Friday, October 31, 2008

Reminder: MIAAC Film Festival NYC - Nov. 5-9

NOVEMBER 5-9, 2008

Planning to be in New York on November 5 and hung over from the elections?

The full MIACC Film Festival schedule is published, with chock-a-block programming at venues throughout the NYC area after an apparently huge red carpet opening event followed by the NY premeire of Deepa Mehta's Heaven on Earth.

Film buffs -- be there or be square!

Follow-up: SAALT Webinar Recorded Online

For those who missed the SAALT Webinar mentioned in our previouis post, no worries: South Asian Americans Leading Together has made its audio/video presentation available for viewing at your own pace here.

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Response: Attack on JA Woman in WI

This came in this week:

Anonymous has left a comment on your post: "Japanese American Woman, 58, Beaten While Canvassing in Wisconsin":
I feel bad for her, but she needs to know people are upset on both sides and she
has to take that risk when she goes canvassing in an area she's not familiar
with. she took the chance to root for Obama and has to be aware that that's part
of the territory;, there are many, including myself that don't trust Obama; and
I'm an Asian Pacific ; I also don't believe McCain is a racist at all; he and
his wife have adopted kids of different races, has Obama thought of adopting a
white disadvantaged European child if he's truly not racist himself.

The editors struggled with the decision of whether or not leave up this comment, recently posted to our item about the assault on Nancy Takehara earlier this month. We were sorry but unsurprised that the poster opted to remain "Anonymous". Finally, we determined to leave the post up, even though we fully and forcefully disagree with its logic and sentiments. But we have always tried to create a forum for our readers conducive to frank dialogue about Asian American community concerns, even when we don't share every view or, as in this case, when we oppose them.

Anonymous' logic aptly illustrates what we believe has gone so very wrong in the home stretch of this 2008 presidential campaign, where race is the elephant in the room that no one seems to want to address in the complexity it deserves.

We reject the argument that being physically assaulted is "part of the territory," to be an expected byproduct of "rooting" for a particular candidate. It stinks of "blaming the victim," similar to those who say a woman who is raped "brought it on herself" by being outside at night or dressing attractively. It is disgraceful.

We further refute the notion that violence should be an acceptable -- much less expected -- condition of civic engagement in a civilized society. Citizens should not have to endure assault for their political views, and for participating as citizens in the most important activity that is at the very root of what makes us Americans. This should be beneath us as a country, but apparently it's not in this most tense campaign fraught with racial anxiety.

We also don't understand the logic that views and dismisses this attack based upon John McCain's views about race, one way or the other. The fact of the McCain family's transracial adoption seems a singularly odd litmus test for determining racism; it's rather like people who say "I can't be a racist because I have a Black friend" (or "an Oriental wife"). More baffling still is implying that someone else might be a racist by virtue of having not-adopted a child (of any race).

More to the point, whether or not McCain has adopted an Asian child, or Obama has Asian brothers and sisters, is surely the most superficial possible way of judging their characters and trustworthiness as leaders, and it is also utterly irrelevant to the question at hand. The issue is not John McCain's racism or lack thereof; the issue is the attacker's sentiments, and the ugly, divisive rhetoric that drives them.

What did the attacker mean when he reportedly started screaming that the canvassers were "not his people," grabbed Takehara by the hair and began pounding on the back of her head? Let us venture a guess.

What Asian American has not had the experience of being challenged as foreign, different, alien, not belonging, not deserving, not "real American" enough. Or of people expressing surprise that you speak English, or grilling you about "where are you really from?" Who has not been told to "go back" where we came from?

In the same way that ex-Virginia George Allen sought to deride a Virginia-born, Indian American man at a campaign rally by referring to him as "macaca" and "welcom[ing] him to the 'real world' of Virginia and America," politicians try to score cheap points, stirring outrage among the mob, by casting Asians as essential foreigners. It was true in the late 1800s and remains true today.

And it will remain true as long as Asian Americans -- like "Anonymous" -- continue to kow-tow and make excuses for those who attack us.

See or respond to Anonymous' comment at the bottom of the Takehara posting here.

