Rep. Judy Chu, AAPI Political Groups to Announce Joint Effort

On May 15 at the National Press Club in DC, Congressional Asian Pacific American Caucus (CAPAC) Chair, Congresswoman Judy Chu and leaders of several Asian American and Pacific Islander (AAPI) political organizations will discuss the growing political power of the AAPI community throughout the country.

They will speak of their efforts to maximize the AAPIs community’s impact on the November 2018 elections and to support the record number of AAPI candidates who are running for Congress.

In 2018, there are over 50 AAPIs candidates running for Congress. This event will showcase rising star AAPI congressional candidates from across the nation.

AAPI political organizations are launching an online and social media clearinghouse for AAPI political campaign and election activity. This AAPI Clearinghouse will give political activists a place online to learn about these groups and political candidates they are supporting and find opportunities to get involved in political campaigns and activities in the 2018 mid-term elections and beyond.

Through the Clearinghouse, these progressive groups aim to collaborate with each other to engage AAPI activists in political and policy action, strengthen their political voice, empower the AAPI community nationwide, and demonstrate the power and influence of our community on the country’s future.

Who:
Rep. Judy M. Chu (CA-27), Chair, Congressional Asian Pacific American Caucus
Paul M. Tiao, Co-Founder, Asian American Action Fund
Shekar Narasimhan, Chairman and Founder, AAPI Victory Fund
Gautam Raghavan, Executive Director, Indian American Impact Fund
Hiral Tipirneni, Congressional Candidate for AZ-08
David Min, Congressional Candidate for CA-45
Aruna Miller, Congressional Candidate for MD-06
Andy Kim, Congressional Candidate for NJ-03
Aftab Pureval, Congressional Candidate for OH-01

What:
Press conference to announce unified AAPI political engagement heading toward the November 2018 elections.

When:
May 15, 2018 at 10:00 AM ET

Where:
National Press Club
Zenger Room
529 14th St NW
Washington, DC 20045

Thirteen AAPI political organizations have united to maximize political representation and victory in the November 2018 elections: AAPI Progressive Action, AAPI Victory Fund, America’s Opportunity Fund (AOF), APALA, Asian American Action Fund, ASPIRE PAC, CAPA21 Action Fund, Desis for Progress, Indian American Impact Fund, KAYA, Korean Americans for Organizing (KAFO), PIVOT and (RUN).

RSVP to: veng@veng-group.com

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CAPA21 Action Chair Glen S. Fukushima Joins Board of Foreign Policy for America

Glen S. Fukushima, Chair of CAPA21 Action Fund, recently joined the board of directors of Foreign Policy for America (FP4America.org), a non-partisan 501(c)(4) organization championing strong, principled American foreign policy.

Glen is a Senior Fellow at the Center for American Progress, former Deputy Assistant United States Trade Representative for Japan and China, and former President at the American Chamber of Commerce in Japan.

Glen joins a board that includes: Simon Clark, Visiting Research Fellow at the Center for Security Policy Studies at the Schar School of Policy and Government at George Mason University; Dr. Stephen Grand, Executive Director of the Middle East Strategy Task Force at the Atlantic Council’s Rafik Hariri Center for the Middle East; Amb. (Ret.) Laura Kennedy, Former U.S. Ambassador to Turkmenistan and former U.S. Permanent Representative to the Conference on Disarmament in Geneva; Leopoldo Martinez, Principal at LMN Consulting LLC and Director at IQ AMERICAS Political Consultants; Zeenat Rahman, Project Director of the Inclusive America Project at the Aspen Institute and former Special Adviser to Secretaries Clinton and Kerry on Global Youth Issues at the U.S. Department of State; and Ellen Tauscher, Former Under Secretary of State for Arms Control and International Security Affairs and former member of the U.S. House of Representatives representing California’s 10th.

Foreign Policy for America is launching a new conversation about the ways foreign policy affects people’s lives. FP4A works with local organizations to hold discussion events featuring leading foreign policy specialists and local leaders through events at town halls, Rotary clubs, union halls, universities, religious establishments, and private homes, and aim to promote learning and understanding on both sides.

