After the fall of Saigon and the end of the Vietnam War in 1975, many Vietnamese people fled their war-torn country for the United States in search for a better life. Thousands of Vietnamese adults, children, and families crammed onto boats and traveled to the United States leaving their belongings, loved ones, and former lives behind. These people lost everything except for their memories of the fall of Saigon, the horrors of communist re-education camps, and the atrocities of the Vietnam War. For many Vietnamese individuals, these memories may transpire psychological trauma similar to the many Vietnam War-era U.S. veterans who suffer from Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder.
PTSD is a psychiatric disorder that can occur after a person experiences or observes.... Read More
Hatefas’ Story: Public Assistance Allowed My Refugee Family to Dream for a Better Future
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
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
When elder refugees arrive in America they leave behind violence or religious persecution, as well as family, culture and their native language. A program in Louisville, Kentucky helps refugees who are 60 and older transition to American life and avoid isolation.
This is a protection against isolation – a social hall alive with music that inspires clapping and dancing among refugees in their 60s, 70s, 80s and early 90s. It’s part of the Louisville Refugee Elder Program that serves arrivals.... Read More
Elder Refugees in the Bluegrass State Face Challenge of Language Barriers
by Jacqueline García. This article was originally published on La Opinión. To read the original article in Spanish, click here. || por Jacqueline García. Este artículo fue publicado originalmente en La Opinión. Para leer el artículo original en español, haga clic aquí.
Manuel Ramirez tried to endure the pain and discomfort while he was cleaning an open wound on his left knee on a Sunday afternoon in December. He said about two months prior he had surgery but hasn’t healed.
Quite the opposite, his knee was swollen and seemed to need medical care. However, Ramirez, 52, couldn’t ask for immediate care because he lives in a tent in a park in Tijuana,.... Read More
Five Inspirational Stories for Women’s History Month
In 1987, March was declared Women’s History Month, a time to commemorate the vital role of women in shaping history. Women’s History Month is a time to celebrate women of all backgrounds, to acknowledge the importance of their roles in our lives, and to support their efforts to make the world a better place. Women have shaped history through their leadership, courage, strength, and compassion. Although many of the contributions of women have been recognized and celebrated, women still face inequality in many aspects of their lives, reminding us that we have more work to do. As we celebrate the countless achievements made by women across all aspects of life, we must also support their fight towards social justice. Women’s.... Read More
An impact that transcends generations: Older adults also suffer the consequences of immigration policies
Lucia Hernandez Soto gets the tortillas ready for the traditional “pozole” soup for Saturday with the meticulous attention to detail and gentle touch that she learned back in her small hometown. As she heats the shredded chicken to add to the soup, she takes the hominy to pour in the pot. An avocado that will garnish the day’s lunch peeks over the corner of the kitchen counter.
For this Mexican woman who arrived from Guerrero some 20 years ago, “pozole” is one of the dishes that fill her most with pride. Her greatest concern.... 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
Protecting Immigrant Families by Opposing the Proposed Public Charge Rule
Momentum is growing to block one of the Trump administration’s latest shameful attacks on immigrants, and tens of thousands of people have already submitted their comments to the government. The proposed “public charge” rule change — which could block immigrant families who use certain government programs from a secure future in the United States — is truly a matter of life and death for some immigrant families.
One of the programs that will receive additional scrutiny under the rule change is Medicaid, which helps many older adults, people with disabilities, and people with chronic illnesses thrive. Immigrants working toward a future in the United States shouldn’t be afraid to use these vital services.