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

SAALT Webinar on South Asians and Election 2008

This notice came in from As we've recently written elsewhere, the non-profit, non-partisan South Asian Americans Leading Together has emerged as one of the most vibrant, active and impressive national Asian-Pacific American organizations around, of any focus, with a ton of great programming going on this year.

SAALT has issued a release announcing a Pre-Elections Webinar on October 30th, with a call-in teleconference and online component that anyone can join. SAALT is doing a grat job, and the editors can't recommend them highly enough. Anyone interested in a serious, nonpartisan discussion of policy issues facing the diverse South Asian American commuity should consider participating. Here are the details:

When: Thursday, October 30th at 2pm EST/1pm CST/11am PST
(The Webinar should last an hour and 15 minutes)

Why: South Asian political involvement has been on the rise over the past decade, and the run-up to the November 2008 elections shows that South Asians have been increasingly engaged in the presidential campaigns, voter mobilization efforts, and bids for state and national office. What could South Asian voter turnout look like? What does South Asian involvement in the 2008 elections signify in terms of the community's political maturity?

  • Who: South Asian Americans Leading Together (SAALT), with special guests who will provide observations on South Asian political involvement, including:
  • Vijay Prashad, Professor of International Studies at Trinity College; author of The Darker Nations: A People's History of the Third World
  • Karthick Ramakrishnan, Associate Professor of Political Science at UC Riverside; principal investigator on the first large-scale national survey of Asian American politics (2008)
  • Ali Najmi, Desis Vote (New York)
  • South Asian Progressive Action Collective (Chicago)
  • Seema Agnani, Chhaya CDC (New York)
To attend, you must register by Thursday, October 30th at 10am EST:

1. Please click the following link or copy into your browser:

2. You will then be asked to register for the webinar. After you have registered, you will receive a confirmation email from the webinar service which has a link; a call-in number; and a conference call-in code.

3. At the appointed time for the webinar (Thursday, October 30th at 2PM EST/1PM CST/12PM PST), please click the link provided in the confirmation email and call the dial-in number listed. When prompted on the call, enter the call-in code from the email. The computer-based portion may take a few moments to load so we ask you to go through this step at least ten minutes before the start of the webinar.

4. To ask questions during the webinar, simply type them into the "Questions and Answers" box on the right-hand side of the webinar interface on your computer screen. If you cannot attend the online visual portion of the webinar, you can still listen in to the audio portion by calling in to 616.883.8055 and entering 426-588-202 as the code.

Questions? Please contact SAALT at

Diwali Less Sweet in a Hard Year

A good pair of item from National Public Radio this morning reports on how recent bombings cast a pall over India's Diwali celebrations, with a terrific follow-up commentary bringing it home by New America Media editor and occasional featured contributor on Asian American Village, Sandip Roy.

In his audio commentary, Diwali Better Minus The Fireworks, Roy recalls celebrations of years past, both in India and in San Francisco, and how the fear of violence had cast a shadow them at times.

Adding to the gloom of this year's celebrations, a commentary on Reuters reports, is the shaky economic condition of the stock market.

"Diwali, the festival of lights, is here but do we see a pall of gloom with the
BSE Sensex crashing more than 50 percent since January 2008? Things have
come to such a pass that some people have simply stopped looking at their
portfolios. They think it’s too late now to cut losses."

Meanwhile, reports Gavin Rabinowitz of the Associated Press, it's another sign of the times that mithai -- the sticky sweet treats that are a traditional highlight of the festival of lights -- are also losing their allure.

In his article posted in the Asian American Village AP News Headlines section, Rabinowitz examines a heightened waist consciousness in an India whose "economy [is] booming, and its people's waistlines expanding."

"[Mithai] have long been central to this Hindu festival of lights -- sweet,
fudgy goodies rich with cardamon, pistachio and saffron, often coated with an
ethereal foil of pure silver. They are eagerly eaten, given as gifts, offered to
the gods. [But] increasingly, the nation's growing urban middle class wants
holiday presents that better reflect newfound wealth. And an explosion of
obesity and related health conditions has many Indians -- some 35 million of
whom are diabetic -- thinking twice about treats."

It's hard not salivate, though, over the accompanying sidebar recipe for Pista Badam Mithai (Pistachio Almond Sweets). The recipe, adapted from Tarla Dalal's Mithai, features a relatively modest dosage of honey, and promises a preparation time of 15 minutes start to finish.