Foreign Policy for America is building a community of members who share a common commitment to progressive American foreign policy. They partner with local leaders to sustain and expand local conversations, and offer regular opportunities for members to take part in community-wide actions. Through training, toolkits, and national calls to action, Foreign Policy for America equips its members to make their voices heard on critical issues.

The FP4America Action Network supports its members to organize impactful election-related activities such as phone banks, canvassing, and fundraising to support progressive foreign policy champions, both in Washington and cities across the country.

Treasurer John Chiang Applauds State Pension Fund Divestment of Certain Gun Companies

CalSTRS becomes first state pension fund to adopt gun divestment policy focused on retailers and wholesalers of weapons used in mass shootings

California State Treasurer John Chiang today applauded the California State Teachers’ Retirement System for becoming the first state pension fund in the nation to adopt a policy that seeks to end pension investments in companies profiting from the proliferation of banned military-style assault weapons.

“At a pivotal moment in the national debate about gun violence safety, America’s largest teacher pension fund has voted to use the power of its purse strings to prevent more of our school yards, work sites, and places of worship from becoming killing fields,” said Chiang.

“It was time to stop using taxpayer and teacher pension dollars to support the proliferation of outlawed weapons that would earn prison time for any Californian caught possessing them.”

The unanimous vote establishes a three-step process for the board and its staff to follow, ending with divestment if prior steps of engagement and proxy voting are not successful in persuading companies to stop selling assault weapons already banned in California.

In a clear sign of its strong support for the new policy, CalSTRS plans to create two new positions, one in corporate governance and one in communications. The additional staff would help implement the new policy and provide CalSTRS’ investment committee with regular progress updates.

Before the investment board’s vote Wednesday, Treasurer Chiang introduced legislation, Senate Bill 459, with State Senator Anthony Portantino and Assembly members Eloise Gómez Reyes and Mike A. Gipson that would statutorily require the adoption of a nearly identical process for disposing of banned firearms investments made by both the California State Teachers’ Retirement System and the California Public Employees’ Retirement System.

Similar to the policy just adopted by CalSTRS, the legislation specifically requires California’s two largest pension funds to use the following progressive three-step process that ends in divestment if assault weapons dealers refuse to cooperate:

1. Engagement, for a limited period of time, with wholesale and retail sellers of assault weapons banned in California to persuade them to end such sales.

2. If sales continue or a company declines to engage, the pension systems will use their respective shareholder proxy powers to cast votes against retaining the company’s entire board of directors.

3. And, should proxy voting prove unsuccessful in persuading the company to cease in the sale of banned weapons, the pension systems will adopt an action to divest from the weapons dealer.

With today’s board action, CalSTRS has eliminated the need for the proposed legislation to govern its future investment activities.

“I am glad to be joining our State Treasurer for this important issue. California needs to continue our leadership for sensible gun control and to send a message that we should not be profiting from gun sales. We must respect the students in Florida for their efforts and make sure young people in California are safe when they leave home for school. By divesting from gun investments in our portfolio we are sending a message that we are serious in our efforts to stop senseless gun violence,” said Senator Portantino.

“If we are going to make progress on reducing the availability of dangerous weapons we must use our state’s investment power to compel positive behavior,” said Assemblymember Reyes. “The hard earned retirement dollars of our teachers should not be invested in companies that continue to sell high powered assault rifles and that refuse to take responsibility for the role they have in the perpetuation of this problem.”

“In my community, gun violence is very real and unfortunately it seems to be an everyday occurrence. As we continue to advance policies on weapons bans and gun control, it makes no sense for us to be investing in the very industry that produces these tools of destruction,” said Assemblymember Gipson. “Taxpayers expect us to invest money in a way that is consistent with our values and we must always value human life over financial profits.”

The Treasurer has for months been calling on the nation’s largest investors to stop putting their dollars in purveyors of banned assault weapons designed only for killing people and to send a clear message to gun manufacturers, gun sellers and the markets that weapons capable of wholesale killing have no place in our communities.

