Did you know? Federal agencies (like those that administer education, housing, and employment programs, just to name a few) are NOT required to count detailed data for diverse communities. Instead of asking whether an elder identifies as “Cambodian,” “Vietnamese,” or “Marshallese,” they simply ask whether a person is “Asian.” People who are Puerto Rican, Mexican, or Brazilian are all lumped together as “Latino.” And agencies are not required to ask ANY questions about sexual orientation or gender identity — and efforts are even underway to remove those questions from federal surveys that do ask for that information. This means our communities remain misrepresented, left out of policy and program decisions, and under-funded.
The seniors program of the Chicago-area Cambodian Association of Illinois (CAI) demonstrates that while many of the needs of Southeast Asian American elders are similar to those of other diverse seniors, they also have very specific needs: culturally, linguistically, and as survivors of.... Read More
Diverse Elders to Educate Congress About Aging Needs in Our Communities
Diverse Elders to Educate Congress About Aging Needs in Our Communities Washington, DC – February 23, 2017
On Thursday, February 23, the Diverse Elders Coalition will release their new report, “Aging with Health and Dignity: Diverse Elders Speak Up,” at a congressional briefing in Washington, D.C. The report details the challenges and resiliencies of American Indian/Alaska Native elders; Asian American, Pacific Islander, and Native Hawaiian elders; Black and African American elders; Hispanic and Latino elders; and LGBTQ elders, communities with unique needs that are often ignored in mainstream policy discussions around aging.
In 2016, the Diverse Elders Coalition collected nearly.... Read More
Nothing About Us Without Us: Bringing the Needs of Southeast Asian American Elders to Capitol Hill
The comments elevated the voices of our Cambodian, Hmong, Laotian, and Vietnamese elders, whose stories are largely unknown or misunderstood by policymakers. Nearly all (98%) Southeast Asian Americans over the age of 55 were born outside the US, and between.... Read More
What Did the Diverse Elders Coalition Achieve in 2016?
In case you missed the December edition of our Common Threads newsletter, here are some highlights from the Diverse Elders Coalition in 2016! Subscribe to our newsletter here, and read on to learn more about what we achieved for diverse older adults this year:
It has been a year of ups and downs for our communities and the policies that impact aging within those communities. This edition of our Common Threads newsletter takes a look back at the work the Diverse Elders Coalition did in 2016 and renews our commitment to supporting diverse elders in 2017 and beyond. Read on for more!
FRESNO, Calif. — They came to America in the 1970s and 1980s as child refugees, members of the Hmong minority in Laos fleeing that country’s new communist government and persecution for helping the CIA in its covert war in Southeast Asia.
America held the promise of safety and a piece of the American dream.
Many of them chased that dream in California’s Central Valley, slowly, sometimes painfully, building lives in a new country where their language and culture were virtually unknown. Largely from poor rural farming families, they often struggled to adjust to a dramatically different society, with few relevant skills and limited support.
Today as we let the election results sink in, it may feel like hatred and oppression won. We have all witnessed the next President of the United States stoke fear about immigrants and Muslims, disrespect women and people with disabilities, and make explicitly racist statements. Those engaged in the fight for true equity, justice, and empowerment of immigrants, refugees, and communities of color are feeling a great deal of grief — feeling that our nation’s vote was a personal attack on who we are, the values we stand for, and why we are here in America.
What do we do now?
We hold each other closer, and we love our.... Read More
Automatic Injustice: A Report on Prosecutorial Discretion in the Southeast Asian American Community
On Wednesday, October 26, I attended a webinar for the launch of the Southeast Asia Resource Action Center (SEARAC)’s new report, “Automatic Injustice: A Report on Prosecutorial Discretion in the Southeast Asian American Community.” The Southeast Asian American (SEAA) community has been heavily impacted by automatic, mandatory criminal deportation policies. This community faces unique struggles as refugees, which have made them vulnerable to high levels of criminalization over the last four decades. SEAA families are routinely torn apart by these policies, with individuals being deported to countries they once fled – or countries in which they have never actually set foot. When our families are dismantled, it means less support, fewer caregiving options, trauma, illness, stress, and so.... Read More
by Andy Pacificar. This post originally appeared on the SEARAC blog.
I spent eighteen years in prison. I was incarcerated from 1990 until 2008. It was amazing to see all the changes in the world that happened in that amount of time. In the very beginning of my journey through prison I met a young man who was at the time only 17 years old. A misguided youth if you will. I was 30 years old at the time and this young man and I started to form a bond that still is enduring and growing today. He became my friend, my brother, my son and so much more. My Brother in struggle was also a Southeast Asian.... Read More
Like many Hmong parents, my parents, Soua Toua Yang and Song Vang, came to the United States as Hmong refugees. By the age of 13, my dad was a soldier of the Central Intelligence Agency’s Secret Army in Laos. He and my mom married young. In the late 1970s, my parents came to the United States together, at the ages of 18 and 23. My parents landed in San Francisco, California, but quickly moved around the United States to reunite with family. I was born in Denver, Colorado, the youngest and only daughter of six children. My parents.... Read More