peacefully assemble,” said Ken Lee, OCA Acting Chief Executive Officer. “Likewise, the curfew imposed by the Governor on civilians limits that same right. We must provide protections for the African American community to grieve the death of this youth and protest the injustice that they have continually faced instead of limiting them.”

“Our nation must address the root causes that continue to allow the excessive use of police force and profiling of African, Latino, Southeast Asian, South Asian, and Pacific Islander American communities. We call for legislation that will prevent such tragedies from occurring again and that will hold officers accountable for their actions,” said Miriam Yeung, OCA National Vice President of Public Affairs. “Asian Pacific American communities have not been exempt from these issues. The deaths of Fong Lee in Minneapolis, Minnesota and Matangi Tai in Mesa, Arizona at the hands of those who have sworn to protect our communities are clear examples that these issues cut across all racial, ethnic, and religious lines. OCA stands in solidarity with the residents of Ferguson in calling for justice and change.”

The OCA St. Louis Chapter also released a statement regarding the effects of the Ferguson incidents on locally owned Asian Pacific American businesses.

ncapablog:

Victoria Rumsey and her strong immigrant mother.
NCAPA is participating in a 31-day fast for fair immigration reform for AAPI women and their families as part of We Belong Together’s Women’s Fast. NCAPA members from several organizations volunteered to fast for 24 hours on a day between March 8 and April 8. Our Tumblr will feature several of the fasters’ stories in the coming days.
From Colorado and Hawaii to New York and D.C., see where NCAPA members are fasting here.
OCA - Asian Pacific American Advocates fasted on March 13. The following is a blog written by Victoria Rumsey, the director of development at OCA, about why she fasted:
In my reflections during my fast, I thought about the need to provide a voice for those who do not have the capacity to speak for themselves. Un-silencing the hunger pangs that came and went, un-silencing all the families that are torn apart, un-silencing all those who come here for a better life.
My mom came to this country from Taiwan to live the American Dream not knowing that 34 years later,  her  daughter would be working for a national civil rights organization ensuring that our voices are not left unheard and providing opportunities for the Asian Pacific American community. I could not imagine any woman being separated from their family, women who came to this country to speak for themselves and to give themselves and children a better life. 
I am the primary caretaker for my mother, who battles with cancer each day. There are undocumented individuals out there who are the primary caretakers of their families, and they should be allowed to continue taking care of their families. I’m living the American Dream. And everyone should have access to the American Dream.
High-res

ncapablog:

Victoria Rumsey and her strong immigrant mother.

NCAPA is participating in a 31-day fast for fair immigration reform for AAPI women and their families as part of We Belong Together’s Women’s Fast. NCAPA members from several organizations volunteered to fast for 24 hours on a day between March 8 and April 8. Our Tumblr will feature several of the fasters’ stories in the coming days.

From Colorado and Hawaii to New York and D.C., see where NCAPA members are fasting here.

OCA - Asian Pacific American Advocates fasted on March 13. The following is a blog written by Victoria Rumsey, the director of development at OCA, about why she fasted:

In my reflections during my fast, I thought about the need to provide a voice for those who do not have the capacity to speak for themselves. Un-silencing the hunger pangs that came and went, un-silencing all the families that are torn apart, un-silencing all those who come here for a better life.

My mom came to this country from Taiwan to live the American Dream not knowing that 34 years later,  her  daughter would be working for a national civil rights organization ensuring that our voices are not left unheard and providing opportunities for the Asian Pacific American community. I could not imagine any woman being separated from their family, women who came to this country to speak for themselves and to give themselves and children a better life. 

I am the primary caretaker for my mother, who battles with cancer each day. There are undocumented individuals out there who are the primary caretakers of their families, and they should be allowed to continue taking care of their families. I’m living the American Dream. And everyone should have access to the American Dream.