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  • Wed, August 30, 2017 4:46 PM | Anonymous

    Texas SB4’s Impact on Asian Americans – Why We Should Care

    On Friday, September 1, Texas Senate Bill 4 is scheduled to go into effect. Last May, Texas Governor Greg Abbott signed one of the most rigorous anti-immigrant laws passed since Trump took office. It would allow racial profiling and subject ethnic and racial minorities to unlimited questioning about their immigration status — all by local law enforcement officials with little or no training in immigration law.

    As part of its prohibition against so-called “sanctuary cities,” the bill would also levy heavy penalties against local officials who don’t comply with federal immigration authorities, including up to a $25,500 daily fine, misdemeanor charges, and loss of elected or appointed office.

    The pushback against the bill was clear and rapid: Just one day after the bill was signed into law, city and county officials in Texas, along with the League of United Latin American Citizens, filed a lawsuit against both the Governor and State Attorney General Ken Paxton.

    Since then, the four largest cities in Texas – Houston, San Antonio, Dallas, and Austin – have joined the lawsuit, along with other cities and organizations throughout Texas. Other related lawsuits are also pending. Several national civil rights groups, labor unions, and legal experts have condemned the law, arguing that it would violate the U.S. Constitution by impeding free speech and equal protection.

    But as is often the case when it comes to mainstream portrayals of immigration issues in the U.S., Asian Americans seem to be missing — or at least standing by the sidelines.

    What’s At Stake

    Asians Americans are the fastest-growing racial minority group in the country. We also form the largest segment of documented and undocumented immigrants coming to the U.S. One million Asian Americans are undocumented. In Texas, 44% of the state’s population is Latinx, Asian American, or Arab American.

    It is also important to note that there is an estimated 263,000 LGBTQ API immigrants, of which nearly 40,000 are undocumented. Studies have found the LGBT undocumented immigrant population to be disproportionately Asian.

    Texas SB 4 would equally subject both Latinx and Asian Americans, and LGBT people who are ethnic and racial minorities, to illegal profiling regarding immigration status.

    Texas Senate Bill 4 would subject both Asian Americans and Latinxs to discriminatory stops and interrogation about their immigration status, even for people who have not been charged with any crime. If this law is allowed to go into effect, it stands without question that our community members will be caught in the crossfire.

    We’ve Seen this Before

    The parallels between today’s immigration struggles and the history of Asians people in America run deep. Asian Americans have endured unjust profiling by law enforcement because of our race, over the years and today.

    The Chinese Exclusion Act of 1882, later made permanent in 1902, was the first law ever enacted to permanently exclude a specific ethnic group from immigrating to the United States based on race and also excluded Chinese immigrants from applying for US citizenship and essentially legalized racial discrimination. The Japanese American internment during World War II stemmed more from racism and prejudice than from any calculated analysis of security threats. The traumatic experiences and memories of internment continue to shape the fabric of Japanese and Asian American consciousness today. Texas was home to three of those internment camps.

    Our South Asian community members have faced intensified scrutiny and profiling since 9/11 and, more recently, since the election of Trump. These encounters, interrogations, and attacks are often driven by Islamophobia and motivated by blanket perceptions of all South Asian people as Muslim. This kind of everyday profiling happens at airports, on public streets, in gated communities, and on the subway.

    The targeting of Chinese American scientists forms another dimension of racial profiling in America: Wen Ho Lee, Xiaoxing Xi, Sherry Chen, Guoqing Cao, and Shuyu Li, among others, were all accused of espionage, only to have their charges dropped with little or no explanation. Even so, the consequences of having been accused of spying reverberated in these individuals’ lives long after the government had moved on.

    As Asian Americans, we must take a stand against Texas Senate Bill 4, because our collective histories demonstrate that no one should be singled out and discriminated against merely for looking Latinx, gay, Asian, queer, Muslim, or trans.

    We Can Win

    OCA-GH stands strongly against SB4 and organized an AAPI advocacy Day during this recent State Legislature for members to speak with their representatives on this issue and our members urged to the Houston City Council to join the lawsuit against the state. OCA-GH supported the joint community press conference on the negative impact of SB4 on the Texas economy and families and continues to hold community education forums on the impact of SB4.

    NQAPIA organized its Texas member groups and several more from throughout the South to write letters immediately after Texas’ governor signed Senate Bill 4 into law. Our coalition of LGBTQ API organizations hand-wrote 50 letters to the Harris County sheriff, the Houston mayor and police chief, and the city’s council members. We urged these officials to sue the state so as to block the law from taking effect, and we thanked them for taking a stand against the bill.

