Tag Archives: Activism

HR5665 – Combating International Islamophobia Act

H.R.5665 – Combating International Islamophobia ActThis bill passed in the House on December 14, 2021 and goes to the Senate next for consideration.

This bill establishes within the Department of State the Office to Monitor and Combat Islamophobia and addresses related issues.

The office shall monitor and combat acts of Islamophobia and Islamophobic incitement in foreign countries. The bill establishes the position of Special Envoy for Monitoring and Combating Islamophobia, who shall head the office.

The bill also requires certain existing annual reports to Congress about human rights and religious freedom in foreign countries to include information about Islamophobia, such as information about (1) acts of physical violence or harassment of Muslim people, (2) instances of propaganda in government and nongovernment media that attempt to justify or promote hatred or incite violence against Muslim people, and (3) actions taken by a country’s government to respond to such acts. The office shall coordinate and assist in preparing these portions of the reports.

No funds made available pursuant to the bill may be used to promote or endorse a boycott, divestment, and sanctions movement ideology (i.e., economic measures against Israel or Israel-related individuals or organizations) or used to promote or endorse a Muslim ban.

Calling on Biden to End the China Initiative

NBC ASIAN AMERICA: “Asian American groups call on Biden to end controversial China Initiative Advocates say the Trump-era national security program to address Chinese economic espionage unfairly targets ethnic Chinese scientists and harms their families.

“Over the past year, Asian American advocacy groups have increased pressure on the Biden administration to end the initiative, which they say unfairly targets ethnic Chinese scientists and brings emotional and financial harm to their families. 

“’The China Initiative impacts Americans, permanent residents, immigrants, international students and visiting scholars,’ said Gisela Kusakawa, a staff attorney for the civil rights group Asian Americans Advancing Justice, or AAAJ. ‘It’s based on the premise that all scientists of Chinese descent or [who] have connections to China should be treated with suspicion.’ A year ago, AAAJ launched the Anti-Racial Profiling Project to persuade lawmakers to end the China Initiative and assist people targeted by the Justice Department. The group has provided legal and advocacy support to more than 70 academics, many of whom lost their jobs.

“Thu Nguyen, the executive director of OCA-Asian Pacific American Advocates, a nonprofit advocacy group, said the program has created a climate of fear that could trigger a brain drain in academia. The growing threat of racial profiling in the U.S., she said, has already pushed some talented scientists to look for jobs back in China. The China Initiative, she said, affects not only professors and working scientists but also students, many of whom may hesitate to apply for scholarships or pursue careers in science and technology out of fear of prosecution. In recent months, OCA has been lobbying lawmakers to end the program. In November, the group visited senators and mobilized chapter members to speak out about the issues at legislative sessions.”

Asian Americans Advancing Justice – AAJC: On May 29, 2020, six armed FBI agents raided Professor Shaorong Liu’s home, interrogated him and his wife, and arrested them. Professor Liu, who teaches at the Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry of the University of Oklahoma, and his wife were charged with stealing years of research funding, even though they did the research, resulting in over a dozen academic articles and a U.S. Patent.In our latest blog, hear from Professor Liu’s daughter, Di Liu, about the devastating impact being targeted by the government’s racial bias and profiling through the “China Initiative” had on her family.”My parents have lived here in the U.S. for most of their lives. They are proud American citizens. They are not spies. They are academics who have committed their lives to improving life for everyone. Why has this man-made tragedy been forced upon them? What have they done to deserve the scorn, rather than protection of their own government?”Read the full blog here: bit.ly/diliublog. #StopProfilingUs

Asian Americans Advancing Justice – AAJC: A new study shows that over 50% of scientists of Chinese descent working in the U.S., regardless of citizenship, fear they are under surveillance by the U.S. government. Read our Anti-Racial Profiling Project Intern Alex Liang’s latest on the reverberating effects of the “China Initiative” within the scientific community, and the dangers of it coming at a time when the pandemic and climate change have become predominant threats to Americans’ health and prosperity.

