Monday, April 28, 2008

release: APA Advocates Disappointed in Court Decision in IN Voter ID Case

Asian American Advocates Disappointed in Supreme Court’s Decisionin the Indiana Voter ID Case

Washington, D.C. – The Asian American Justice Center (AAJC) and its affiliates – Asian Pacific American Legal Center, Asian Law Caucus and the Asian American Institute – join voting rights and advocacy groups nationwide in their disappointment in the United States Supreme Court’s decision to uphold the constitutionality of the Indiana voter photo identification law. The decision did, however, leave the door open to future challenges in Indiana and elsewhere by otherwise eligible voters who are denied their right to vote based on onerous and unconstitutional voter ID laws.

“Studies have shown that there are millions of eligible voters without the necessary IDs, including Asian Americans,” said Tuyet Le, executive director of the Asian American Institute. “As the dissent notes, Indiana’s law will sadly but predictably have its greatest impact on voters who are poor, elderly, belong to racial minorities or have disabilities. Asian Americans are among those who will be disproportionately impacted by these laws.”

"We find it quite alarming that six justices marginalize the burden placed on many eligible Indiana voters who lack a driver’s license by the Indiana’s voter ID law, including those additional burdens faced by naturalized Asian Americans who incur more expense and time to obtain the necessary ID,” said Terry M. Ao, AAJC’s director of census and voting programs.
“Equally troublesome is the fact that the Justices accepted seemingly without question Indiana’s unsubstantiated claim of voter fraud despite the inability of the state to produce one instance of in-person voter fraud that the Indiana statute allegedly addresses,” added Stewart Kwoh, president and executive director of the Asian Pacific American Legal Center.

“Participation in the democratic process should unite all Americans; we should be seeking ways to encourage more voters, not inventing excuses to deny citizens their constitutional right to vote,” said Susan Mooney, interim executive director at the Asian Law Caucus. "Indiana, and now the Court, is unnecessarily making voting more difficult than it needs to be, or should be for Indiana voters to exercise their constitutional right to vote."

AAJC and its affiliates filed an amicus brief in the Supreme Court case, William Crawford et al. v. Marion County Election Board, et al.

The Asian American Justice Center, formerly known as NAPALC, is a national organization dedicated to defending and advancing the civil and human rights of Asian Americans. It works closely with three affiliates – the Asian American Institute of Chicago, the Asian Law Caucus in San Francisco, and the Asian Pacific American Legal Center in Los Angeles – and nearly 100 community partners in 49 cities, 23 states and Washington, D.C.

Thursday, April 24, 2008

Senate Passes Veterans Benefits Enhancement Act of 2007

Release from Organization of Chinese Americans

Comprehensive bill expands support for disabled veterans, job training, and provides historic Filipino veterans equity

WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Senator Daniel K. Akaka (D-HI), Chairman of the Veterans’ Affairs Committee, elatedly applauded his colleagues in the Senate for passing S. 1315, the Veterans Benefits Enhancement Act of 2007 by a vote of 96 to 1. Prior to voting on final passage of the bill, the Senate debated an amendment to remove a provision providing a limited pension for Filipino World War II veterans residing in the . This amendment was defeated by a vote of 56 to 41, with Akaka leading the charge for the Filipino veterans’ pension.

“The Filipino veterans of World War II fought bravely under military command, helping us win the war only to lose their veteran status by an Act of Congress. I commend my colleagues for supporting those veterans who stood with us,” said Akaka.

Akaka continued, “I am also very pleased that the Veterans Benefits Enhancement Act of 2007 can finally move forward. This bill makes needed improvements to veterans’ benefits by expanding and increasing support for veterans, their families, and their survivors. I urge my colleagues in the House to act swiftly on this much needed bill.”

This comprehensive, budget-neutral omnibus veterans’ benefits bill was approved by the Senate Committee on Veterans’ Affairs last June and reported to the full Senate last August.
The Veterans Benefits Enhancement Act of 2007 would provide a veterans’ pension to Filipino veterans of World War II residing in the and in the . Under the proposed bill, veterans residing in the would receive a smaller pension than those residing in the , to account for differences in cost-of-living in the two countries.

The Veterans Benefits Enhancement Act of 2007 also includes a multitude of improvements to veterans’ benefits, including provisions to:
  • Establish a new program of insurance for service-connected disabled veterans;
  • Expand eligibility for retroactive benefits from traumatic injury protection coverage under Servicemembers’ Group Life Insurance;
  • Increase the maximum amount of Veterans’ Mortgage Life Insurance that a service-connected disabled veteran may purchase;
  • Provide individuals with severe burn injuries specially adapted housing benefits; and
  • Extend for two years the monthly educational assistance allowance for apprenticeship or other on-the-job training

The bill now moves to the House of Representatives.