    The following month, the Houston City Council voted to join one of the pending lawsuits against the bill.

    Our voices as matter. We can make a difference. The first step is to educate yourself. (You can read up on the details of Texas Senate Bill 4 here, and there’s a know-your-rights breakdown here.) Then — whether it be in the form of a handwritten letter, a phone call, a protest, or a rally — show up and hold space in solidarity with our immigrant family.

    The writers: Deborah Y. Chen is the Civic Engagement Programs Director of OCA-Asian Pacific American Advocates Greater Houston Chapter, and Glenn D. Magpantay is the Executive Director of the National Queer Asian Pacific Islander Alliance (NQAPIA).

    Reposted from Huffington Post

  • Sat, August 26, 2017 12:00 AM | Anonymous

    26 August 2017
    Contact: Thu Nguyen | Communications Associate
    202.223.5500 |

    Washington, D.C. – OCA – Asian Pacific American Advocates condemns President Trump’s directive to ban transgender military service members. 

    Last night, President Trump issued a memorandum directing the Departments of Defense and Homeland Security to ban transgender military personnel from serving. The decision to remove already serving transgender individuals from the military is left to Defense Secretary Jim Mattis.  The policy also restricts access to important medical treatment for transgender individuals currently in the armed forces.

    “It is unconscionable for President Trump to further reinforce state sanctioned discrimination against the transgender community. Despite the historic and ongoing hatred and violence many transgender individuals face, they still love and cherish our freedom and our democracy enough to put their lives on the line for us,” said Vicki Shu, OCA National Vice President of Public Affairs.

    “There are 1.4 million trans adults in the United States. Fifty-six percent of Asian American Pacific Islander trans individuals have attempted suicide largely due to the harassment and hate they face. For the President to completely take away their option to choose to protect their country only serves to dehumanize an already marginalized population. We remain committed to working with our partners to combat this and any other attacks on the LGBTQ community,” concluded Shu.

    Earlier this month at the OCA National Convention, the OCA National Board passed a resolution further resolving to support the LGBTQ+ community.

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

    OCA – Asian Pacific American Advocates | 202-223-5500 |

  • Fri, August 25, 2017 12:00 AM | Anonymous

    25 August 2017
    CONTACT:  Thu Nguyen | Communications Associate
    202.223.5500 |

    WASHINGTON, D.C. – OCA – Asian Pacific American Advocates responds to the Axios’ report that President Trump is “seriously considering ending DACA”:

    “There are over 800,000 DACA recipients, over 16,000 of whom are AAPI. Repealing DACA would bring irreparable harm to the Asian American and Pacific Islander community,” said Vicki Shu, OCA Vice President of Public Affairs. “In the past, President Trump has expressed sympathy for DACA recipients and those eligible for DACA. We urge the President to continue to protect the DACA program. OCA remains committed to advocating for a pathway to citizenship. Until that happens, OCA will keep pushing the President to keep the program alive, and we will advocate for passage of the bi-partisan supported DREAM Act in Congress.”

    Click HERE to read OCA’s previous release regarding the fifth anniversary of DACA.

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

    OCA – Asian Pacific American Advocates | 202-223-5500 |

  • Wed, August 16, 2017 6:01 PM | Anonymous


    August 16, 2017

    HCAH Contact:
    Eesha Pandit
    tel: 281-772-1307


    The Houston Coalition Against Hate (HCAH) joins many other communities around the country in condemning the message of white supremacist groups this past weekend in Charlottesville, Virginia, and the violence that they engendered.

    We join the many voices around the nation in denouncing the hatred we saw on display, recognizing that this tragedy is not an isolated incident, but rather the manifestation of centuries of systemic violence, racism, and anti-Semitism in this country. We send our condolences to the families of Heather Heyer, Jay Cullen and Berke M. M. Bates, and we hold in our hearts those who were injured while standing up to injustice.

    What happened in Charlottesville can serve as a teachable moment for Houston’s residents and leaders. As residents of one of the most diverse cities in the nation, we are proud of our city and our country’s diversity. At times like these, we must speak up, call out, and stand united against cruelty, bigotry and hate. We know that Houston is stronger when all of our communities feel safe in the expression of their unique ethnic and cultural backgrounds and we are committed to ensuring that Houston is an inclusive and welcoming city.

    The Houston Coalition Against Hate is a network of community-based organizations in Houston that have come together to collectively address incidents of bias, hate, discrimination and violence against Houstonians because of their religion, race/ethnicity, gender, disability, age, sexual orientation, gender identity/expression, and immigration status.


