Ocean Le, program coordinator at Diverse Elders Coalition and a SEARAC LAT alumnus, says he’s been his parents’ translator for as long as he can remember.
“I can tell you their Social Security numbers right now because I’ve been supporting them my whole life,” shares Ocean, the eldest of three children to a Nigerian Vietnamese immigrant mother and Vietnamese French immigrant father.
With his dad being a self-employed taxi driver who cannot speak English very well, Ocean has done his taxes since childhood. When he.... Read More
by Gina Le. This article originally appeared on the SEARAC blog.
I am privileged to have been born and raised in Little Sài Gòn, the ethnic enclave that Vietnamese refugees carved out of the heart of Orange County, California, and transformed into one of the largest Vietnamese diasporic communities in the world. Here, in the sunny suburbs of California, I was privileged to have never been an anomaly; I grew up surrounded by kids who looked and talked like me. Just the “Nguyễn” section in my high school’s yearbooks consistently spanned hundreds of names. I even wrote about Little Sài Gòn in my college admissions essay, opining at length about entire blocks of small businesses without.... Read More
Last month, SEARAC proudly launched a voter education guide for the 2020 presidential election. The resource, targeted primarily to Southeast Asian American voters, includes responses from all candidates currently still running for president: Donald Trump (R), Joe Biden (D), and Bernie Sanders (D). SEARAC asked all three of these presidential campaigns about their stances on key issues that impact the SEAAs, including the following categories:
Data equity / data disaggregation Culturally relevant K-12 support College access, affordability, and completion Access to affordable healthcare Culturally and linguistically appropriate mental health services Government programs to.... Read More
Moving Mountains for Family Caregivers in Southeast Asian American Communities
An event hosted by the Southeast Asia Resource Action Center (SEARAC) is always sure to be filled with thoughtful, inspirational, and powerful moments, but none as powerful as the Diverse Elders Coalition’s family caregiving presentation at this year’s Moving Mountains Equity Summit in Sacramento, CA. I was thrilled to be able to share some of the preliminary findings of our family caregiving research, which has been generously supported by The John A. Hartford Foundation. After months of collecting surveys and conducting focus groups, it was exciting and satisfying to be able to share the results of our work with an audience of people most impacted by the programs and policies that will.... Read More
Immigrant elders seek housing options to age in community
Hong Lok House means “healthy and happy” house in Cantonese, where elders can live in Chinatown for less than $500 a month on average. A full range of culturally and linguistically sensitive programs provided by management and providers make it a safe and welcoming home for elderly to age in place. Services include home care, health care and a hot meal delivered to the homes.
“There is seldom a vacancy at Hong Lok House,” said Ruth Moy, executive director of the Greater Boston Chinese Golden Age Center, which runs Hong Lok House. “The only time a vacancy opens up is when the elderly can no longer.... Read More
Ta Heng: “The older generation, my generation, needs resources.”
Heng Kem (whom we affectionately refer to as “Ta Heng” which means “Grandpa Heng” in Khmer) has always been one of The Cambodian Family’s most active residents. He and his wife came to the United States back in 2008, when his son (who arrived here in the late 90s) was finally able to sponsor them both. Ta found about our agency through his daughter-in-law, who used to be a client of ours, and has been an active participant and responsible community member ever since.
One of our proudest moments with Ta was when he finally passed his citizenship test and became U.S. citizen! The Cambodian Family.... Read More
A Little Too Late: Some Chinese American Vets to Never Receive WWII Gold Medal
Peter Woo would never get the chance to receive the Congressional Gold Medal for his indelible service during World War II.
He died unexpectedly only six days before President Trump signed the Chinese-American World War II Veteran Congressional Gold Medal Act into law on Dec. 20, 2018. Woo, along with many other Chinese American veterans of World War II, have passed away in the past few years. Now there are less than 100 veterans who might be able to receive this recognition for their service.
Flying Tiger Squadron
Woo was born in 1919 to a literary family in Taishan, Guangdong province. He came to the United States as a.... 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.... Read More
For Aging Immigrants, Food from Their Homelands Is Key to Happiness
“Do you have drumsticks?” my 85-year-old mother asks the cashier at the checkout counter at Madras Groceries in Sunnyvale, California. The woman points to a pile of long, narrow, cylindrical vegetables near the counter. A half-hour later, a quick inventory of my mother’s cart reveals drumsticks, taro roots, squash, long beans, okra, winter melons, pointed gourd, snake gourd, spices, snack packets of murukkus and a bag of brown basmati rice.
Food bought, cooked, served and eaten is collectively the barometer of my mother’s moods, which are intricately entangled with her health. When she’s bustling around the kitchen, cooking sambar, kootuor olan with squash and winter melon,.... Read More
Highlights of Older Americans Month and Asian Pacific American Heritage Month!
As the only national organization working at the intersection of aging issues and representing the voices of Asian American and Pacific Islander (AAPI) older adults and families, the month of May provided NAPCA the opportunity to honor both: Asian Pacific Americans over 55 by sharing weekly program success stories, news about local activities and events, but more importantly, resources that are culturally competent and linguistically appropriate for our AAPI community.
Why is the month of May such an exciting month for us at the National Asian Pacific Center on Aging (NAPCA)? Not only is May designated by the Administration on Aging (AoA), part of the Administration for Community Living (ACL) as Older Americans Month (OAM), but Congress also designated May as Asian/Pacific American Heritage Month (APAHM).
NAPCA is the only national organization with a sole focus on Asian American and Pacific Islander American (AAPI) older adults, working at the intersection of the AAPI and aging fields to ensure that the challenges confronting AAPI older adults are heard and addressed.
The theme for Older Americans Month 2018 is Engage at Every Age, emphasizing that you are never too.... Read More
Aging New York Immigrants Confront Shortage of Culturally Appropriate Services
On a fluorescent-lit stage at Desi Senior Center, an instructor leads a group of mostly Muslim Bangladeshi immigrants, ages 60 and older, in a session of balance and core exercises.
Aided by PowerPoint slides, he instructs them to squat in Bengali, then proceeds to count to ten in English. The women, dressed in colorful dupattas and hijabs, stand on the right; men, wearing Tupi prayer caps, on the left. They place their hands on their hips. Some close their eyes.
For five hours a day, three days a week in the basement of Queens, New York’s Jamaica Muslim Center, more than 150 aging.... Read More