Release Source: OCA National Center
1322 18th St NW
Washington DC 20036

Saturday, April 19, 2008

APIAVote Plans Historic Presidential Town Hall

This from the noble folks at the nonparisan, nonprofit voter advocacy group, (who, incidentally, are currently seeking candidates to fill both internship-level positions and an Executive Director slot -- see the Asian American Village Jobs for Career Center for details.).

--- RELEASE ---

Presidential Town Hall
DATE: May 17, 2008
PLACE: Bren Events Center at University of California, Irvine

With the support of various national Asian American and Pacific Islander (AAPI) organizations, we will be expecting 2000 community leaders, elected officials, voters, and students representing this diverse community from across the country to participate at the first National Presidential Town Hall hosted by our Asian American and Pacific Islander community.

Join us for this historic event and learn about the candidates before voting in the general election in November, 2008.

Invitations to each campaign were received and we are working with the campaigns to schedule each candidate's appearance.

Presidential Town Hall Website Updated
The Town Hall Website has been updated and has all the information you need to know to prepare for your trip to Irvine, CA. Registration is live - be sure to signup today!

Registration Live
Register online to enter the lottery to receive a ticket for Town Hall. Media registration is also available online.

Town Hall Agenda on Website
Visit our newly updated website to view a complete agenda of events including the National CAPACD conference, Voicing Our Votes forum, Power of Our Vote Luncheon and more.

Flights Through Southwest
Southwest Airlines is proud to be the Official Airline of the APIAVote Presidential Town Hall. Remember to book your airline tickets soon!

Hotel Deals for Town Hall
Radisson Newport Beach - Mention APIAVote and get a special rate of $119 a night for Doubles/Single Queen rooms if you book by May 9th. This includes free breakfast, free internet, a shuttle to John Wayne Airport and UC Irvine.

4545 MacArthur Blvd., Newport Beach, CA Tel: 949-833-0570

Can't Make It to Irvine?
Host your own watch party! Live streaming available to a computer near you. Simply e-mail us at and we will help you set up your living room Town Hall.

Ask Before You Vote
Ask the presidential candidates your question via video. To submit your question for the candidates, send a link to your video to

Washington, D.C.
(202) 223-9170


Friday, April 11, 2008

His Holiness The Dalai Lama

On Saturday and Sunday, April 19 and 20, 2008, His Holiness the 14th Dalai Lama will visit Ann Arbor, Michigan, where over the course of three sequential sessions in two days he will teach on “Engaging Wisdom and Compassion” at the Crisler Arena of the University of Michigan.

The two-day educational program co-sponsored by Jewel Heart, a Tibetan Buddhist Center headquarted in Ann Arbor, The Tibet Fund, and the Garrison Institute will be held in conjunction with a public talk, the Peter M. Wege Lecture on Sustainability, addressing environmental issues and presented on April 20th by the University of Michigan at the Crisler Arena in celebration of Earth Day.

The Dalai Lama is recognized worldwide for his message of compassion and tolerance, his promotion of human rights and inter-religious understanding, his focus on peace through non-violent conflict resolution and his advocacy for the environment. Winner of the 1989 Nobel Peace Prize, the Dalai Lama was the recent recipient of the Congressional Gold Medal.

On Friday, April 18, 7:30 pm, Hill Auditorium, Ann Arbor, Michigan, there will also be a special presentation on "Buddhism and Art" by Gelek Rimpoche, Composer and Musician Phillip Glass, and Actor and Activist Richard Gere.

After His Holiness' visit, Jewel Heart founder and Spiritual Director, Gelek Rimpoche, will embark on a multi-city lecture tour to elaborate on His Holiness' teachings on Engaging Wisdom and Compassion. Rimpoche will elaborate further how we can apply these teachings to our daily lives, providing follow-up for those who attended in April as well as serving as an excellent introduction for those who were not able to attend the Ann Arbor event.

Monday, April 07, 2008

Release/Clip: New Film "Vincent Who?" - Chicago April 19

We got this release in about a new film about the murder of Vincent Chin, featuring past Asian-American Village columnists Helen Zia and Frank Wu, among others. We congratulate them, the filmmakers, and the group Asian Pacific Americans for Progress for their efforts in keeping this (sadly still-relevant) story alive. -- Editors

Asian Pacific Americans for Progress and Tony Lam Films present a new film


APAP is proud to announce our first film, a documentary on the murder of Vincent Chin and the impact the historic case has had on the Asian American community.

A follow-up to our National Townhall on Hate Crimes last year, the film features such leading figures as Helen Zia (journalist and leading lawyer during the case), Stewart Kwoh (Executive Director, Asian Pacific American Law Caucus), Frank Wu (Dean, Wayne State Law School), Renee Tajima Pena (Director, "Who Killed Vincent Chin?"), Lisa Ling (journalist), Judy Chu (Chair, California Board of Equalization), Mike Eng (Assemblymember, California State Assembly), Eric Nakamura (Publisher, Giant Robot Magazine) and many more.