A little sweetness may be just the thing to momentarily lift the spirits after what's been an anxious year everywhere.

Sunday, October 26, 2008

Youmacon (Detroit, Michigan)

Youmacon: Detroit's Anime/Manga/Gaming/J-Music Convention
October 30–November 2, 2008
Hyatt Regency Dearborn, Dearborn, Michigan

Start your engines. Metro Detroit's first and only anime convention is returning for its fourth year, and it's bigger and better than ever. Here at Youmacon, thousands of otaku from Michigan and beyond meet anime voice actors face to face, compete for masquerade and cosplay trophies, and shop for treasures of their favorite fandom. Youmacon's original events immerse you in the experience of becoming a Japanese chess piece in a game of shougi, leading a team to the Star in a live action Mario Party battle, and being served by maids in a relaxing cafe. And the fun keeps going, because Youmacon provides nonstop 24-hour gaming, anime music videos, and video programming.

Saturday, October 25, 2008

Vicente M. Diaz “When Vessels Collide: The Revitalization of Traditional Canoes and Postcolonial Commemorations in the Pacific Islands”

University of Michigan Institute for the Humanities presents:
Remaking Heritage
Vicente M. Diaz
“When Vessels Collide: The Revitalization of Traditional Canoes and Postcolonial Commemorations in the Pacific Islands”
Tuesday, October 28, 12 PM, 202 South Thayer Washington Street, Room 2022, Ann Arbor, MI

This talk on the revitalization of traditional canoes in the Pacific Islands is part of series of brown bag talks on Remaking Heritage.

Vicente M. Diaz is Pohnpeian and Filipino, born and raised on Guam. He taught Pacific History and Micronesian Studies at the University of Guam from 1991 to 2001, before joining the faculty at the Asian/Pacific Islander American Studies unit, Program in American Culture, The University of Michigan. Diaz's research and teaching interests include Native Pacific Cultural Studies, Cultural Studies of Sports, Traditional Voyaging, and Pacific Film and Video Production and Studies.

Free and open to the public

Friday, October 24, 2008

Hula Soundings! A Lecture/Performance by Amy Ku’uleialoha Stillman

U-M Stearns Collection of Musical Instruments presents

Hula Soundings! A Lecture/Performance by Amy Ku’uleialoha Stillman
Sunday, October 26, 2-3:30 pm: Ann Arbor District Library, 343 S. Fifth Ave at William ▪ Ann Arbor

Witness and enjoy the richness of the Hawaiian hula tradition that few visitors to Hawai’i are privileged to see. This presentation includes performances with rarely-seen instruments such as ‘uli’uli, ‘ili’ili, ipu heke, and the most sacred instrument, the pahu drum.

Dr. Amy Ku’uleialoha Stillman is Associate Professor of American Culture and Music at University of Michigan. Born and raised in Hawai’i, she is a dedicated scholar of Hawaiian music and culture, and the author of Sacred Hula (1998) as well as numerous articles in international academic journals. Dr. Stillman is also Director of Great Lakes Hula Academy based in Ann Arbor.

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Asian University for Women Launched; Seeks Inaugural Faculty

This just came up on the Asian American Village Jobs Center. The editors thought it of interest both as a major development in international women's education access and for scholars/educators possibly interested in participating in the enterprise from the ground-floor:

The Asian University for Women is inviting applications for its inaugural faculty of 16 positions to begin in Bangladesh in July 2009.

The AUW is being established as a leading institution of higher education for women across South and Southeast Asia. While international in its vision and scope, the University will remain rooted in a context unique to the diverse cultural, religious, ethnic, and socioeconomic backgrounds of South and South East Asia. The civic and academic goal of the AUW is to better prepare disadvantaged women of high ability and potential through a world-class education that will encompass both the progressive liberal arts & sciences and requisite professional training in order to further the intellectual and professional development of eligible young women.

The AUW is currently advertising calls for faculty applications in three areas:
Review of applications begins this week. The AUW is being supported in the U.S. by a Boston/Cambridge-based Foundation.