“If Congress and statehouses are stuck on stupid while Americans are burying their children, spouses, and siblings, then I call upon the nation’s largest institutional investors to end the mother’s milk of investments, financing, and cash flow to the manufacturers and dealers of military-grade assault weapons,” Chiang said.

Since his call to action, investors such as BlackRock and Citigroup, as well as such companies as Dick’s Sporting Goods, Kroger, and Walmart, have taken action and come to the realization that such sales are not supportable, morally or financially.

CalPERS, however, has dragged its heels in response to the growing public calls for divestment in sellers of banned assault weapons. CalPERS refused to hear the issue at its March 19 meeting, despite the strongest urging from Treasurer Chiang, emotional appeals from family members of victims of gun violence, and the well-reasoned arguments of national and state gun safety advocates.

Those wishing to support the divestment movement can use #DivestForOurLives on social media and write letters to CalPERS at the following addresses:

CalPERS
California Public Employees’ Retirement System
Board of Administration
P.O. Box 942701
Sacramento, CA 94229-2701

Email: board@calpers.ca.gov

Senator Hirono Stands Up for Immigrants and People of Color in Supreme Court Rally

Stop Repeating History!

Senator Mazie K. Hirono rallied with Karen Korematsu, civil rights groups, and activists at the Supreme Court after the Court heard oral arguments in Trump v. Hawaii ­– a case that will determine the constitutionality of President Donald Trump’s Muslim ban.

“If the Supreme Court allows this action by this president to stand, my fear is we don’t know what he will do next to hurt other immigrant or minority communities,” Senator Hirono said. “This is no time to give up and I will continue to fight against this administration’s divisive and discriminatory actions.”

Earlier this year, Senator Hirono joined 31 Senators in signing an amicus brief in support of the State of Hawaii’s case against the Muslim ban.

Senator Hirono and Senator Ted Cruz (R-Texas) joined together to successfully petition the Supreme Court to release same-day audio of oral arguments in the Trump v. Hawaii case.

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Manzanar to Host Pilgrimage Weekend Events April 27-29

Manzanar National Historic Site invites visitors to participate in a weekend of free special events in conjunction with the Manzanar Committee’s 49th Annual Pilgrimage.

This year’s Pilgrimage coincides with the 30th anniversary of the Civil Liberties Act of 1988, which provided redress to Japanese Americans though a presidential apology and individual payment to all surviving former incarcerees.

Pilgrimage Weekend 2018 events begin Friday, April 27, with a public reception hosted by the Friends of Eastern California Museum from 4:00 to 6:00 p.m. The Eastern California Museum is located at 155 Grant Street in Independence. It features exhibits including Shiro and Mary Nomura’s Manzanar collection, the Anna and O.K. Kelly Gallery of Native American Life, and exhibits on other facets of local and regional history. Eastern California Museum is open daily from 10:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.

The Manzanar National Historic Site Visitor Center is open 9:00 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. daily. On Saturday, April 28 only, the center will extend hours to 9:00 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. It features extensive exhibits and an award-winning film. A special art exhibit, Looking Back, Seeing Ahead by New Jersey artist Steve Cavallo is on display through late May.

Just outside the Visitor Center, Block 14 features two reconstructed barracks and a women’s latrine, as well as a restored World War II-era mess hall. The barracks exhibits offer an in-depth exploration of the challenges and changes people faced in their daily lives at Manzanar. The mess hall exhibits highlight the logistics and politics of food in Manzanar. The women’s latrine powerfully evokes the humiliation people endured during private moments in public spaces.

The Manzanar Committee’s 49th Annual Pilgrimage Ceremony begins at noon, Saturday, April 28, at the Manzanar Cemetery. UCLA Kyodo Taiko will kick off the event with traditional Japanese taiko drumming at 11:30 a.m., followed by the procession of camp banners at noon. The Pilgrimage program concludes with the traditional interfaith service and Ondo dancing, after which park rangers will offer walking tours to those wishing to explore Manzanar.

