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Press Releases

  • Tue, July 21, 2020 5:00 PM | Anonymous

    OCA Opposes Memorandum Excluding Undocumented Immigrants from Redistricting and Census Counts


    21 July 2020

    Contact: Matthew Nguyen-Ngo | Civil Rights Fellow
    202.223.5500 |

    Washington, DC - OCA-Asian Pacific American Advocates condemns in the strongest possible terms a new memorandum from the Trump Administration that would exclude undocumented immigrants from the 2020 Census and subsequent voting districts. This memorandum would exclude and disenfranchise approximately 10.7 million immigrants, who are overwhelmingly people of color, and of whom 1.7 million are Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders (AAPIs). 

    Originally created to apportion representatives between the states, the Census is a count of the “whole number of persons in each state,” as described in the 14th Amendent of the Constitution. The Constitution does not include any kind of exception based on citizenship or immigration status, and therefore the Census is constitutionally required to include undocumented residents, temporary workers, and even tourists. To exclude any person in the U.S. from the Census count is patently unconstitutional.

    Beyond providing us with strong disaggregated demographic data, the Census profoundly influences our democracy and policy outcomes at all levels of government for the next decade. It is used to decide:

    • Apportionment of representation in the House of Representatives.

    • Distribution of federal funding for “schools, hospitals, roads, public works and other vital programs.”

    • Business decisions in the private sector that affect the placement of “factories, offices and stores.”

    We expect the likely-unconstitutional memorandum to spark further legal battles in an already confusing election and census year. Like the failed citizenship question, this move is mainly intended to chill census and election participation by undocumented immigrants and their voter-eligible communities.

    By excluding millions of undocumented immigrants who support families, contribute to their communities, pay taxes, and perform essential labor, the President’s memorandum will deprive localities of the resources and congressional representation they need to help marginalized communities thrive. This is a clear attempt from a historically anti-immigrant administration to further entrench the political and economic disenfranchisement of undocumented immigrants, who are predominantly working class people of color.

    “It’s just plain unconstitutional to exclude anyone from the Census,” says Executive Director Rita Pin Ahrens. “These renewed efforts by the Administration to deter Census completion will be met with strong resistance. We know that Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders are already the least likely to complete their census questionnaires, and OCA will double down our efforts to get the word out for a fair and complete count of all community members across the country.”

    OCA–Asian Pacific American Advocates is a national civil rights organization dedicated to improving the social, political, and economic well-being of Asian American and Pacific Islanders (AAPIs).


    View this statement online here.

    Copyright © 2020 OCA - Asian Pacific American Advocates, All rights reserved.

    Our mailing address is:
    OCA - Asian Pacific American Advocates
    1322 18th St NW
    Washington, DC 20036

  • Thu, May 28, 2020 11:00 PM | Anonymous

    OCA-Greater Houston Calls for Justice for George Floyd


    May 27, 2020

    Houston, TX – OCA-Asian Pacific American Advocates Greater Houston Chapter (OCA-GH) is extremely saddened and troubled by the treatment rendered onto Mr. George Floyd by the Minneapolis police, and the lack of intervention by other police officers during Mr. Floyd’s arrest and subsequent death.  OCA-Greater Houston stands in solidarity with the African American community, understanding that equity and equality for Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders (AAPIs) is tied to all Americans.  We here at OCA-Greater Houston express our deepest sympathy for Mr. Floyd, and demand immediate investigations by federal and state agencies into Mr. Floyd’s tragic death. 

    On Monday night in Minneapolis, Mr. George Floyd, who was originally from Houston’s Third Ward, was pronounced dead.  Video footage from bystanders showed that Mr. Floyd, who was handcuffed and was not resisting, was lying on the ground with his neck being knelt upon by a Minneapolis police officer for an extended period of time.  Mr. Floyd could be heard pleading multiple times that he could not breathe, as he slowly became unresponsive.  At least one other police officer failed to render aid, but instead held back other bystanders, who repeatedly asked the officers to give Mr. Floyd breathing room, to no avail.  Paramedics who showed up at the scene found Mr. Floyd pulseless.  Tragically, Mr. Floyd lost his life that day. 