Why Ending the Justice Department’s “China Initiative” is Vital to U.S. Security

Launch of the White House Initiative on Asian Americans, Native Hawaiians and Pacific Islanders

President Biden Announces Intent to Appoint Commissioners to the President’s Advisory Commission on Asian Americans, Native Hawaiians, and Pacific Islanders DECEMBER 20, 2021

WASHINGTON – Today, President Biden announced his intent to appoint the following leaders as commissioners to the President’s Advisory Commission on Asian Americans, Native Hawaiians, and Pacific Islanders:

The Commission will advise the President on ways the public, private, and non-profit sectors can work together to advance equity and opportunity for every Asian American, Native Hawaiian, and Pacific Islander (AANHPI) community. The Commission is also charged with advising the President on policies to address anti-Asian xenophobia and violence, ways to build capacity in AANHPI communities through federal grantmaking and policies to address the intersectional barriers that AANHPI women, LGBTQ+ people, and people with disabilities face. The Commission will include civic leaders from across the country and will reflect the rich diversity of AANHPI communities across the United States.

Advancing Justice – AAJC Statement in Response to White House Initiative on Asian Americans, Native Hawaiians and Pacific Islanders: Washington, D.C. — December 9, 2021 — Asian Americans Advancing Justice | AAJC (Advancing Justice | AAJC) responds to the official launch of the White House Initiative on Asian Americans, Native Hawaiians, and Pacific Islanders (WHIAANHPI). John C. Yang, Advancing Justice – AAJC president and executive director states: “We are excited to begin working WHIAANHPI to ensure coordination between government agencies, national groups, and community organizations. Advancing Justice – AAJC also applauds the selection of WHIAANHPI’s co-chairs Katherine Tai, the first woman of color to head the Office of U.S. Trade Representative, and Xavier Becerra, a former Congressional Asian Pacific American Caucus member and ally to the Asian American community. With longtime Asian American rights champion and civil rights advocate Krystal Ka’ai as the Executive Director, we are confident that WHIAANHPI will fulfill its mission to better serve the AANHPI community.”

NCAPA Coalition Celebrates the Launch of WHIAANHPI: Washington, D.C.—NCAPA issued the following statement after the administration announced the official launch of the White House Initiative on Asian Americans, Native Hawaiians and Pacific Islanders (WHIAANHPI) and the Initiative’s new Co-Chairs Katherine Tai and Xavier Becerra. The Initiative will be housed under the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS).

Calling on Congress to Deliver a Permanent Pathway to Citizenship

Asian Americans Advancing Justice Urges Congress to Commit to a Pathway to Citizenship and Visa Recapture After Parliamentarian Recommendations (December 17, 2021)

Asian Americans Advancing Justice is extremely disheartened by the Parliamentarian guidance further blocking relief for millions of undocumented community members. We will not stop fighting until Congress delivers a permanent pathway to citizenship.

Adhikaar along with Communities United for Status and Protection (CUSP) releases the following statement urging the Senate to disregard the Parliamentarian and provide green cards to millions: “This third rejection by the Parliamentarian clearly shows that she has no intention of approving any form of immigration relief to be included in the Build Back Better Act, despite very clear and significant budgetary impact. Senators must not allow a non-elected Senate staffer to subvert the will of the people via a purely advisory opinion. Senators must fulfill their duties to our communities and legislate what is right. The only way to do this is by including permanent residency in the Build Back Better Act.” Read their full statement here!

HANA Center and Undocumented Community Members Respond to the Parliamentarian’s Third Recommendation: “This Changes Nothing. Vice President Harris, Disregard the Parliamentarian!” Read their full statement here!

VietLead stands with Movement of Immigrant Leaders in Pennsylvania and New Sanctuary Movement of Philadelphia in their call to include a pathway to citizenship in the budget reconciliation. Read more here: Pennsylvania Families call on Vice President Harris and Senate to Include a Pathway to Citizenship in Budget Reconciliation.

Coming Together to Fight for Justice for Christian Hall

Asian Americans United (12/30/2021) – Today is the anniversary of Christian Hall’s death. He was 19 when he called 911 for help during a mental health crisis. He was shot by the Pennsylvania State Troopers, who were responding to his call for help. Today, communities are coming together to mourn and to honor Christians life. Please find a vigil near you and get involved by going to justiceforchristianhall.com.


Our mission is to fight for justice for Christian Hall by inspiring and promoting impactful police reform that includes strategized medical responses, instead of law enforcement responses, to mental health calls for help. These are some of the most critical issues we will face through the power of civic engagement. Join our community of activists and allies as we work towards a better and more just world for all marginalized people.

Bipartisan Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act

NCAPA Statement on Senate Passage of the Bipartisan Infrastructure Bill –  Washington, DC— The National Council of Asian Pacific Americans (NCAPA), National Director, Gregg Orton issued the following statement after the Senate voted 69-30 to pass the Bipartisan Infrastructure Bill. The bill makes key investments in public transit, broadband access, environmental remediation, and more.