The Asian American Village Jobs Center periodically highlights a shortlist of featured opportunities of particular interest to Asian American Village readers, culled from among the tens of thousands of job postings at the Career Center Job Bank.

‘NEW YORK-BOMBAY: Evening with Mira Nair and Suketu Mehta’

New York
November 7, 2008

Film director Mira Nair and author Suketu Mehta, two of the most prominent Indo-American cultural figures, will discuss their work and their perspectives on contemporary Bombay and New York City, in a special program presented in collaboration between Museum of the Moving Image and the Mahindra Indo-American Arts Council Film Festival. The event, New York-Bombay: An Evening with Mira Nair and Suketu Mehta, will take place on Friday, November 7, 2008 at The Times Center in Manhattan. The evening will include a conversation moderated by the Museum’s Chief Curator David Schwartz.

The program is part of the Mahindra Indo-American Arts Council Film Festival, November 5-9, presented by the Indo-American Arts Council. The festival features New York and US premieres of independent Indian and diaspora films, panel discussions, and special events. For more information and a full schedule, visit

AALDEF APA Election Protection and Polling Project Underway

AALDEF Announces Plans for Asian American Election Protection Project and 11-State Multilingual Exit Poll for November 2008 Elections
New Web Campaign Launched on Facebook and YouTube
Multilingual Voter Hotline: 800-966-5946

New York City...The Asian American Legal Defense and Education Fund (AALDEF), a 34-year old national civil rights organization, announced details of its Asian American Election Protection Project
and nonpartisan multilingual exit poll for the November 4, 2008 elections. Attorneys, law students, and community volunteers will cover 200 poll sites in 11 states with these characteristics: 1) areas with a surge in newly-registered Asian American voters; 2) jurisdictions in which Asian-language assistance is provided; or 3) polling places where Asian Americans have reported voting barriers or intimidation in recent elections.

Margaret Fung, AALDEF executive director, said: “We want to ensure that all eligible Asian Americans can participate in the electoral process and have their votes counted in this critical Presidential election.”

She said that AALDEF plans to poll 15,000 Asian American voters on Election Day in 11 states with large Asian American populations: New York, Virginia, Maryland, New Jersey, Massachusetts, Illinois, Texas, Michigan, Pennsylvania, Connecticut, Louisiana and Washington, D.C.


AALDEF will monitor 200 poll sites for compliance with the Voting Rights Act and the Help America Vote Act. Volunteer attorneys check to see whether Asian-language voting assistance is provided (such as ballots, interpreters, signs and voting materials), whether voter identification requirements are implemented in a non-discriminatory manner, and whether provisional ballots are offered to voters whose names are not in voter lists. Attorneys will also monitor settlements in recent lawsuits against New York, Boston, and Philadelphia for past violations of the Voting Rights Act. AALDEF will offer 25 volunteer trainings in 15 cities. Volunteers can sign up to attend workshops at

Glenn D. Magpantay, AALDEF staff attorney, said, “In the 2006 midterm elections, Asian Americans had to overcome numerous obstacles to exercise their right to vote. AALDEF volunteers identified mistranslated ballots, interpreter shortages that led to Asian American voters being turned away, and poll workers who made hostile and racist remarks about Asian American voters. AALDEF will guard against the disenfranchisement of new citizens and limited English proficient voters.”


AALDEF will conduct a nonpartisan exit poll of Asian American voters in 10 languages: Chinese, Korean, Vietnamese, Khmer, Hmong, Bengali, Arabic, Punjabi, Urdu, and Gujarati. Voters will be asked their preferences in the Presidential and local races, top reasons for their choices, party affiliations, whether they are first-time voters, use of Asian-language voting assistance, and specific problems encountered at the polls. The AALDEF exit poll reveals vital information about Asian American voting patterns that is often overlooked in mainstream voter surveys. In the 2004 Presidential election, AALDEF polled 10,789 Asian American voters in 8 states--the largest survey of its kind in the nation. AALDEF has conducted exit polls of Asian American voters in every major election since 1988, noting the steadily increasing numbers of new citizen and first-time voters.