    Alliance for Compassion and Tolerance
    American Civil Liberties Union of Texas
    Anti-Defamation League - Southwest Region
    The Asia Society
    Catholic Charities of the Archdiocese of Galveston Houston
    The Chinese Community Center
    Council on American Islamic Relations - Texas
    Daya, Inc.
    Holocaust Museum Houston
    Houston Endowment
    Houston GLBT Political Caucus
    Houston Immigration Legal Services Collaborative
    Interfaith Ministries for Greater Houston
    The Montrose Center
    OCA-Greater Houston
    The Rothko Chapel
    Stardust Fund
    The Simmons Foundation
    Texas Organizing Project
    United We Dream - Houston
    University of Houston Graduate College of Social Work

  • Sat, May 06, 2017 12:00 AM | Anonymous

    OCA–Wisconsin and Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett at the signing ceremony for a proclamation observing the anniversary of the Chinese Exclusion Act.

    WASHINGTON, D.C. - As the nation kicks off Asian Pacific American Heritage Month, OCA - Asian Pacific American Advocates and its chapters recognized the 135th anniversary of the Chinese Exclusion Act by supporting Day of Inclusion efforts nationwide.

    The Chinese Exclusion Act was signed into law by President Chester A. Arthur on May 6, 1882. This was the only law in American history to specifically exclude an ethnic group from entering the United States, as a result of decades of anti-Chinese sentiment where Chinese were blamed for unemployment and crime, the law also prohibited Chinese immigrants and their descendants from obtaining citizenship. This law remained in effect for over 60 years until it was finally overturned in 1943, and remains among the most shameful episodes in our nation's history. In 2012, a bipartisan Congressional Resolution formally expressed regret for the Chinese Exclusion Act.

    In observance of this anniversary, OCA chapters around the country led efforts to pass resolutions and proclamations observing the anniversary of the Chinese Exclusion Act in their local cities and counties. Cities that issued a resolution or proclamation include: Alameda, CA; Berkeley, CA; Cincinnati, OH; Milwaukee, WI; Pittsburgh, PA; Sacramento, CA; and Seattle, WA. This accompanies other resolutions in San Francisco, CA and Los Angeles, CA.

    OCA–Sacramento and Sacramento Mayor Darrell Steinberg at the signing ceremony for their proclamation on the Chinese Exclusion Act.

    "We are glad that our chapters have called upon their elected officials to openly state that exclusion was wrong then, and it is wrong now. As we celebrate our numerous achievements in this country, Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders must continue to remain steadfast in speaking out for inclusion of all members of our society, regardless of religion or national origin. Let this day be known as a Day of Inclusion, as a reminder that we can never fall back to exclusion," said Vicki Shu, Vice President of Public Affairs.

    Organizers will convene a Rally for Inclusion today in Portsmouth Square in the San Francisco Chinatown. For more information on the Rally for Inclusion in San Francisco, visit

    OCA–East Bay and the Alameda City Council at the signing ceremony for their city council resolution on the Chinese Exclusion Act.

    OCA – Asian Pacific American Advocates | 202-223-5500 |

  • Sun, April 16, 2017 12:00 AM | Anonymous

    From left: OCA CEO Ken Lee, Linda Lai, and Phil Choy at the 2009 OCA National Convention in San Francisco, CA

    WASHINGTON, D.C. - OCA - Asian Pacific American Advocates remembers the life of Phil Choy, an Asian American trailblazer in the historical field. 

    On March 16, 2017, Phil Choy, an esteemed Chinese American historian and architect, passed away. Among his many accomplishments, he taught the first ever collegiate level course on Chinese American history at San Francisco State University. He also submitted the case report for the designation of the Angel Island Immigration Station on the National Register of Historical Places. OCA honored Choy and his frequent collaborator Him Mark Lai with the Outstanding Citizen Achievement Award for their contributions at the 2009 OCA National Convention in San Francisco.

    "We offer our deepest condolences to the family and friends of Phil Choy. His pioneering work in teaching Chinese American history and advocating for the preservation of important historical sites like Angel Island helped bring light to the struggles of these early immigrants. A passionate advocate for his community, the impression he left on this world will live on long after he has gone from it," said Sharon Wong, OCA National President.

    From the Chinese Historical Society of America (CHSA):

    A memorial service for Philip Choy will be held Sunday April 23, 2017 at 1:00 pm on Treasure Island at the site of the 1939 Golden Gate International Exhibition (1 Avenue of the Palms). More details and a guestbook to sign can be found here.