The Manzanar At Dusk program begins at 5:00 p.m. Saturday at Lone Pine High School located at 538 South Main Street (Hwy. 395) in Lone Pine. The program offers participants opportunities for intergenerational discussions and sharing. The program is co-sponsored by the Nikkei Student Unions of Cal State Long Beach, Cal Poly Pomona, UCLA, and UCSD.

At 11:00 a.m., Sunday, April 29, Life After Manzanar authors Heather Lindquist and Naomi Hirahara will share stories from their newly-published book in the West Theater of the visitor center. Manzanar History Association will host a book signing after the program.

With the exception of Friday evening’s reception and Saturday evening’s Manzanar At Dusk program, all events take place at Manzanar National Historic Site located at 5001 Hwy. 395, six miles south of Independence, nine miles north of Lone Pine, and approximately 230 miles northeast of Los Angeles. There is no food service at Manzanar. Please bring a water bottle, and lunch or snacks. Wear sunscreen, a hat, comfortable shoes, and dress for the weather.

For more information on Manzanar, please call 760-878-2194 ext. 3310 or visit our website at http://www.nps.gov/manz. Additional Pilgrimage program information is posted on the Manzanar Committee blog at https://blog.manzanarcommittee.org/.

Add Your Name Opposing the Muslim Ban on this Day of Remembrance

Monday, February 19, is the annual Day of Remembrance, marking the anniversary of Executive Order 9066, setting into motion the exclusion, eviction, and incarceration of 120,000 persons of Japanese ancestry, both American citizens and immigrants.

Remembering one of our country’s worst civil rights failures is not enough, and never has been. Now, more than ever, we must actively Resist in order to pressure our government leaders and courts to #StopRepeatingHistory.

Join us in making February 19 a Day of Resistance as well as a Day of Remembrance.

Oppose the Muslim Ban by adding your name to this Open Letter to the Country in support of the Korematsu-Takai Civil Liberties Protection Act of 2017, introduced by U.S. Senators Tammy Duckworth and Mazie Hirono, and companion legislation introduced by Congressman Mark Takano in the U.S. House of Representatives.

Please ask organizations with which you are affiliated to endorse the Resolution which can be downloaded here.

By adding your name to the Open Letter, we are telling the country and our leaders that the Muslim Ban is unacceptable and that it represents the same injustice suffered by Japanese Americans and immigrants during the Incarceration.

Thank you in advance for being part of the Resistance!

Dale Minami
President
CAPA21 Action Fund

EPYC ‘Empowering Pilipino Youth through Collaboration’ Ambassadors Program

The National Federation of Filipino American Associations (NaFFAA) is excited to announce the official launch of the Empowering Pilipino Youth through Collaboration (EPYC) Ambassadors Program. Through this program, NaFFAA seeks to equip young leaders to refine their skills and learn new strategies in order to better serve their communities. The EPYC Ambassadors Program is a one-year commitment focused on the growth of Filipino American young leaders through leadership development, civic engagement, and advocacy.

Ambassadors will participate in monthly “train-the-trainer” webinars and share best practices around various learning outcomes, and will conduct outreach through in-person events, social media, and a capstone initiative called “My EPYC Project.” The program is an opportunity for ambassadors to work closely with a mentor, participate in NaFFAA regional leadership efforts, and support their local campuses and communities.

Applications to become an EPYC Ambassador are open until Sunday, July 9, 2017 at 11:59pm ET. Applicants must be between the ages of 18 and 34 at the time of application, and must be currently enrolled in a degree-seeking program OR have graduated from a degree-seeking program no more than 2-3 years before the time of application. For further information concerning the program, eligibility requirements, and the application process, please see this document or email epyc@naffaa.org.

New $1.6M in Grants from National Park Service to Support Sites of Japanese American Incarceration

The National Park Service announced $1.6 million in grants to fund preservation, restoration and education projects at several Japanese American confinement sites.

The 14 grantees in four states and the District of Columbia will tell the story of the more than 120,000 Japanese Americans, two-thirds of whom were U.S. citizens, who were imprisoned by the U.S. government following the December 7, 1941 attack on Pearl Harbor by Japan.