Multilingual volunteers will be at poll sites to take complaints from voters about election irregularities and other barriers to voting. Voters can also report Election Day problems to AALDEF’s toll-free Election Day Hotline at 800-966-5946, or by e-mail at


AALDEF has launched a new web campaign with tools to encourage voter participation and to recruit volunteers across the country to serve as nonpartisan voting rights monitors in AALDEF's Asian American Election Protection Project.

Visit our new Asian American Election Protection homepage:
See our videos on YouTube:
Join our new Facebook group:
Get updates from our new election blog:

AALDEF voting rights coordinator Bryan Lee said: "AALDEF will be updating all of these new web services with more information about our Asian American Election Protection project throughout the month of October."

AALDEF is partnering with several groups to mobilize volunteer attorneys, law students, college students and community activists on Election Day:
Asian American Election Protection Project
Tuesday, Oct. 21, 2008 – Chicago, IL
12 Noon – McDermott Will & Emery LLP, 227 West Monroe St., between Wells and Franklin
6:00 PM – Loyola University School of Law, 25 East Peterson St., at North Michigan Ave.

Wednesday, Oct. 22, 2008 – Detroit, Bloomington Hills and Ann Arbor, MI
12 Noon – Dickenson Wright LLP, 500 Woodward Ave., at Lamed St., Detroit
3:00 PM – Dickenson Wright LLP, 38525 Woodward Ave. (Route 1) at Lone Pine Rd., Bloomfield Hills
6:00 PM – University of Michigan, Michigan Union, 530 S. State St., Ann Arbor

Thursday, Oct. 23, 2008 –Princeton, NJ
6:30 PM – Morgan Lewis & Bockius LLP, 502 Carnegie Center

Tuesday, Oct. 28, 2008 – New York
6:30 PM - Seyfarth Shaw LLP, 620 8th Ave., between 40th and 41st Strs.

Wednesday, Oct. 29, 2008 – Washington, DC
6:00 PM – Orrick, Herrington & Sutcliffe LLP, 1152 15th St., N.W. at M St.

Thursday, Oct. 30, 2008 – Falls Church, VA
6:30 PM – Reed Smith LLP, 3110 Fairview Park Drive

For an updated list of training workshops, go to

Japanese American Woman, 58, Beaten While Canvassing in WI

This past weekend, WISN News in Wisconsin reported that Nancy Takehara, 58, was assaulted by a homeowner while canvassing for Barack Obama in the town of Caledonia, WI.

Takehara, a Japanese American from Chicago who had volunteered to canvass in the neighboring state, told WISN that the homeowner first became verbally abusive before the incident escalated to physical violence.

“The next thing I know he’s telling us we’re not his people, we’re probably with ACORN, and he started screaming and raving,” Takehara said. “He grabbed me by the back of the neck. I thought he was going to rip my hair out of my head. He was pounding on my head and screaming. The man terrified me.”

Takehara refused medical treatment, but the police were called in and have reported they are investigating the incident.

The attack comes at a time when the McCain/Palin campaign was been facing increasing criticism for using rhetoric that some see as coded race-baiting, inspiring xenophobic sentiments in its base. The repetition of phrases such as "Real Americans" and attempts to associate Obama with "terrorists" in the waning days of the campaign have recalled for many Asian Americans the 2006 midterms, when VA Senator George Allen similarly hailed "Real Virginians" in the "Real America" before losing his re-election bid after referring to an man of South Asian descent as "macaca" at a campaign rally.

“This negative stuff has to stop,” Takehara told WISN. “We’re all Americans. This is all about protecting our democracy, not about attacking each other.”

Takehara said she was comforted to have received a personal phone call from Barack Obama after the incident. “Senator Obama understood…," WISN quoted her as saying. "It was wonderful. It made me feel wonderful. It made me feel connected to this government again.”

On the Web

WISN Coverage of Assault

Google News Coverage: q=nancy+takehara

Saturday, October 18, 2008

Vivien and The Shadows: Ong Keng Sen/Theatreworks World Premiere

Vivien and The Shadows: Ong Keng Sen/ Theatreworks (World Premiere)
Tuesday, October 21, 2008, 7:30pm
University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, Memorial Hall

A soul-stimulating, post-modern spectacle, Vivien and The Shadows melds film/performance, race, gender and sexuality. Internationally lauded Singaporean director Ong Keng Sen gathers some of the best talents in global performing arts and transports us into the fantasy world of Vivien Leigh’s Blanche DuBois, inspired by the 1951 film, A Streetcar Named Desire.

