Weeklies 4/20/09


Asian American Institute Fellows Program APIA Summer Activist Training


Filipinos Call for Immigration Reform AALDEF Commends Iowa School District’s Decision


Bridge to a Bright Future – C100 Event Take Out, A CAVU Pictures Film


Absolutely Nothing to Do with ECAASU

Asian American Institute Fellows Program

The Asian American Institute is accepting applications for its third annual Impact Fellows Program (IFP).  IFP seeks to foster the development of young leaders and to create a pipeline of leaders to act as informed and active representatives of the APA community. This program will take place in Chicago from mid-June thru early August 2009.

Impact Fellows Program (IFP) is a summer leadership program that incorporates 98 hours of training and 96 hours of internship hours at one of AAI’s Community Partners over a 7 week period. This program helps develop emerging leaders by providing them culturally competent trainings and perspectives which they can incorporate within their own value systems and skill-sets.

For additional information on this program please visit AAI’s website (http://www.aaichicago.org/main_ifp.html).

Fellows' Qualifications:

  • Illinois residents (residency or school)
  • Aged 17-22
  • Demonstrated leadership and/or community service
  • Knowledge of, or a desire to learn about, issues facing the APA community.

Deadlines for applications:

Early Deadline: Monday, May 4, 2009 (rolling admissions afterwards until Final Deadline) Final Deadline: Monday, May 15, 2009 Applicants will be notified of our decision by Week of May 25th.

AAI also invites the participation of Community Partners, which includes community-based organizations, government agencies, and foundations. The Community Partners will host fellows during the internship portion of the program. AAI seeks Community Partners that are nonprofit CBOs or GAs that work directly or indirectly with the APA community.

If you have any questions, please look at our website first, otherwise, please contact:

Mitch Schneider, Director of Operations

Asian American Institute, 4753 North Broadway Street, Suite 904, Chicago, Illinois 60640

Tel 773.271.0899 Fax 773.271.1982, Email: coordinator@aaichicago.org, Web: www.AAIChicago.org


APIA Summer Activist Training

The Summer Activist Training (SAT) program was founded in 1993 to provide young Asian Pacific Islander Americans an opportunity to spend three and half days learning valuable skills in community organizing and direct action campaigns. This program brings together like-minded APIAs to help create a community of young activists and organizers, many of whom go onto work in various community-based organizations and unions. This is the perfect opportunity to expand your network of support and inspiration!

There will be great food, an opportunity to meet and network other young activists, and a chance to develop better relationships with APIA organizations in the Los Angeles area.

This year's training will last from June 25 - June 28, 2009. If you plan on being in the LA area or can make a trip of it, please consider applying!

Feel free to forward the application along to any clubs/organizations/people who might be interested.

The application is due on May 1st. Please feel free to email me if you have questions or call me at (626) 272 - 3018.


Sally Zhu, SAT Coordinator 2009


Filipinos Call for LGBTIQ Rights in Immigration Reform

SAN FRANCISCO, CA, USA – On Friday, April 3, 2009, Shirley Tan was threatened with deportation and separation from family which included her life partner, Jaylynn “Jay” Mercado, her 12 year old twin sons, and Jay’s 76 year old mother, of whom she was the primary care giver. Tan was unable to be petitioned for U.S. citizenship by her life partner of 23 years, Mercado, because the U.S. federal law does not recognize their union as a family based on their identification as women and their partnership as lesbians. Congresswoman Jackie Speier (CA-D) was able to postpone her deportation until April 22, 2009. BAYAN-USA & the newly founded GABRIELA-USA as anti-imperialist alliances of Filipino migrants and Fil-Ams with over 14 organizations representing youth, students, artists, workers, professionals, women, and more, stand against this unjust act on the grounds that their union should be recognized as a marriage and family unit with all the rights that citizenship holds and that if deported the Tan-Mercado family will be yet another casualty to the broken bureaucracy toted as the U.S. immigration system. We recognize that this is not a unique story, but represents a staggering 37,000 others who face such heart-wrenching and unjust circumstances.

