ECAASU Commends the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit’s Decision to Reaffirm the University of Texas at Austin’s Undergraduate Admissions Policy

The East Coast Asian American Student Union (ECAASU) commends the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit’s decision to reaffirm the University of Texas at Austin’s he U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit’s decision to reaffirm the University of Texas at Austin’s undergraduate admissions policy that uses race as a factor. This decision ensures diversity, which is integral for the learning experience on college campuses.

In June 2008, a Texas student named Abigail Fisher, a white student, was denied admission to the University of Texas at Austin and filed suit against the university. She filed suit because she felt that she had been a victim of racial discrimination due to students of color with less impressive credentials than hers had been admitted. Last summer, the Supreme Court voided the lower appellate court’s ruling in favor of the university and remanded the case, holding that the lower could did not apply the proper standard of strict scrutiny.

Since ECAASU was founded, we have stood in solidarity with traditionally underrepresented communities. In 2013, ECAASU signed on as amici to an amicus brief submitted by Asian Americans Advancing Justice in support of diversity and utilizing race as a factor in college admissions. A fitting explanation of why ECAASU is in favor of this ruling is best explained by the President of UT-Austin, Bill Powers. “This ruling ensures that our campus, our state and the entire nation will benefit from the exchange of ideas and thoughts that happens when students who are diverse in all regards come together in the classroom, at campus events and in all aspects of campus life.

We hope to see continued strides in the direction of diversity and inclusion throughout all institutions of academia.

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APIAs and the Affordable Care Act

Mar 23 2014
By: Cynthia
Categories: Blog, Advocacy, Blog
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From the Department of Health and Human Services comes this nifty graphic on how the APIA community is affected by health care and the Affordable Care Act.

APIAs and Healthcare

As you can see, the data shows the dangers many members of the APIA community face due to a lack of health care.

The stats are astounding and unfortunate. However, open enrollment for insurance through the Affordable Care Act is available through March 31.

Want to help get the word out? Share:

1.       infographics on AAPIs and the Affordable Care Act (click here and see attached)

2.       a photo using hashtag #GetCovered (click here for instructions)

3.       20 Reasons to Get Covered (click here)

Join many other famous APIA figures in spreading the message to our communities!

Mindy Kaling and the ACAGeorge Takei and the ACA

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ECAASU NYPD Police Brutality Statement

On January 19, 2013, Mr. Kang Chun Wong, an 84-year-old man, was viscously beaten in a case of police brutality in broad daylight in New York City. Mr. Wong had lived a block away and crossed the same intersection at 96th and Broadway many times before. In this particular incident, a police officer stopped Mr. Wong for jaywalking, held him against a wall, and issued a $250 citation. Although signs demonstrated that Mr. Wong did not understand the officer because of a language barrier, the officer used force to constrain Mr. Wong as he was thrown to the ground and beaten for struggling. Mr. Wong was dazed, bloodied, and suffered cuts and bruises. He was surrounded by officers, handcuffed, and taken to the hospital for four stitches for his head wounds.

Police brutality and sheer misconduct are far from being unprecedented. We can recall Peter Yew who, in 1975, was beaten and arrested by the police during a minor traffic altercation in New York’s Chinatown. Thousands of protesters marched the mile from Chinatown to City Hall to protest against police brutality and called for change. In 2008, police threw an Asian student on the ground at Columbia University in addition to yelling racist insults at him for holding an open beer can. The incident led to racial sensitivity training classes at the local NYPD precinct. New York City has had its own run with “stop-and-frisk” policies and harassment that have discriminated against minorities, particularly the AAPI community. The incident with Mr. Wong stands as a reminder that the need for reform has been long overdue. No other person should have to endure the pain that Mr. Wong faced that day.

The East Coast Asian American Student Union (ECAASU) is committed in demanding greater accountability by the NYPD for this case of police brutality. We firmly stand against acts of unnecessary degree of violence, discriminatory stop-and-frisk laws, and senseless abuses of authoritative power. Moving forward, we must ensure officers are able to work with those who are limited-English proficient or faced with a language barrier. Lastly, we call on Mayor Bill de Blasio to hold the officers responsible for their actions against Mr. Wong to deliver him the justice he deserves. Our allies at 18 Million Rising have created a petition demanding accountability from Mayor de Blasio. Please sign and share the petition:

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Advocacy Update: Mental Health Summit

Dec 14 2013
By: Cynthia
Categories: Blog, Advocacy, Blog
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From Advocacy Coordinator, Daniel Hoddinott: An update on a future opportunity.