    OCA – Asian Pacific American Advocates | 202-223-5500 |

  • Tue, April 11, 2017 12:00 AM | Anonymous

    11 April 2017
    CONTACT:  Nick Lee | Senior Communications Associate
    202 223 5500 |

    WASHINGTON, D.C. – OCA – Asian Pacific American Advocates demands answers regarding the violent removal of a United passenger.

    On Sunday, April 9, prior to the departure of United Airlines flight 3411 from Chicago to Louisville, a passenger was violently removed from the aircraft as a result of the airline overbooking the flight and not having enough room for other crewmembers. Chicago Department of Aviation security officers pulled the victim, David Dao, who identified himself as Asian and a doctor, out of his seat and dragged him down the aisle to the exit. Dao then attempted to return to the aircraft with his face bruised and bloody, visibly shaken and repeating “just kill me” and “I have to go home.” United Airlines CEO Oscar Munoz only offered an apology for having to “re-accomodate these customers,” with no mention of the violence involved in the removal. In a separate email on Monday night, Munoz was dismissive about the passenger and stood behind the policies and procedures of the airline.

    In response to the incident, OCA is sending a letter to United Airlines, the Chicago Department of Aviation, and the U.S. Department of Transportation demanding a complete audit of the incident.  OCA is also calling for Congressional hearings in both the House and Senate to investigate ticket sales and boarding processes by United and other airlines.

    “We were deeply disturbed by the videos of the United Airlines passenger, who was a victim of the company’s poor booking policies, being violently dragged from the airplane. This episode reflects very poorly on our country and demonstrates a lack of judgment responsible of several parties. In responding to this incident, United should be conducting a thorough and objective investigation, addressing the incident directly, and apologizing for the vicious way it was handled. The Chicago Department of Aviation should also be held accountable for why their officers felt it necessary to use violence to remove the passenger,” says Ken Lee, CEO.

    “Indeed, the optics of a bloodied elderly Asian man being forcibly removed from his seat is something we cannot ignore.  Regardless of race or background, all individuals’ rights and freedoms must be protected within the system. This incident is a clear example of authorities using excessive force. We demand answers from United Airlines and the Chicago Department of Aviation. We look forward to hearing from the various governmental agencies in regard to this incident.”

    OCA – Asian Pacific American Advocates is a national organization of community advocates dedicated to improving the social, political, and economic well-being of Asian Pacific Americans (APAs).

    OCA – Asian Pacific American Advocates | 202-223-5500 |

  • Fri, March 17, 2017 12:00 AM | Anonymous

    17 March 2017
    CONTACT:  Nick Lee | Senior Communications Associate
    202 223 5500 |

    Washington, D.C. - OCA - Asian Pacific American Advocates is extremely concerned about the removal of the Accountability Regulations under the Every Student Succeeds Act.

     The Every Student Succeeds Act is a bipartisan measure signed in 2015 that revises No Child Left Behind, which governs the nation's education law and equal opportunity for students. On March 9, 2017, the Senate voted to repeal a portion of this act that offered federal funding to state and local school districts in exchange for plans that ensured equitable and safe education for historically marginalized groups, including English language learners and immigrant students.

    The ESSA Accountability regulations would have enshrined critical policies that would have protected the education of millions of AAPI students. One regulation called for Asian American, Native Hawaiian, and Pacific Islander communities to have disaggregated data to detect achievement gaps compared to their white counterparts. This would have brought attention to the fact that Hmong, Lao, and Cambodian Americans have an average high school achievement rate of 63% compared to 95% of Taiwanese Americans and 85% of the total US population.

    "OCA supports vigilant oversight of education policies that speak to the diverse and multi-faceted needs of the 2.6 million Asian American and Pacific Islander students currently enrolled in public school", said Vicki Shu, OCA National Vice President of Public Affairs.  "We are disappointed in the removal of these regulations and the failure of the architects of ESSA to negotiate in good faith when the accountability regulation was initially agreed upon", Shu concluded.

    OCA - Asian Pacific American Advocates is a national organization of community advocates dedicated to improving the social, political, and economic well-being of Asian Pacific Americans (APAs).