“The incarceration of Japanese Americans during World War II is a painful episode in U.S. history, but one that future generations must remember and learn from,” National Park Service Acting Director Michael T. Reynolds said.

“The National Park Service has an important role in telling this story through our stewardship of sites like Honouliuli, Manzanar, Minidoka, and Tule Lake and the support we provide communities and partner organizations through the Japanese American Confinement Sites Grant Program.”

Congress established the Japanese American Confinement Sites grant program in 2006, authorizing a total of $38 million in funding for the life of the program. Today’s announcement brings the current award total to more than $22 million.

The grants will fund a diverse array of projects that will tell this important story in a variety of ways. Using grant funds, the National Japanese American Memorial Foundation will enlist the help of high school students to develop video apps that will provide visitors to the Japanese American Memorial to Patriotism in WWII with a deeper understanding of the incarceration sites commemorated by the memorial.

The Japanese American National Museum will use grant money to conserve more than 100 artifacts from the collection of Allen Hendershott Eaton, a folk art expert who acquired artwork created by incarcerees, which the museum will share as part of a traveling exhibition.

Japanese American Confinement Sites grants may be awarded to projects associated with the 10 War Relocation Authority centers established in 1942 and more than 40 additional confinement sites. The program’s mission is to teach future generations about the injustice of the World War II confinement of Japanese Americans and to inspire commitment to equal justice under the law. Successful proposals are chosen through a competitive process that requires applicants to match the grant award with $1 in non-federal funds or “in-kind” contributions for every $2 they receive in federal money.

Pediatrician Mai Khanh Tran Announces Campaign for Congress Against Ed Royce

doctran2018Mai Khanh Tran, MD kicked off her historic campaign for Congress (DocTran2018.com) on June 5 against twenty-four year incumbent Ed Royce, calling his vote for Trumpcare a giveaway to insurance companies and the wealthy, that will increase deductibles and co-pays even for those able to keep their insurance, and end guaranteed coverage for those with pre-existing conditions.

“As a physician who has been treating under-served families for the past twenty-five years here in Orange County, I am saddened by Ed Royce’s callousness, and as a citizen I am angry.  Americans deserve better and I want to do something about it,” said Mai Khanh Tran.

Congressman Ed Royce has failed the families of California’s 39th Congressional District on a whole range of critical issues.  Ed Royce votes with Donald Trump ninety-six percent of the time, consistently receives A ratings from the NRA, and opposes women’s health rights and human rights.

He has taken millions of dollars from big corporate interests, while earning failing grades for protecting the environment and fighting climate change.   Ed Royce also earns failing grades for his lack of support for our public schools, colleges and universities.

“In Ed Royce’s America, if you are not wealthy and can’t afford powerful lobbyists, your voice doesn’t count.  I’m running for Congress because everyday working families deserve a voice and deserve better.  Even though I’ve been an underdog throughout my life, I was given great opportunities to succeed in this country.   America never once turned her back on me,” said Mai Khanh Tran.

When she was nine years old, Mai Khanh and her three siblings came to United States as refugees from Vietnam.  Without speaking a word of English, the Tran siblings became farmworkers picking strawberries, working for years alongside other migrant families in rural Oregon.

After the fall of Saigon, her parents also escaped Vietnam.  The Tran family continued as farmworkers, cramming into a small living room and renting their only bedroom to a stranger to help pay the rent.

With help of Pell Grants and scholarships, Mai Khanh worked her way through Harvard as a janitor cleaning bathrooms on campus.   After graduating from Harvard, she spent nearly a year working as a healthcare analyst on Wall St., before attending Dartmouth\Brown Medical School and completing her residency in Pediatrics at UCLA.

“I overcame some pretty long odds in my life – including surviving breast cancer twice – and I feel privileged for the opportunity to give back and serve my community as a Physician.  In Congress, I will fight to strengthen our healthcare laws and for every family to have the same opportunities I had to achieve the American Dream,” said Mai Khanh Tran.

Tran added, “The voices of working and middle class men and woman across California’s 39th Congressional District have been missing in Washington for too long.  Our campaign will be about them.”