    “We extend our deepest condolences to Mr. George Floyd’s family and loved ones,” said H.C. Chang, OCA-Greater Houston Chapter President. “We support our brown and black brothers and sisters, and we stand with you in solidarity. In the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic and ensuing anti-Asian hate crimes and discrimination, we are especially aware of the sufferings and injustice across all walks of life. In advocating for our own AAPI community, we must also take active roles in defending our allies and standing up against hate and oppression and the anti-Blackness within our own communities.” OCA-GH calls on the Department of Justice and the FBI to conduct an investigation into the needless death of Mr. Floyd, and encourages advocates to leave a message with the Minnesota Bureau of Criminal Apprehension – who is also handling an investigation, at 651-793-7000.

  • Thu, May 28, 2020 10:00 PM | Anonymous



    27 May 2020

    Contact: Eiley Fong | Communications Associate
    202.223.5500 |

    Washington, DC - OCA - Asian Pacific American Advocates is deeply disturbed and saddened by the killing of George Floyd in Minneapolis, Minnesota on Monday, May 25. Mr. Floyd was an unarmed Black man apprehended by four police officers for alleged low-level forgery, placed in handcuffs, and pinned down by the neck until he could no longer breathe. OCA stands in solidarity with Black communities and calls upon AAPI communities across the country to join the call for justice for Mr. Floyd.

    During the encounter, bystanders filmed the exchange. In the video, Mr. Floyd can be heard repeatedly saying “I can’t breathe” and “Please, I can’t breathe.” Concerned bystanders gathered and implored the officers to let Mr. Floyd breathe, but Officer Derek Chauvin continued to kneel into his neck, even after Floyd stopped struggling and fell unconscious. Mr. Floyd died soon after the encounter. The following day, all four officers were fired from the Minneapolis police department.

    “They need be charged with murder because what they did was murder” said Rodney Floyd, George Floyd’s brother in an interview. Plain and simple: George Floyd should be alive today. There is no justification for the officers’ use of lethal force. 

    “We send our deepest condolences to the family and friends of George Floyd. Deaths like Mr. Floyd’s, which remind us of the police killings of Eric Garner and other Black individuals, point to the systemic racism behind individual and structural hate crimes,” said Rita Pin Ahrens, OCA National Executive Director. “The fact that Hmong American Officer Tou Thao stood to defend his colleague, and antagonized the bystanders who called for compassion, is not lost upon us. Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders must stand up for Black communities by calling out institutional racism and the anti-Blackness within our own communities.”

    Advocates: sign ally organization Color of Change's petition calling for justice for George Floyd and leave a voicemail at the MN Bureau of Criminal Apprehension encouraging them which is handling the investigation at 651-793-7000.

    OCA – Asian Pacific American Advocates is a national civil rights organization dedicated to improving the social, political, and economic well-being of Asian American and Pacific Islanders (AAPIs).


  • Mon, March 23, 2020 8:00 AM | Anonymous

    March 23, 2020

    Houston, TX – OCA-Greater Houston (OCA-GH) and Houston Coalition Against Hate (HCAH) release the following statement today regarding anti-Asian and anti-Chinese sentiments and actions due to COVID-19

    Asian Americans have increasingly become the target of hate and bias in the form of public threats and harassment since the emergence of COVID-19 otherwise known as Coronavirus. Most recently, an entire family was violently attacked while shopping at a Sam’s Club in Midland, TX. In addition, an Asian student was physically assaulted by his high-school peers in California’s San Fernando Valley, further demonstrating the alarming escalation of anti-Asian bullying. 

    OCA-GH and HCAH are calling on the City of Houston and its surrounding areas to say NO to all hate and bias crimes and incidents, especially those currently being directed at the Asian community as a result of COVID-19. We call upon all school districts, boards and superintendents, school administrators and staff, Parent Teacher Associations, organizations and institutions of higher learning, law enforcement and local businesses to take proactive measures to not only educate themselves on COVID- 19, but also implement and reinforce preventative measures against race/ethnic bias and discrimination. 

