It is my pleasure to wish you a happy Asian Pacific American Heritage Month (APAHM). This month, we honor the culture, history, and contributions of our diverse community.
The reach of the Asian Pacific American community is broad and influential. Though our community has often been oppressed, we have continued to contribute to the fabric of our society in significant ways. We are the descendants of Chinese railroad workers, Filipino veterans of WWII, and Polynesian navigators. We are Senators, CEOs, and Nobel Prize winners. We are fathers, mothers, sisters, and brothers. We are Asian Pacific Americans.
We come from many walks of life, but one of our common links is our immigrant stories. Our journeys span multiple generations, destinations, and thousands of miles, and these journeys still remain difficult today. Visa backlogs plague the system and immigrants are forced to wait for years, if not decades, to reunite with their family members in the United States. Until we pass comprehensive immigration reform with a solution to the visa backlog and a pathway to citizenship, our immigration system will remain broken. Families continue to be driven apart by our failed immigration policies, and our community suffers because of it.
In the past year, the rising anti-immigrant tide has taken hold of the reform debate. We have seen the language used to describe immigrants devolve into comparisons to swarms of pests. We have seen Chinese scientists arrested not for their actions, but because of their national origin. We have seen a proposal to ban all Muslims gain traction - a proposal so shockingly similar to the Chinese Exclusion Act, that many have been compelled to cite the act as a historical example. Some Americans have simply ceased to see immigrants as people, and they want to make a bad system worse.
That is why this month, we not only celebrate the past, but we also fight for a better future. We fight for an America with open arms and for an immigration system that brings families together instead of driving them apart. We fight for a society that values the contributions of immigrants and does not seek to dehumanize them. Most importantly, we fight for our families and loved ones, so that we all may enjoy the benefits of living together in this great country.
OCA Chief Executive Officer
Book a Discounted Room for Convention Before 6/5!
Get the most out of the 2016 OCA National Convention by booking a room at the location! Book before Sunday, June 5, 2016 for a group discount rate!
OCA - Houston Successful Plaintiffs in Voting Rights Case
OCA - Houston were the plaintiffs in a voting rights case to ensure equal access to the ballot box for Limited English Proficient (LEP) voters. This effort was in conjunction with Asian American Legal Defense and Education Fund (AALDEF).
Apply for a Data Disaggregation Grant from US Department of Education
Earlier this month,the US Department of Education (ED) announced a new federal grant for states to improve their data collection and dissemination. The grant aims to "obtain and evaluate disaggregated data on English Learner (EL) AAPI subpopulations beyond the existing seven racial and ethnic categories within the school community [in order] to identify targeted strategies for closing educational opportunity gaps." This new initiative is an important step towards better supporting the language needs of our students and families, which are often overlooked due to a lack of school resources and specific data on our students.
We strongly encourage community members and community-based organizations to contact your state education officials and encourage them to apply. Listed below is contact information for your state superintendent or commissioner if you live in California, Hawaii, Minnesota, New York, Rhode Island, or Washington state. If your state is not listed, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org and we can help you find contact information for your state.
We have also included a sample email letter you can send to them here.
Eligible for SNAP? Get Low-Cost Internet Access from AT&T
Access from AT&T is now available if you or another person in your household participates in the government's Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, or SNAP. For those who enroll, AT&T will deliver an Internet speed of 10Mbps, 5Mbps, or 3Mbps-whichever is the fastest available at their address. Customers assigned a speed tier of 10Mbps or 5Mbps will pay $10 per month, and those assigned 3Mbps will pay $5 per month.
Qualifying households will not be required to pay installation or Internet equipment fees to participate in Access from AT&T, which will last a total of 4 years. Participants who enroll in service in the final year will receive the discounted rates for 12 months. Other eligibility requirements apply.
There is no doubt that we are moving rapidly toward a fully-connected future. Technology will likely change our daily lives in the next decade in even more striking ways than it did in the last. We know that Access from AT&T will help bridge the digital divide by allowing more those who are currently disconnected- including students, seniors and veterans - to more easily search for jobs, complete education courses, and connect with family and friends.
OCA - Fairfield County Participates in "Stamp Out Hunger" Drive
OCA - Fairfield County participated in a food drive earlier this month, collecting over 21,000 pound of food to feed 750 families.
Honor and Duty:The Mississippi Delta Chinese
Honor and Duty: The Mississippi Delta Chinese,is a three-part documentary series telling the story of an almost forgotten community of Chinese in America's Deep South. This documentary will be shown on Mississippi Public Broadcasting this May.
Part One (1870 to 1940), tells how the Chinese first came to Mississippi in the 19th century and the challenges of coming to the United States. In Part Two (1941-1945), 24 Delta Chinese WWII veterans and their families share stories of the war and its impact on their lives in the Mississippi Delta. The documentary concludes with Part Three (1946 to the present), focusing on how the Delta Chinese have influenced the social and economic fabric, customs and culture of Mississippi.