    OCA – Asian Pacific American Advocates | 202-223-5500 |

  • Mon, March 06, 2017 12:00 AM | Anonymous

     Rep. Mike Bost of Illinois' 12th District

    6 March 2017
    CONTACT:  Nick Lee | Senior Communications Associate
    202 223 5500 |

    WASHINGTON, D.C. – OCA – Asian Pacific American Advocates condemns the offensive statement by Representative Mike Bost, in which he used the offensive term ‘Orientals’ and compared recent town halls to torture in Communist China.

    In an interview last week with The Southern Illinoisian, Representative Mike Bost of Illinois compared the protests seen at recent town halls around the country with the ‘struggle sessions’ that used to occur in Mao-era China. ‘Struggle sessions’ were a form of torture intended to shame opposition to the government, sometimes resulting in the deaths of the subjects of this torture. Bost told the Illinoisian, “The amount of time that I have at home is minimal, I need to make sure that it’s productive. You know the cleansing that the Orientals used to do where you’d put one person out in front and 900 people yell at them? That’s not what we need. We need to have meetings with people that are productive.”

    Bost later issued statement to CNN in response, saying, "I used a poor choice of words in describing the coordinated disruptions taking place across the country. While there was no malicious intent, I regret that my words may have distracted from an important point. When the booing and shouting drowns out the conversation we're trying to have with our constituents, it becomes that much harder to govern. It's time for Republicans and Democrats to get back to the point where we can disagree on the issues but give everyone a chance to have their voice heard."

    “Oriental is an offensive term used to project mysticism and danger of Asian communities. This term is a reminder of the Yellow Peril era where terms like Oriental were deployed to remove Asian people from the common definition of American and justify discriminatory legislation like the Chinese Exclusion Act and the Alien Land Law,” said Vicki Shu, OCA’s Vice President of Public Affairs. “It is strange that he would choose this language when he voted in favor of Congresswoman Meng’s legislation to eliminate the usage of the word “oriental” from federal policy language, knowing full well of its offensiveness.”

    “On behalf of the members of the OCA – St. Louis Chapter, some of whom are constituents of Congressman Bost, we are extremely disappointed to see a member of Congress using racial pejoratives to cover for their lack of engagement with constituents. The term Oriental is hurtful and outdated, and we are currently requesting a meeting with his office to discuss this matter,” said Caroline Fan, President of the OCA – St. Louis Chapter.

    Members can directly call Congressman Bost’s DC office at (202) 225-5661.

    OCA – Asian Pacific American Advocates is a national organization of community advocates dedicated to improving the social, political, and economic well-being of Asian Pacific Americans (APAs).

    OCA – Asian Pacific American Advocates | 202-223-5500 |

  • Tue, February 21, 2017 1:58 PM | Anonymous

    Jiansheng Chen

    WASHINGTON, D.C. - OCA - Asian Pacific American Advocates supports charges filed against the killer of Jiansheng Chen.

    On Thursday, the charges of second-degree murder and the use of a firearm in a murder were filed against the killer of Jiansheng Chen, or "Grandpa Chen", as he became affectionately known after his death. Chen, a 60-year-old grandfather who spoke little English, was shot several times by a security guard while sitting in his van playing Pokemon Go, a popular game for smartphones. Advocates from Virginia and around the country were outraged at the killing and the failure to file charges against the security guard. OCA - Eastern Virginia Chapter was a leader in the efforts to obtain justice, and their efforts included hosting a vigil, organizing a protest, and sending a letter demanding justice to the Virginia Commonwealth's Attorney.

    "We support the charges filed against the killer of Jiansheng Chen, whose unwarranted death has been so hard on his family and the Virginia Asian community. We thank the community members who stood with us and the Chen family to demand justice, including Virginia State Delegates Ron Villeneuva and Mark Keam, and United States Representatives Bobby Scott, Donald McEachin, and Grace Meng. We also recognize that this is the initial step in the long process which will bring final justice to 'Grandpa Chen', as he is known to his supporters around the country. We will be monitoring this case closely, to ensure that all proper procedures are followed and that justice is served. OCA - Eastern Virginia Chapter will continue to provide full support to Mr. Chen's family in the trial until the full verdict is made," said Harry Zhang, President of OCA - Eastern Virginia.

    "We are proud of the leadership that our OCA - Eastern Virginia Chapter has shown in helping advocate on behalf of the Chen family. Through their actions, our Eastern Virginia chapter has made sure local authorities know that our Asian American and Pacific Islander community will not stand idly by in the absence of justice. It is of the utmost importance in these trying times that we ensure fair treatment and equal justice are upheld by law enforcement," said Vicki Shu, OCA's Vice President of Public Affairs.

    OCA – Asian Pacific American Advocates | 202-223-5500 |

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