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!

Aging in America
In.... Read More

             

The Painful Struggles of America’s Older Immigrants

by Chris Farrell. This article originally appeared on Next Avenue.

America’s immigrant community is aging along with the rest of the population, and in many cases, with great financial difficulty.

Some 15 percent of adults 60 and over were foreign-born in 2015, according to the U.S. Census Bureau. Older immigrants represent a larger proportion of the elderly in major gateway cities and states. For example, in New York City, they comprise 46 percent of older adults; in California, one in nearly three older residents is foreign-born. Late-life immigrants are contributing to rising ethnic populations in rural areas and small towns in the Midwest and South, such as in Minnesota and Georgia, according to the Population Reference Bureau.

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America’s Stateless People: How Immigration Gaps Create Poverty

by Paul Nyhan. This article originally appeared on Equal Voice News.

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.

But, they went.... Read More

             

Refugee elders support each other after a long, difficult journey

by Hitomi Yoshida, with with support from Naw Doh, Shira Walinksy and Melissa Fogg, members of the Southeast by Southeast Community Center in Philadelphia. Hitomi is a long-time friend of the Diverse Elders Coalition, and you can read her stories of intergenerational work with diverse elders in our Diverse Elders Stories Initiative.

Naw Gay Lay is a 77-year-old Karen refugee from Myanmar (Burma). The Karen people are an ethnic and religious minority group that has been persecuted throughout much of Burma’s history.

As a young woman, Naw Gay Lay worked in a rice field and began raising her family in a rural village in central Burma. When she reached her mid-30s, the whole village had to flee.... Read More

             

SEARAC Election Response: We Love, We Heal, We Organize

This post originally appeared on the SEARAC blog.

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

             

A Story Among Many

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

             

Serve the People

This post originally appeared on the SEARAC blog.

by Nkauj Iab Yang

Nkauj Iab_0Like 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

             

APAHM Spotlight on Southeast Asia Resource Action Center

This post originally appeared on Medium.com via the National Council of Asian Pacific Americans.

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As we enter into Asian Pacific American Heritage Month, we are just closing a season of celebration and remembrance for Southeast Asian American communities. Lao and Cambodian families celebrated the New Year in April, but all of our communities also paused to remember our shared history of trauma and resilience as a refugee community.

Forty-one years ago on April 17th, 1975, the genocidal Khmer Rouge rolled their tanks into Phnom Penh and evacuated the city into the countryside,.... Read More

             
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