Visit DocTran2018.com to learn more.

CAA honors Cecillia Wang for Continuing the Legacy of Resistance

caasf-2017-honoree-cw.jpg

Chinese for Affirmative Action will honor Cecillia Wang at its 2017 Celebration of Justice on June 8, 2017, at The Event Center at St. Mary’s Cathedral in San Francisco.

CAA selected Cecillia as an honoree in recognition of her leadership in the fight against anti-immigrant laws, racial profiling, and other unlawful police practices relating to immigration enforcement across the country.

For more than 20 years, Cecillia has been at the center of landmark court cases, protecting the rights of the indigent, victims of torture, and undocumented immigrants. Most recently, Cecillia led a team to win a class action lawsuit on behalf of Latino immigrants impacted by the policy and practice of racial profiling and illegal detentions in Maricopa County in Arizona.

Her commitment and passion for justice is driven by her own family immigration story and the stories of so many Asian Americans who have stood up against unjust laws like the Chinese Exclusion Act. CAA is proud to honor Cecillia for continuing a long legacy of resistance.

Cecillia is a former board member of CAA and an AACRE trustee. She is currently the deputy legal director at the national ACLU and directs the Center for Democracy which encompasses the ACLU’s work on immigrants’ rights, voting rights, national security, human rights, and speech, privacy, and technology.

Learn more about CAA’s 2017 Celebration of Justice.

Disney Supports Asian and Pacific Islander Young Leaders with $500,000 Scholarship Commitment

The Walt Disney Company this week made a $500,000 commitment to establish a new scholarship program with the Asian & Pacific Islander American Scholarship Fund (APIASF) in support of high-achieving Asian and Pacific Islander college students.

The Walt Disney Company/APIASF Scholarship program will provide 150 scholarships over a three-year period and will be available to eligible students with Asian or Pacific Islander ethnicity in the U.S. beginning fall 2017. This scholarship commitment is one part of Disney’s ongoing efforts to strengthen diverse communities and support higher education.

“Disney is proud to support young Asian and Pacific Islander leaders in achieving their dreams of a higher education,” said Paul Richardson, chief diversity officer, The Walt Disney Company. “By giving these promising students the resources and tools they need to earn a college degree, we enable them to create a better, brighter future for us all.”

Auli‘i Cravalho, the Native Hawaiian star of Walt Disney Animation Studios’ Moana, and the film’s producer Osnat Shurer announced the scholarship program at APIASF’s gala on Oct.20, along with APIASF President and Executive Director Neil Horikoshi.

“Speaking on behalf of Auli‘i and all of us at Disney Animation, we are extremely honored to be part of this important scholarship commitment,” Shurer said. “We thank APIASF for their extraordinary work and Disney for its support of these initiatives.”

“The Walt Disney Company’s generous support will make a significant difference for some of the nation’s most underserved students,” Horikoshi said. “With many Asian American and Pacific Islander families facing financial barriers, The Walt Disney Company/APIASF Scholarship has the potential to be life-changing for students.”

In addition to the scholarships, Disney’s commitment will support the fund’s SMART program, which will provide students with mentoring and access to training and resources.

The Walt Disney Company/APIASF Scholarship will be available for the 2017-2018 school year. In order to be eligible, applicants must:

  • Be of Asian and/or Pacific Islander ethnicity, as defined by the U.S. Census;
  • Be a citizen, national or legal permanent resident of the United States (citizens of the Republic of the Marshall Islands, Federated States of Micronesia and the Republic of Palau are also eligible to apply);
  • Be enrolling in a U.S.-accredited college or university as a full-time, degree-seeking, first-year student in the 2017-2018 academic year;
  • Have a minimum cumulative GPA of 2.7 on a 4.0 scale (unweighted) or have earned a GED; and
  • Apply for federal financial aid using the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) by February 1, 2017.

Based in Washington, D.C., APIASF is the nation’s largest non-profit organization devoted to providing college scholarships for Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders (AAPI). For details about APIASF and the new scholarship, visit APIASF’s website at www.apiasf.org.