    Hate in any form is unacceptable and should not be tolerated. The City of Houston has a moral and legal obligation to ensure the safety of its Asian American community from violence and harassment. 

    Our hearts go out to the victims and their families, mentioned and unmentioned, who have suffered at the expense of today’s xenophobic rhetoric surrounding Asians and Asian Americans. We urge the City of Houston to provide just, equitable, and compassionate leadership, and we trust in the city and its residents to make this a safe place for all who live here. 

    To report any incidents of harassment and bullying based on Coronavirus fears please go to

    For tools and resources on anti-bullying and hate crimes information please go to

    For information on how to best #SupportChinatown in these times please go to

    For more information on Houston Coalition Against Hate please go to


    Thank you,

    Debbie Chen, Programs Director
    OCA-Greater Houston 

    Marjorie Joseph, Executive Director
    Houston Coalition Against Hate

  • Sat, June 29, 2019 4:45 PM | Anonymous



    Contact: Rita Pin Ahrens | Executive Director

    202.223.5500 ext 121 |


    29 June 2019

    OCA Asian Pacific American Advocates and Mi Familia Vota place the safety and respect of students as our first priority.  Yesterday, June 28, 2019, Houston City Council Member Dwight Boykins was invited to respond to questions regarding issues important to the students at our high school Youth Advocacy Summit.  To our great concern and disappointment, Boykins diverged from the program purpose and instead made statements and engaged in conduct that was wholly unacceptable.  

    After an initial investigation, we took immediate action of notifying the appropriate authorities. Our organizations have pledged full and open cooperation with the authorities. In addition, we have notified and had discussions with parents and guardians of the students and will continue to communicate with them as circumstances dictate. 

    We do not and will not tolerate inappropriate behavior at our events regardless of whom the perpetrator might be. The safety and well-being of our young advocates are our paramount concern. 

    We fully support and are proud of these brave youth advocates who recognized the behavior was unacceptable and are speaking out about it. These young people are an outstanding example of leadership, mutual support, and advocacy in action.

  • Mon, June 17, 2019 7:52 PM | Anonymous


    Maria Duran


    HAAPIFEST spotlights over 68 Asian International, Asian American & Pacific Islander films


    HOUSTON, TX (June 17, 2019) – OCA-Greater Houston presents the 15th Annual Houston Asian American Pacific Islander Film Festival (HAAPIFEST) taking place June 20-28, 2019 in West Houston. This 9-day event coincides with the OCA National Convention featuring FREE screenings of over 65 Asian American Pacific Islander (AAPI) films. HAAPIFEST Opening Night happens on June 20 that Asia Society Texas Center with the screening of Jay Chern’s “Omotenashi,” followed by a special ticketed reception with the director. The festival closes with the Community Arts Night, a ticketed event showcasing visual & performing arts presentations and catered by Blood Bros. BBQ at the Chinese Community Center on June 28th. On this banner year, HAAPIFEST continues its multi-day celebration of AAPI art, film, and music in the city of Houston.

    Other HAAPIFEST highlights include:

    • June 18,22,25J: HAAPIFEST Student Filmmaker Workshopis a 3 day student workshop taught by local instructor/filmmaker Khoa Dinh (ticketed event) where students will create, shoot & screen their films during the festival. 
    • June 23:

    Nailed It Pop-Up, a special event sponsored by CND following the screening of Nailed It documentary about the origins of the Vietnamese nail salons. Vietnamese nail influencer Tan Nguyen (IG: @Tannails2Art) will be on-site offering complimentary manicure services from 3-5pm and the first 100 guests in attendance will receive a free goodie bag featuring CND Shellac. (FREE but must RSVP)

    TEA Talks: a special panel discussion built around the screening of “Travel Ban: Making America Laugh Again” directed by Samy Chouia. The panel discussion will focus on how art is used as a medium to raise awareness on different topics especially delicate and relevant topics like immigration and discrimination.  