The East Coast Asian American Student Union (ECAASU) in collaboration with the National Asian American Pacific Islander Mental Health Association (NAAPIMHA) will be hosting a Mental Health Summit in the spring to bring together 100-250 students to discuss mental health issues in the AAPI community. The goals for this one-day summit will be to spread awareness regarding mental health issues and to create a safe space for participants to learn more about resources available by those who work in the mental health profession through interactive workshops and plenary sessions. Workshops will focus on education of mental health issues, immigration and health, health care access, and different methods in dealing with mental health issues.

ECAASU is currently forming the planning committee for the AAPI Mental Health Summit. This event will be in late March-early April in Boston, Massachusetts. We are looking for people to join our planning committee. The planning committee will have a public relations team, volunteer & registration team, programming team, logistics team, and finance team. Planning committee members will be expected to participate on conference calls (TBA) and to help out the day of the summit. By joining the planning committee you will be able to work on a professional team, gain resume experience, and network with ECAASU and health professionals.

If you have any questions, comments, or concerns, please email Daniel Hoddinott at

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ECAASU Statement on “Kill All the Chinese” comment on Jimmy Kimmel

Nov 03 2013
By: diane.wong
Categories: Blog, Advocacy, Blog, Blog, Official Statements
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ECAASU Statement on “Kill All the Chinese” comment on Jimmy Kimmel

ECAASU commends ABC News for issuing a formal apology following the “Kill all the Chinese” comment aired on Jimmy Kimmel Live during its “Kid’s Table” skit on October 16th, 2013. The unscripted jab from a 6-year-old suggested that in the face of the recent government shutdown, we should “kill all the Chinese” to avoid paying our debt to China. The comment was repeated by Kimmel, and reiterated in a group discussion with other children parodying US politicians. This distasteful, offensive rhetoric has outraged numerous Asian-Americans, as well as Chinese communities around the world.

“We would never purposefully broadcast anything to upset the Chinese community, Asian community, anyone of Chinese descent or any community at large,” read a statement signed by ABC Entertainment executive vice-president Lisa Berger. Tim McNeal who is in charge of ABC’s talent and diversity branch made note that ABC has removed the particular section of the segment from all social media platforms and that the comment has been edited out for all future airings of the episode.

While publicly apologizing to 80/20 protestors in person and during his show on October 28th, Jimmy Kimmel made it clear that he did not intend to appear in agreement with the “Kill all the Chinese” comment. He apologized for any hurt feelings that were caused by the remark and expressed deep remorse for the incident. Although Kimmel and ABC Network apologized, we hope that going forward, the show will provide culturally sensitive material and take heed many of the sound suggestions that have been made from fellow organizations and individuals.

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Justice for Trayvon Martin

The East Coast Asian American Student Union (ECAASU) stands in solidarity with Trayvon Martin, his family, and the many others who have called for his killer to be brought to justice. George Zimmerman’s acquittal is reflective of a system that, time and time again, has failed to protect the rights of individuals targeted as a result of discrimination. It is a reminder that we need to continue to work harder to ensure that prejudice has no place in our legal system and society.

While some have claimed that this case has nothing to do with race, we do not live in a post-racial society. Trayvon’s story plays into a larger narrative of discrimination and racial imbalance across the country today, as racial profiling is institutionalized through biased application of “stand your ground” and other laws. Trayvon’s death and the failure of the legal system to bring him justice are not isolated incidents, but symptoms of a pervasive problem in our society.

As advocates for the AAPI community, we are responsible for challenging prejudice and racial profiling within our society regardless of whom it is leveled against. We will not forget Trayvon Martin, and will do our best to ensure that his fight for justice is not over.

For the petition calling for prosecution of George Zimmerman by the Department of Justice, follow this link:

For the NAACP petition for the Department of Justice to file charges against George Zimmerman, follow the link below (Currently crashed due to heavy traffic, will update if it is back up)


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Voting Rights Act Decisions

The East Coast Asian American Student Union (ECAASU) is deeply saddened by the Supreme Court Decision to strike down key a provision of the Voting Rights Act of 1965. In a 5-to-4 vote on Tuesday, the Supreme Court effectively invalidated Section 4 of the Voting Rights Act which now allows states and local governments to pass voting laws without federal approval.