With new texts by acclaimed Asian-American playwright Chay Yew; soundscapes by pioneering London electronica artist Kaffe Matthews; sizzling videos by CalArts media artist Brian Gothong Tan; and three virtuoso performers who witness, impersonate and accompany Vivien Leigh-Blanche DuBois to her transcendence: multiple Obie-winner Karen Kandel, art-burlesque star of the New York underground Julie Atlas Muz, and the charismatic Charlotte Engelkes from Sweden.

Vivien and The Shadows is commissioned by Carolina Performing Arts.

"Ong Keng Sen is one of Singapore's...cultural jewels."
- The Guardian, UK

Friday, October 17, 2008



Acclaimed filmmaker Wayne Wang's new film THE PRINCESS OF NEBRASKA will make its world premiere on YouTube® on Friday, October 17, 2008. The free release will go live on YouTube's recently launched Screening Room,, a channel dedicated to premium film content.

In THE PRINCESS OF NEBRASKA, Sasha (Ling Li) is a foreign exchange student who finds herself pregnant. She's the new generation of China, unmoored to traditions and history. As she says, "In America I learned a new phrase, 'moving on.' Tomorrow I can start a new page." She travels from Nebraska to San Francisco to get an abortion, but in her exploration of the city in the next 24 hours she learns that turning a new page doesn't necessarily mean turning your back on the past.

THE PRINCESS OF NEBRASKA is adapted from a collection of short stories by award winning author Yiyun Li.

To learn more about the film, visit:

Please use the link below to view/embed the trailer:

To download hi-res images please visit:

Wednesday, October 08, 2008

NCAPA Platform for Asian Pacific Americans - National Policy Priorities for 2008

Once again, the nebulous but important National Council of Asian Pacific Americans (NCAPA), a consortium comprising at least 26 major nonpartisan organizations representing widely diverse AA and PI communities, has issued the nation's most comprehensive AA/PI policy platform in advance of the national election.

This coalition regularly undertakes an enormous and often thankless "herding of cats" to compile and distill an accessible listing of the most significant, bottom-line legislative issues of concern to its participants, including most of the largest pan-Asian and ethnic-specific nonprofit and civil rights groups in the country. But this document serves as a vital community blueprint for current and aspiring officeholders, including the next President.

While there are scores of specific recommendations contained in the full document relevant to individual ethnic communities as well as women, LGBT, and other subgroups, a number of these are organized into main sections of general concern: civil rights, economic justice, education, health care reform, and immigration.

An excerpt from the introduction to the Executive Summary stresses some additional key issues "that are relevant to all of the public policy concerns and recommendations that are included in the main body of the Platform:"

1. Data: More accurate data about Asian Americans (AAs), Native Hawaiians, and other Pacific Islanders (PIs) must be collected and disseminated.

2. Access: All community members must have equal access to publicly supported Programs and services, regardless of English language ability and other

3. Comprehensive Immigration Reform: Congress must enact, and the President must sign into law, sensible comprehensive immigration reform that keeps families together, provides and path to citizenship, and is fair and humane.

4. White House Initiative on Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders, and the President’s Advisory Commission on Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders: The next Administration must support and further develop the Initiative and the Commission, which have worked to ensure that AAs and PIs can fully participate in all aspects of the federal government’s operation.

5. AA and PI Organizations as Resources for the Federal Government: The
next President must direct his or her Administration to partner more fully with
national and local organizations that are rooted in the AA and PI communities in order to most effectively formulate and pursue policies that are in the communities’ interest. NCAPA members stand ready to pursue this course of action with the next Administration.

Read the Executive Sumary and download the full NCAPA Call To Action: Platform for Asian Pacific Americans - National Policy Priorities 2008.

SSI Extension for Elderly and Disabled Refugees Goes Into Effect

Bipartisan Act Began October 1; However, Implementation Process Still Needs to Be Put in Place

Release by SERAC: Southeast Asia Resource Action Center

October 6, 2008

Washington, DC – On September 30, 2008, the President signed the Supplemental
Security Income (SSI) Extension for Elderly and Disabled Refugees Act
which provides an additional two years of SSI for elderly and disabled refugees who have been cut off
from their SSI benefits because of the seven year time limit for refugees and other
humanitarian immigrants. This two-year SSI extension is set to expire in 2011.