    • June 26 –ULAM Dinner Receptionimmediately following the screening. Join film director Alexandra Cuerdo for an exploration of Filipino cuisine with a special reception at Gerry’s Grill featuring (ticketed event)
    • June 27 – OCA Filmmakers Panel & Welcome Receptionfeaturing special access to various filmmakers including S. Leo Chiang, Renee Tajima-Pena, Set Hernandez Rongkilyo, Lan Nguyen, Tim Tsai, and Curtis Chin.
    • OCA Classic Films– past feature films will be highlighted throughout the festival to commemorate the 15th Anniversary of HAAPIFEST

    OCA-Greater Houston is funded in part by the City of Houston through the Houston Arts Alliance. HAAPIFEST Opening Night is in partnership with Asia Society Texas, Taiwan Academy and the Ministry of Culture and also sponsored by the Museum of Fine Arts Houston. Community Arts Night is supported by UPS and Coca Cola. HAAPIFEST is supported by Southwest Airlines. 

    OCA-Greater Houston & HAAPIFEST organizers are available for interviews regarding the film festival as will filmmakers as they come into town. A list of the filmmakers can be provided upon request. Tickets, film showtimes and all other HAAPIFEST information available at 


    Festival Dates

    • Opening Night - Thursday, June 20@ Asia Society Texas Center | 1370 Southmore Blvd., Houston, TX 77004
    • HAAPIFEST - Friday, June 21 - June 27@ Houston Marriott Westchase | 2900 Briarpark Dr., Houston, TX 77042
    • Arts Night - Friday, June 28@ Chinese Community Center | 9800 Town Park Dr., Houston, TX 77036

    Opening Night details @
    For full festival details, please visit our website @


    HAAPIFEST started in 2004 by OCA-Greater Houston, was created to highlight and celebrate the diversity of culture, food, and stories of the AAPI community, to support AAPI artists and filmmakers, and to share the messages, issues, hopes, and dreams of the AAPI experience for the Greater Houston metropolitan area through edutainment.

    About OCA-Greater Houston 

    Founded in 1973, OCA is a national organization of community advocates dedicated to advancing the social, political, and economic well-being of AAPIs in the United States. Established in 1979, the OCA-Greater Houston Chapter is one of OCA’s 100+ chapters and affiliates and works to provide strong local programs that empower the AAPI community through advocacy, cultural awareness, professional development, economic empowerment, youth leadership training, civic engagement, community service, and education.

  • Wed, May 08, 2019 12:00 AM | Anonymous

    Contact: Cecil Fong
    OCA-Greater Houston Chapter
    Phone: (832) 758-2442

    May 8, 2019


    (Houston, Texas) May 8, 2019 - The OCA-Greater Houston Chapter calls upon MD Anderson Cancer Center (MD Anderson) to address community concerns that the investigations estimated to have affected at least 10 ethnic Chinese researchers lacked transparency and due process, thereby also lowering morale of colleagues.

    “The process was not transparent,” said Cecil Fong, OCA-Greater Houston Chapter President. “Everyone was kept in the dark.”

    Without any background understanding of the investigations, rumors circulated in the community, causing a sense of uncertainty and anxiety, said chapter member Helen Shih. Shih, a former faculty member at MD Anderson, still has colleagues in the cancer center.

    “If the scientists had been informed and consulted in the process, they would feel that the environment is much more inclusive and supportive rather than one that leaves them exposed and vulnerable,” Shih added.

    Fong also pointed out that “there was no avenue for grievances or appeal. … “You didn’t know the investigation process.” In the vacuum, Fong said that he felt that “the scientists were presumed guilty.”

    According to Science magazine, the scientists who are under investigations have been unable to go to work for months, leaving projects under jeopardy of being transferred or funding being recalled. Fong said that the researchers did not know when they would be able to return, or whether they had to look for another job.

    “It’s not the way to treat your highly valued scientists, said Fong. “They are all established scientists even prior to coming to MD Anderson. They brought MD Anderson research funding. They are very good performers.”