As evidenced from the recent election cycles, a number of state and local governments have introduced restrictive voting laws that include mandatory photo identification procedures, massive voter purges, shortened early voting periods, proof of citizenship mandates, and other preventative measures veiled in an attempt to prevent voter fraud. It is undeniable that these restrictive voting laws disproportionately impact the elderly, minority, low-income, disabled, and other traditionally underrepresented groups. We encourage our advocates to continue to educate our communities to ensure that all voters are protected.

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Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) Decisions

The East Coast Asian American Student Union (ECAASU) applauds the Supreme Court’s historic decision on June 26, 2013 to strike down the 1996 Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) that unconstitutionally denies federal benefits to married same-sex couples who are legally married in states they reside. We also applaud the Supreme Court’s decision to strike down California’s Prop 8 ban on gay marriage. Both of these decisions reverberates the dreams and promises of justice, civil rights, and equal treatment for all people to be treated the same–regardless of whom they choose to spend their lives with. ECAASU hopes that these decisions stand firm as a landmark precedent for continued support and recognition of same-sex marriage and couples and LGBTQ rights. Now is the time to stand in solidarity for marriage equality and to continue pushing forward this critical movement.

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Supreme Court Decisions on Fisher v. University of Texas at Austin

The East Coast Asian American Student Union (ECAASU) applauds the Supreme Court’s decision to send the case Fisher v. University of Texas Austin back to the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals. In an nearly unanimous decision (7-1), the Court argues that the admissions policy of University were not assessed properly by the lower court, and therefore must be re-evaluated. ECAASU hopes that with this re-evaluation, the lower courts can deem this policy as being essential to promoting diversity, and breaking down social boundaries on campus. Since our founding, ECAASU has stood in solidarity with traditionally underrepresented communities to support affirmative action.

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May 10 AAPI Briefing on Suicide Prevention and Mental Health

Check out our post by Johnny Thach, Advocacy Coordinator, and Janet Namkung, Campus Ambassador, who both attended the May 10th AAPI Briefing on Suicide Prevention and Mental Health at the White House!


On the morning of Friday, May 10, the White House Initiative on Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders (WHIAAPI) and the White House Office of Public Engagement hosted an AAPI Briefing on Suicide Prevention and Mental Health at the White House. The event marked an intersection between the Asian American and Pacific Islander Heritage Month and the National Mental Health Awareness Month. The date, May 10, also celebrated the Asian Pacific American Mental Health Day in California, San Francisco, and most recently Austin, Texas. The Briefing brought together community leaders, advocates, and students from across the country to begin a dialogue, a national conversation for reflection in order to destigmatize mental health, strengthen our community, change the culture, fight against bullying, harassment, and sexual abuse, and to prevent gun violence.

Mental health concerns affect hundreds of thousands of Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders (AAPI) each and every day. Many more live with mental health concerns, but internalize them to be unrecognizable in public and do not seek the help needed. There is a cultural stigma with mental health in many AAPI families. Issues, such as depression and suicidal thoughts and behaviors, are not talked about until it is too late. As a child, you are filled with high expectations from your parents, to be hardworking and diligent in academics and beyond, that many times mental health becomes a begrudging topic of imperfection and laziness. This misunderstanding comes from the fact that many AAPIs grow up being taught that mental health is taboo, because of fear of reprisal and family shame. National studies found that in the last year around 15.8% of AAPI adults experience mental illnesses; however only 5.3% used mental health services, which is a low number relative to other groups. Again, around 3.8% of AAPIs experience major depressive episodes (MDE). Less than half of them receive services to treat MDE. AAPIs are less likely to seek mental health care, but also have fewer services per capita available to AAPIs than other groups not to mention low accessibility due to language needs.

Personal stories and narratives presented at the Briefing spoke volumes. When asked how many people knew someone that experienced mental health concerns, almost everyone stood in the room stood up. When asked if they knew someone that committed suicide, everyone stood up again. Both the speakers and panelists shared their own accounts and how mental health issues affected them on a personal level. It was about losing a family member or friend to suicide. It was about depression and bipolar disorder and finding the courage to confront the problem and find treatment. It was about saving lives; encouraging people to take early signs of mental illness seriously, creating conversation and dialogue to bring these issues to a national front, and helping people get treatment before it was too late.

Suicide is preventable, and it starts with creating a safe space, an environment to talk about mental illness, an initiative to stigmatize the taboo, and collective understanding from all of us to break the sense of shame and silence.

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