The revitalization of the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgendered, Intersex, and Queer (LGBTIQ) Caucus during the 3rd BAYAN-USA National Congress and Founding Assembly of GABRIELA-USA brought to light the unique struggles of Filipinos and Filipinas living within the U.S. and abroad that identify as LGBTIQ. Both organizations have taken a stand to understand these struggles to become stronger for all Filipinos fighting and defending their rights here and in their homeland. On the heels of the highly controversial passage of California’s Proposition 8, the situation of the Tan-Mercado family humanizes an issue whose core is often lost in political trickery around “family values” and religious rhetoric around “unholy unions.” At the same time, communities of color like the Tan-Mercado family suffered from the LGBTIQ movement that did not tell stories of immigration and families being separated across borders and seas and often blamed communities of color for Prop 8 not being passed. The civil rights of all families are being lost in the shuffle of power and blame. With Tan’s potential deportation, there is the threat of violence from which she escaped in the past.

As alliances that advocate and fight for the rights and welfare of Filipinos in the United States and is an active supporter of all marginalized and oppressed peoples the world-over, BAYAN-USA & GABRIELA-USA strongly condemn Tan’s deportation order that would rip her apart from her family that she has built for over 23 years within the United States. After the 9/11 tragedy, legislation considering a pathway to legalization for migrants was taken off the table and the issue of immigration was subsumed under the Department of Homeland Security, inextricably linking migrants to an issue of national security. We see this as a contradictory move by a nation that historically has forced the migration of many Filipinos from their homeland through unequal economic trade relations and military policies. It is U.S. imperialism that profits from the underpaid, under-recognized work of migrant workers that serves as the foundation for the economies in the U.S. and the economies of migrant workers’ homelands. Fundamental to U.S. imperialism is heterosexism that works to systematically profit from the unpaid work of women to care for their household and ultimately raise the world’s workforce. We understand LGBTIQ families as a challenge to the heterosexism upon which U.S. imperialism thrives. We recognize the fight in support of the Tan-Mercado family as an anti-imperialist fight for LGBTIQ and migrant workers' rights.

The Tan-Mercado family’s threat of deportation exposes the viciousness of U.S. “homeland security” policies that work to justify a domestic form of U.S.-led, U.S. taxpayer-funded military attacks on the people of Iraq, Afghanistan, Palestine, the Philippines and all around the world. It further reveals the unequal relations between the U.S. and the Philippines in light of the Visiting Forces Agreement (VFA) that allows U.S. military personnel to enter the Philippines without a visa and commit crimes with impunity. Meanwhile, hardworking Filipinas like Shirley Tan, who has committed no crime and is a productive member of society, is being deported from the U.S.

As BAYAN-USA & GABRIELA-USA LGBTIQ Caucus, we call on all allies to LGBTIQ people and migrants to support a stop to the deportation of Shirley Tan and join the international struggle against the root cause - U.S. Imperialism! Please join our forces as we develop contingents on May 1, 2009 for the historic May Day actions across the US calling for migrant workers rights! In these times of the deepening global economic crisis and parallel intensification of U.S. military aggression it is ever more urgent that we unite our diverse communities, raise the consciousness of everyday people, and strengthen our struggle against U.S. Imperialism!








AALDEF Commends Iowa School District’s Decision


Honors student previously disciplined for protesting English Language Learner testing

New York, NY – In a welcome but abrupt about face, Storm Lake School District has reclassified Asian American Legal Defense and Education Fund (AALDEF) client Lori Phanachone as English proficient and restored her National Honor Society membership.  After stripping the 3.98 GPA student’s National Honor Society membership for refusing an English Language Learner (ELL) test, the school district has met AALDEF’s demand to restore her membership.  The district has also met AALDEF’s demand to reclassify Ms. Phanachone as English proficient.

Khin Mai Aung, Ms. Phanachone’s attorney at AALDEF, said: “Storm Lake is finally moving in the right direction by reclassifying Lori as English proficient, and restoring her hard earned National Honors Society membership.  We are thrilled about this development, but continue to seek assurances from Storm Lake on other pending matters.”