The law was effective starting on October 1, 2008. However, please note that there is
not yet a process in place to implement this two year extension. This means that eligible
individuals will not yet be able to immediately receive this extension, but SEARAC will
be sure to announce when a process is in place and what eligible individuals need to do.

For many elderly and disabled refugees and other humanitarian immigrants, including
Hmong and Montagnards who fought honorably alongside American soldiers in times of
war, SSI provides the very basic means for survival. The SSI program pays minimal
monthly benefits to elderly and disabled adults and children who are low income and
have limited resources to maintain self sufficiency.

“This extension is a positive step to ensuring that elderly and disabled refugees are not
thrown into destitution, due in large part, to the barriers that they experience in attaining
their citizenship and ultimately losing their SSI after seven years,” states Doua Thor,
Executive Director of Southeast Asia Resource Action Center (SEARAC).

SEARAC commends the advocacy efforts of numerous national advocacy organizations,
local community partners and congressional offices, including sponsors, Senator Smith
(R-OR), Senator Kohl (D-WI), Congressmen McDermott (D-WA) and Congressman
(R-IL) as well as their staff in leading this cause.

For more information, please contact Helly Lee at 202-667-4690 or

Saturday, October 04, 2008

Much to Celebrate at TexAsia - Oct. 11 and 12

After surviving "Ike," we were thrilled to hear, the Houston-based crew from TexAsia are going full-steam ahead with their planned pan-Asian festival on October 11 and 12.

They write:

YOU and yours are invited to Celebrate ‘surviving Ike’ at our FREE Event
Oct. 11th & 12th at Houston City Hall!

TEXASIA magically transforms City Hall’s shimmering pond to a rare
reflection of the Enchanted Orient.

EXPLORE the colorful traditions of Opulent Opera, Lavish Lion Dances,
Taste-Tempting Cuisines & more!

ENJOY Dazzling Dance, Mesmerizing Music and Utterly Awesome Martial
Arts. Delicious delectables by Kim Son’s Sidewalk CafĂ© and luscious
libations of Pearl Teas, Tiger Beer and distinctive spirits by Martell Cognac
are offered to refresh.

PLAY Bungee Basketball & Pop-A-Shot with The Houston Rockets.
Houston’s American Diabetes Association hosts Pick-Up Ping Pong Games for fun
and prizes

DISCOVER mystical Tibetan temple Dzi beads, blessed by lamas, finding
their “ destined owners ” at TEXASIA. Intricate hand fans, masks,
hand-made jewelry of semi-precious gems and hand crafts will delight the
discerning collector.

EXPERIENCE Fun’s Cantonese Opera and Lion Dances of Texas with the arts
of Korea, Japan, China, Vietnam, The Philippines, India, Thailand and the
Pacific Islands in this whirlwind tour of the Orient in The Bayou City.

ADMISSION IS FREE. Join us for this sparkling celebration!

From Deep in the Heart of Asian Art- TEXASIA Visit us online at

Our long-time readers may recall that a couple of years ago, the future of Houston Asian American Festival (HAAF) seemed shaky when its host backed out. But by all appearances, the festival seems to be stronger than ever in its new space, and with a new brand and website and wider regional draw. Area residents and visitors should definitely check out this free event with a great line up of acts and attractions!

Report: The State of Asian America: Trajectory of Civic and Political Engagement

The nonprofit organization, Leadership Education for Asian Pacifics, Inc. has released its 5th public policy report: The State of Asian America: Trajectory of Civic and Political Engagement, and is backing it up with a series of roundtable events now traveling cross-country. The next two events are being held in:

Los Angeles October 7
San Francisco October 8

Through the report, LEAP seeks to provide community activists, policymakers and researchers with "a road map for Asian American civic engagement in two crucial ways: first, help readers understand what the future might hold for Asian American civic engagement; and second, stimulate and focus discussion on possible ways to intervene to take advantage of potential opportunities and to meet new challenges."

For a free electronic download of the book, click here.