“The National Council of Asian Pacific Americans (NCAPA) applauds the passage of President Biden’s historic infrastructure bill. As this legislation advances, we are hopeful this bill will strengthen communities across the country, especially those who’ve been impacted the hardest by the pandemic. 

“From our coalition’s previous meetings with President Biden, the Administration has been incredibly receptive to the needs of the Asian American, Native Hawaiian, and Pacific Islander (AANHPI) community. Whether it’s broadband access, electrifying transportation to reduce the negative impact on the climate, or securing our power grid, these important investments have the ability to drastically improve the lives of every American, especially in disadvantaged communities. We urge the Administration to commit these investments, and others laid out in the bill, to underserved AANHPI communities as well as the millions in disadvantaged communities across the country.”

APIAVote Applauds Senate’s Passage of Bipartisan Infrastructure Bill – Washington, DC –  Christine Chen, Executive Director of Asian and Pacific Islander American Vote, issued the following statement after the United States Senate overwhelmingly passed the Investment and Jobs Act, a bipartisan infrastructure spending bill to expand the nation’s broadband, rebuild roads and bridges, and more.

“The Senate’s passage of the Investment and Jobs Act today, otherwise known as the bipartisan infrastructure bill, is a great step for Asian American and Pacific Islander (AAPI) communities all across the country. Many communities of color, including Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders, live in neighborhoods with crumbling roads and bridges, aging public transportation, environmental crises, and more. This bill makes historic investments into reversing course and re-building our nation’s infrastructure, all while creating thousands of jobs and improving the localities in which we live.

“Additionally, we are pleased with this bill’s historic investments into broadband. During the COVID-19 pandemic, many in our community had to start working from home, going to school online, and getting healthcare through telehealth services. It is even how many in our communities registered to vote, apply for absentee ballots, and learn about candidates and the issues –– especially for those with limited English proficiency. As a result, the importance of reliable high-speed internet is arguably more important now than ever, and so is the importance of closing the digital divide existing in AAPI communities. The Investment and Jobs Act will invest $65 billion to ensure this divide is closed, and our communities no longer face unacceptable barriers to success in the modern world. 

“The Senate’s passage of this bill is not only a historic investment into our country’s infrastructure, but it is also an example of how members of both parties can come together and work for the people. In a highly polarized political climate, AAPIs want a government that produces results for our communities. We urge the House of Representatives to promptly pass this legislation, and show that our government remains able to deliver for our communities.”

OCA Applauds Senate Passage of the Bipartisan Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act – Washington, D.C. — OCA-Asian Pacific Advocates, a national member-driven organization dedicated to empowering Asian American and Pacific Islander (AAPI) communities, applauded the U.S. Senate on Tuesday following passage of the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act.

“Communities of color–including millions of Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders–have been burdened by pollution, aging public transportation, and lack of reliable access to broadband service for more than a generation,” said OCA-Asian Pacific American Advocates National President Linda Ng. “This bipartisan legislation includes much-needed investments in our infrastructure that will support AAPI families and grow our economy in a way that benefits everyone.”

“We are pleased that the package contains historic levels of funding for broadband infrastructure, which will help to provide affordable high-speed internet to underserved communities,” said OCA Deputy Executive Director Thu Nguyen. “Many AAPIs–and particularly Pacific Islanders–still face unacceptable barriers to access, depriving them of key education, health and socioeconomic opportunities. Today’s vote is a critical step forward to closing the digital divide, and we urge the House to swiftly take up the Senate bill.”



The John Lewis Voting Rights Advancement Act

Advancing Justice – AAJC Applauds House Vote on John Lewis Voting Rights Advancement Act 

WASHINGTON, DC — August 24, 2021 ― Asian Americans Advancing Justice – AAJC applauds the U.S. House of Representatives passage of H.R. 4 – the John Lewis Voting Rights Advancement Act. Civil rights groups like Asian Americans Advancing Justice – AAJC are calling for widespread support of the John Lewis Voting Rights Advancement Act to now pass the Senate. 

John C. Yang, president and executive director of Asian Americans Advancing Justice – AAJC issues the following statement:   

“Our vote is our voice, and our voice is our power. The passage of the John Lewis Voting Rights Advancement Act is the first step to counter discriminatory voting laws – a move that was made previously more difficult last month by the U.S. Supreme Court decision in Brnovich v. DNC.  