Ms. Phanachone was mislabeled an ELL for naming Lao as her home language, without an English proficiency assessment, when she moved to Storm Lake two years ago.  Ms. Phanachone has since been subjected to yearly ELL testing while excelling in advanced courses taught in English.  This year, she boycotted a yearly ELL test in protest, resulting in a 3- day suspension, exclusion from extracurriculars and loss of her National Honor Society membership.

Lori Phanachone said: “We still need a lot of answers, but I feel really good that my academic honors have been restored, and I no longer have to worry about being classified as an ELL.”

Among other things, the following demands by AALDEF are still pending with Storm Lake School District:

  • Remove all references to Lori Phanachone’s suspension and other disciplinary action from her school records;
  • Assure in writing that it will not impose further disciplinary action on her;
  • Clarify Storm Lake’s procedures for classifying students as ELL upon enrollment; and
  • Explain how and why Lori Phanachone was initially classified as an ELL under Storm Lake’s classification procedures.


Khin Mai Aung, Staff Attorney 212.966.5932 x219 kaung@aaldef.org


Bridge to a Bright Future – C100 Event

The Committee of 100 Proudly Presents

"Bridge to a Bright Future": 7th Annual Mentoring and Networking Event for Young Professionals in All Fields

U.S. Chamber of Commerce - 2pm - 4:30pm - Washington, DC

Please join us for this wonderful opportunity to learn and network with distinguished Chinese Americans in academia, consulting, finance, entertainment, law, public service, science & technology and more!

This year we are thrilled to have Figure Skating Champion, American Public Diplomacy Envoy and C-100 member, Michelle Kwan give opening remarks at the Mentoring Event.

To register, and learn more about our mentors and the mentoring event, please visit http://conference.committee100.org/2009/index.php?page=mentoring

Registration deadline: Monday, April 27, 2009

If you have any questions, please contact Mike Jee or visit www.c100mentoring.org.


Take Out, A CAVU Pictures Film

TAKE OUT, A CAVU Pictures Film by Sean Baker & Shih-Ching Tsou

Thursday, April 23, 6:30 p.m.

Davis Polk & Wardwell 450 Lexington Avenue New York, NY

Special discussion with:

  • Shih-Ching Tsou, Filmmaker
  • Kenneth Kimerling, Legal Director, Asian American Legal Defense and Education Fund
  • Will Miller, Attorney for Plaintiffs in Saigon Grill case, Davis Polk & Wardwell

Take Out is a day-in-the-life of Ming Ding, an undocumented Chinese immigrant working as a deliveryman for a Chinese take-out shop in New York City. In a social-realist style, the camera follows Ming on his deliveries throughout the upper Manhattan neighborhood where social and economic extremes exist side by side. Intercutting between Ming's deliveries and the daily routine of the restaurant, Take Out presents a harshly real look at the daily lives of undocumented Chinese immigrants in New York City. http://takeoutthemovie.com/

For more than 30 years, AALDEF has employed innovative legal strategies to enforce labor laws, and has won millions of dollars in back wages and overtime pay for low-wage immigrant workers and secured federal rulings that have expanded the ability of workers to hold their employers accountable. Recently, AALDEF and Davis Polk & Wardwell worked together to secure a federal court award of over $4.6 million in back wages and damages to 36 Chinese immigrant delivery workers at two Saigon Grill restaurants in Manhattan. AALDEF and Davis Polk & Wardwell have collaborated in five other lawsuits on behalf of immigrant delivery workers in New York. http://www.aaldef.org/

To RSVP and for questions, please email MLau@aaldef.org with your contact information by April 20.


Absolutely Nothing to Do with ECAASU

http://3.bp.blogspot.com/_zMsg9U8UoyM/SeG6DnXNzNI/AAAAAAAADWc/G8qHizOMZ0I/s1600-h/map.jpg - a bit NSFW but amusing