    The chapter recognizes that there are FBI concerns about foreign influence in sensitive technologies which prompted the National Institute of Health to send a letter to its 10,000 grantees. At the same time, MD Anderson has discretion over the means to enforce agency rules and to protect the reputation of a group of scientists whose backgrounds naturally bring them into contact with their country of origin when the institution encourages overseas collaborations. According to Science, no one at MD Anderson has been charged with a federal crime.

    Shih believes that MD Anderson can “re-establish a healthy and transparent environment while advancing scientific collaboration” as long as the process is improved upon.

    # # #

    Established in 1979, the OCA-Greater Houston Chapter (OCA-GH),, is the lead organization in Houston that serves the Asian American community. The chapter carries out programs/initiatives that advance four main goals: to advocate for social justice, equal opportunity and fair treatment; to promote civic participation, education, and leadership; to advance coalitions and community building; and to foster cultural heritage. Its parent organization, OCA-Asian American Advocates (formerly the “Organization of Chinese Americans”),, is headquartered in Washington, D.C. and networks 100+ chapters and college affiliates.

  • Thu, December 13, 2018 6:11 PM | Anonymous


    OCA Calls for Administration to Preserve MOU with Vietnam

    13 December 2018
    Contact: Thu Nguyen | Senior Communications Associate
    202.223.5500 |

    Washington, DC – OCA – Asian Pacific American Advocates condemns the Trump Administration’s reinterpretation of a 2008 agreement signed by the Bush Administration that bars the deportation of Vietnamese people who arrived in the United States before July 12, 1995.

    The Trump Administration had first reinterpreted this agreement in 2017 and began deporting Vietnamese immigrants, then pulled back from this effort in August of 2018. Despite being recognized by all, the Administration is back on track with its intent to deport Vietnamese refugees as they enter talks with the Embassy of Vietnam. If the memorandum is modified, thousands of Vietnamese Americans will be immediately subject to deportation. Some of which are children of those who fought with American and South Vietnamese forces during the war, seen as the opposition to the current regime in Hanoi.

    “It is deplorable and inhumane to force refugees of war to return toa country they originally fled from, creating a displaced, stateless population,” said Vicki Shu, OCA Vice President of Public Affairs. “The United States has a moral imperative to honor these asylum seekers who sought freedom and a chance to build a productive, new and better life here. This is an egregious policy that mirrors the disturbing trend of anti-immigrant proposals. OCA calls on the Administration to reconsider their interpretation of the agreement with humanity and stop the deportation of war refugees that include Vietnamese, Cambodian, Laotian, and other Southeast Asian communities.”

    OCA – Asian Pacific American Advocates is a national organization of community advocates dedicated to the social, political, and economic well-being of Asian Pacific American Islanders (AAPI’s.)

  • Wed, March 14, 2018 6:02 PM | Anonymous

    Asian American Leaders Blast Federal Court Ruling
    Upholding Anti-Immigrant/Anti-Sanctuary City Law in Texas SB4

    Yesterday the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit issued a decision upholding Texas’s anti-immigrant/ anti-sanctuary city law (SB4).  The law is one of the harshest anti-immigrant state laws passed since Trump took office. Several Texas cities filed a lawsuit, in City of El Cenizo v. Texas, to block the implementation.  

    OCA-Greater Houston Chapter and the National Queer Asian Pacific Islander Alliance, along with LGBT Asian groups in Texas submitted an amicus (“friend of the court”) brief to illustrate the impact the law would have on Asian Americans, lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) people, and immigrants.  The brief was developed with the pro bono assistance of Reed Smith LLP.  Brief is here:

    In yesterday’s decision, the court unanimously affirmed nearly all of the provisions of the law. 

    Glenn D. Magpantay, NQAPIA Executive Director, said, “We are outraged by the decision!  Texas SB 4 will subject Asian Americans, LGBT people, and Latinos to illegal profiling about their immigration status by local law enforcement.” 

    Debbie Chen of OCA Greater Houston Chapter, noted that “Asian Americans are the fastest growing immigrant group in Texas. The Asian population is growing at twice the rate of the Hispanic population.  Large metro areas like Dallas and Houston are experiencing particularly rapid growth of Asian Americans, and each has a significant number of undocumented Asian American immigrants.”  