We need to restore and modernize essential provisions of the 1965 Voting Rights Act that were gutted in the Shelby v. Holder Supreme Court decision and the John Lewis Voting Rights Act does exactly that by addressing the changing needs of America’s diverse population, of significant importance to the fast-growing Asian American community who need essential provisions such as increased language access and removal of other discriminatory barriers to voting.  

The Voting Rights Act has a long history of support across the political spectrum, and the John Lewis Voting Rights Advancement Act should have the same when it moves to the Senate.” 

Read more about the Voting Rights Advancement act here – Support H.R. 4, John Lewis Voting Rights Advancement Act – Government Accountability Project

Read APIAVote’s statement on the House Passage of the John Lewis Voting Rights Advancement Act here: https://www.apiavote.org/press/HousePassesHR4 

“It is disappointing that 56 years after the Voting Rights of 1965 became the law of the land that this legislation is necessary. After being gutted by two recent Supreme Court decisions, including Shelby v. Holder and Brnovich v. Democratic National Committee, state legislatures across the country have passed laws making it harder to vote – especially for historically marginalized communities, including Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders.”

“Nationally, AAPI voters had the largest increase in turnout among all racial groups between the 2016 and 2020 presidential elections. Despite the risks of the pandemic and growing hate incidents, AAPI voters showed up – thanks in large part to measures that expanded access to the polls. We know 73 percent of AAPI voters cast their ballots early or by mail in the 2020 election. We also know the demand for in-language materials was extraordinarily high in our communities. And without federal action now, AAPI voters may not have these options in the future.”

U.S. Senate and House Budget Resolution

HANA CENTER – “On August 24, 2021, the US House of Representative passes the budget resolution, a $3.5 billion budget resolution that included a pathway to citizenship for dreamers, farmworkers, TPS holders and essential workers. Now that both the Senate and the House have passed the resolution, we’re closer than we’ve ever been to a path to citizenship!” 

“The fight isn’t over yet. Even if they passed the resolution with funds set aside for a pathway, they will now start writing the bill. In the coming weeks, they will decide who will be covered and who will not. Congress also could decide to use this fund for constructing “smart fences” and militarizing our border.”

ASIAN AMERICANS ADVANCING JUSTICE – “We are one step closer to a pathway to citizenship and clearing the family immigration backlog! Asian Americans Advancing Justice celebrates as the House Judiciary Committee passed out of committee last night the immigration legislation in the FY 22 Budget Reconciliation Package that included:”

  • A pathway to citizenship for Dreamers, TPS holders, essential workers, and farmworkers
  • Provisions to begin clearing the family and employee-based visa backlogs
  • Provisions to provide green cards to diversity visa program lottery winners who were not able to receive them due to the former administration’s immigration bans, including 3,800 Afghan recipients

“Over 100,000 Asian undocumented immigrants, approximately 15,000 Nepali TPS holders, and tens of thousands of Asian Americans on nonimmigrant visas could benefit under these provisions. We thank the tireless advocacy from undocumented youth, organizers, and communities across the country that has led to the inclusion of key measures in the most promising legislative vehicle to begin transforming our deeply flawed immigration system.” Read their full statement here.

Asian American Civil Rights Organizations Calls Passage of Senate Budget Resolution a Historic Step for Immigrant Rights – Washington, D.C.—August 12, 2020— “Yesterday, the Senate budget resolution passed along party lines and included increased funding for education, climate change, healthcare, childcare, economic aid for families, and a pathway to citizenship for millions of immigrants. It now moves to the House to take up the budget resolution.” Asian Americans Advancing Justice, an affiliation of five independent Asian American civil rights organizations, releases the following statement:

“Eleven million undocumented immigrants, including 1.7 million undocumented Asian American and Pacific Islander immigrants, deserve a pathway to citizenship now. Citizenship for DACA recipients, TPS holders, farm workers, and essential workers provides a foundation to improve the lives of millions of people, their families, and their communities. 

With the Senate passage of the budget resolution, we’re one step closer to offering citizenship to millions of people who came here as children, arrived fleeing war and disaster, or help us care for one another as first responders, caregivers, food system workers, and so much more. With a pathway to citizenship, our friends, neighbors, and co-workers can get the help they need to pull through the pandemic, live without fear of being separated from their loved ones, access better education and job opportunities, start new businesses, and exercise their right to vote – embracing what it means to live a full life in the place you call home. We call on the House to swiftly pass the resolution. Relief for millions of immigrants is long overdue.”