Born in Santa Ana, CA, to two Muslim refugee survivors of the Cambodian genocide, Hatefas Yop wasn’t aware of her family’s use of public services when she was a young girl. After all, her peers in her elementary school all hailed from the local neighborhood, where many immigrant and refugee families had to live in one-bedroom apartments subsidized by Section 8 housing. She didn’t understand the melancholy in an elder whom Hatefas referred to as “Grandma,” when she said her food stamps (paper at the time) weren’t ‘real money.’ “But you could use it to.... Read More
My memories from childhood are extremely hazy. Most of what I can recall are fleeting feelings: the bliss in skipping around my Kindergarten classroom as I sang about the days of the week, the joy in jumping up and down on my parents’ bed as I watched “David the Gnome,” the curiosity in having accidentally swallowed a piece of gum, the preceding anxiety and subsequent relief in remembering my steps for a dance recital. Practically all my childhood firsts are long forgotten; I cannot recollect the first book I ever read by myself, or the first tooth I lost, or the.... Read More
In a recent essay published in AAPI blog Reappropriate, Southeast Asia Resource Action Center (SEARAC) executive director Quyen Dinh recounted what is what like for her to grow up poor and not know it.
In elementary school, my day started with getting breakfast from the cafeteria window, where I got to choose a cereal box along with a small carton of milk from our cafeteria lady, Angie. She had short curly silver hair and always happily provided us our breakfast, along with a great smile.
For lunch, I lined up with the rest of my classmates to get lunch from Angie, too. Each of us carried a small envelope with our names on it.
The Trump Administration has proposed broadening the set of government services considered when determining whether an individual is a ‘public charge,’ a term applied to someone who is likely to rely on government assistance for support. If a person is considered a public charge, they may be denied a green card.
Seniors and parents of U.S. citizens are a significant, and growing, segment of immigrants to the U.S. and are critical to the well-being of intergenerational families. Between 1990 and 2010, the number of immigrants age 65 and older grew from 2.7 million to nearly 5 million. The number of parents of U.S. citizens who have been admitted as legal permanent residents more than tripled between 1994 and 2016. In making it.... Read More
National Asian Pacific American Women’s Forum and Southeast Asia Resource Action Center Host Immigration Report Briefings on Capitol Hill
Every 10 years, the United States conducts a census to record the number of people living in the nation, regardless of immigration status. More than a mere tally, the U.S. Census provides valuable insight into the country’s ever-shifting demographic and geographical makeup. It also informs how federal and state dollars are allocated, establishes the boundaries of legislative districts, and governs the number of House seats for which each state is eligible, based on population.
With so much at stake, it’s crucial to collect accurate numbers and get full participation. However, for the upcoming 2020 census, Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross hopes to skew these counts and silence immigrants and people of color, including Southeast Asian Americans (SEAAs), with the addition of.... Read More
Next week, the Diverse Elders Coalition will be participating in SEARAC’s annual Leadership and Advocacy Training (LAT) program in Washington, D.C. This post from SEARAC’s new Director of Communications and Development, Elaine Sanchez Wilson, shares how the LAT program relies on storytelling — a key component of the Diverse Elders Coalition’s work — to make change in the halls of Congress that will reverberate in our communities across the country.
One of my earliest childhood memories was a lazy summer afternoon spent curled up in bed, devouring a tiny collection of Amelia Bedelia books that I’d borrowed from the neighborhood library. I was a new reader and couldn’t get enough of it; I skipped dinner and instead consumed page.... Read More