    The profiling and harassment of the Asian population is not a new phenomenon in the United States.  The Chinese Exclusion Act of 1882 was the first law ever enacted to permanently exclude a specific ethnic group from immigrating to the United States based on race.  During World War II, American of Japanese ancestry were interned in concentration camps.  Texas SB 4 echoes this shameful era of U.S. bans on Chinese immigrants and internment of Japanese-American citizens.  

    Koomah of The Collective of Houston Asian Americans (CHAA), said, “Asian Americans are the largest group of immigrants (both documented and undocumented) coming to the US. Undocumented LGBTQi immigrants are also disproportionately Asian. Furthermore, SB 4 would subject Latinx, Asian Americans, Muslims, and LGBTQi people who are already ethnic, racial, religious, gender and/or sexual minorities, to even further discrimination and harassment through discriminatory stops and unlimited questioning by police, regardless of their actual immigration status.” 

    Moreover, many LGBT immigrants come from Asian countries that criminalize homosexuality. SB4 increases the likelihood that they could be forced to return to countries and face persecution. 

    OCA-Greater Houston and NQAPIA published an op-ed further illustrating the impact of SB4 on Asian Americans in Texas at  

    The decision is expected to be appealed and the organizations are looking to be involved in that suit.  Magpantay further said, “We will fight this all the way up to the U.S. Supreme Court.” 

    More information about Texas SB 4 is available here:


    # # #


    Established in 1979, the OCA-Greater Houston Chapter (OCA-GH) is one of the OCA’s (formerly the “Organization of Chinese Americans”) 100+ chapters and college affiliates, with a long track record of programs/initiatives that work to advance 4 main goals: to advocate for social justice, equal opportunity and fair treatment; to promote civic participation, education, and leadership; to advance coalitions and community building; and to foster cultural heritage. 

    The National Queer Asian Pacific Islander Alliance (NQAPIA) is a nationwide federation of LGBT Asian American, South Asian, Southeast Asian, and Pacific Islander (API) organizations. We seek to build the organizational capacity of local LGBT API groups, develop leadership, and expand collaborations to better challenges anti-LGBT bias and racism.

  • Tue, October 31, 2017 6:32 PM | Anonymous

    October 31, 2017

    Dear Mr. Rob Manfred:

    We are extremely disappointed in Yuli Gurriel’s show of bad sportsmanship when he made a racist gesture and uttered a racial slur against LA Dodgers’ Yu Darvish. Not only was this offensive to Mr. Darvish, but also to the many Asian baseball fans watching across the nation and worldwide. The MLB should have suspended Mr. Gurriel immediately for Game Five during the World Series. As such, the MLB should place a heavier fine on Mr. Gurriel and the Astros, as well as future immediate suspension for any racial slur or gesture against a player.

    Although Mr. Gurriel publicly apologized after the game, it took 18 hours before there was an announcement that he would be suspended for five games without pay in the 2018 season. This sentence seems cosmetic and further insults the Asian and Asian American community.

    The gesture of slanted eyes has historically been used to demonize and ostracize Asians, and it is the responsibility of an individual player, a team, and the MLB to make sure that this is understood – just as it is understood that it is, under any circumstances, appropriate to use the “n” word. Though we understand that Mr. Gurriel may not have thought the word he uttered, “chinito,” was a racial slur due to cultural differences, he knew that his hand gesture was wrong.

    The MLB punishes players for sins against baseball and sins against the greater society, and racism should not be exempt. The MLB must show that it will not tolerate discrimination, racism and slurs by both members of the MLB and baseball fans alike.

    Many members of the Asian American community agree that the MLB has not done enough in reprimanding Mr. Gurriel and the Astros. We believe that can begin with stronger discipline such as an additional fine to the Astros next season and thorough diversity training. Please feel free to contact Thu Nguyen at (202) 223-5500 ext. 119 or at


    OCA – Asian Pacific American Advocates


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