Please join the film's Facebook group and invite your friends to join as well.

If you're in Chicago, the film will be screened during the upcoming Asian American Film Showcase on Saturday, April 19th at 5:30 PM at the Siskel Center. This will be a special screening with the director and a Q&A.

Thanks and keep spreading the word!



Focus on Hapas: Two Upcoming California Events

This from our old pal and past contributor Alec MacDonald, who was active in organizations The Japanese American Citizens League and Hapa Issues Forum.

"Re-envisioning Community: Hapa Issues Forum, 1992-2007"
Sunday, April 13, from 2-4 p.m.
National Japanese American Historical Society (NJAHS)
1684 Post Street in San Francisco's Japantown
Phone 415.921.5007
Website is

On display at NJAHS through August 31, "Re-envisioning Community" is an exhibition of HIF's fifteen year history through photographs and documents (part of this exhibition was unveiled at HIF's Last Hurrah 'retirement' event on the campus of UC Berkeley last September). The exhibition opening next Sunday afternoon will feature a light and informal panel discussion about the organization and its legacy by a few of its past members.

The Sunday opening coincides with the first weekend of the Northern California Cherry Blossom Festival, which will run all day along Post Street and around Japantown, and will offer food, arts & crafts, music, cultural performances and more. For additional information about the festival, visit

Revelations & Resilience: Exploring the Realities of Hapa-ness
Saturday, April 12, 2008 from 2–4 PM
Japanese American National Museum
369 East First Street in Los Angeles, CA 90012

For those who happen to be in Southern California instead, the Japanese American
National Museum in Los Angeles will also be hosting a hapa roundtable event that same weekend (on Saturday). More information.

Also of Interest

Saturday, April 05, 2008

China Town Hall: Local Connections, National Reflections

In this year of presidential and Congressional elections, developments in China, and America’s response to these developments, have a direct impact on the lives of just about everyone in the United States. CHINA Town Hall , April 17, 2008, is a national day of programming designed to provide Americans in up to 40 cities with the opportunity to discuss these issues with leading experts.

The National Committee on US-China Relations is pleased to present this program, which features a nationwide talk (live webcast) by noted political analyst Norman J. Ornstein of the American Enterprise Institute, followed by local presentations by on-site China specialists who will address topics of particular interest to the local community. Each program is cosponsored by the National Committee and a local organization(s). CHINA Town Hall is generously underwritten by the Starr Foundation.

Friday, April 04, 2008

Opinion Added: 'Why Clinton Works for Asian American Women"

In a recently added op-ed wrapping up our Women's History Month @ Asian American Village edition, frequent special contributor Erin May Ling Quill confesses why...
"...I heart Hillary. Starting in Women’s History Month, I sat to write a few words as to what Hillary’s campaign means to me as an Asian American woman. I was kind of surprised when I started my research, but the more I did, the more I ‘heart’ her. "

Along with other recent contributions on the network, the piece explores the constellation of tricky identity politics, community issues, gender and ethnic affinities at play in this election -- where, on the Democratic side, the prospect of possibly electing the nation's first woman president or the first African-American/multiracial president has many voters torn.


The Village caretakers remain interested in hearing opinions of diverse Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders about the choices left before us in the primaries and the upcoming general election. We want to know "who 'hearts' who" in this historic election, and why.

Where do we fit in -- into the high-profile dialogues on race and race relations, and on immigration and belonging, that have become so prominent in this later primary season?

Where do we fit -- in as men and women? As neither white nor black? As Americans or as immigrants? As a small population and a growing voting bloc?

We'd love to hear your comments here!

Tuesday, April 01, 2008

No April Fool's: Q & A With Milwaukee Mayoral Candidate Andrew Shaw

Item of interest: In a possibly unlikely-seeming race, the Milwaukee heads to the polls today to determine, among other things, whether Andrew Shaw will have a chance to become that city's first Asian American mayor. He is profiled on the website of local news channel WISN:

Q & A With Milwaukee Mayor Candidate Andrew Shaw - WISN 12: Commitment 2008 News Story - WISN Milwaukee:
"Andrew Shaw is the first Asian-American to seek the Milwaukee mayoral
position. He is running against Mayor Tom Barrett in the April 1 election.

The determined candidate was born in South Korea and raised in
Minnesota. He graduated in 1992 with a J.D. in Law from Marquette University Law
School. Since then, Shaw has worked for 15 years as an attorney and an

He has always been interested in addressing issues involving race.
While attending law school, the candidate participated in the creation of
Marquette University Law School's chapter of the Asian Law Students