Deportations of Southeast Asian Americans: A Glaring Human Rights Issue in an Unjust Immigration System

September 26, 2016
Organizers in Tacoma. (Photo Credit: 1Love Movement)
Organizers in Tacoma. (Photo Credit: 1Love Movement)

By Guest Contributors: Chanida Phaengdara Potter (@LittleLaosBlog, @chanidanoy) and Mia-lia Boua Kiernan (@1lovemovement1)

Last week, war veterans, mothers, fathers, family, friends, and children held signs of pleas to stop deportations of their loved ones.

Organized by family members of those detained, and supported by a coalition of API advocacy organizations, people lined the streets of Minneapolis outside Senator Amy Klobuchar’s office to demand justice after almost a dozen Cambodian Minnesotans were detained for deportation. This isn’t solely in the Cambodian community. Just last year, the story of Lao American DJ Teace aka Thisaphone Sothiphakhak was in the Minneapolis City Pages.

“That’s the most frustrating feeling,” said Sothiphakhak at the time. “I went through the court system, and literally something 18 years ago came back and made me feel like I was less than human.”

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‘Quantico’ Recap: Season 2, Episode 1, ‘Kudlove’

September 26, 2016
She's back! Photo Credit: ABC/Giovanni Rufin
She’s back! Photo Credit: ABC/Giovanni Rufin

By Guest Contributor: Lakshmi Gandhi (@LakshmiGandhi)

When we last left Alex Parrish and the world of Quantico, our heroine was considering an unexpected job offer from the CIA.

But apparently Quantico‘s writers room didn’t think that plot twist was enough. Viewers who follow Priyanka Chopra or Quantico’s social media have seen our feeds filled with diamond ring emojis as the show tried to get us excited about the fact that Ryan was getting ready to propose during Sunday’s season two premiere.

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BREAKING: California Governor Signs AAPI Data Disaggregation Bill Into Law

September 26, 2016
California State Assemblymember Rob Bonta, author of The Ahead Act (AB1726) which would expand data disaggregation for AAPIs in California, speaks to supporters at a rally earlier this year. (Photo Credit: Twitter)
California State Assemblymember Rob Bonta, author of The Ahead Act (AB1726) which would expand data disaggregation for AAPIs in California, speaks to supporters at a rally earlier this year. (Photo Credit: Twitter)

Following years of tireless advocacy work by AAPI advocacy groups, California has signed a critical data disaggregation bill into law.

AB1726 (also called “The AHEAD Act”) was introduced before the California Legislature early this year by bill author Assemblyman Rob Bonta. Recognizing that most state and federal data generally lump all members of the nearly 50 ethnic groups that comprise the AAPI community into a single monolithic category or disaggregate by only a handful of ethnic identifiers, the bill called for the expanded disaggregation of state public health and higher education data to include at least ten more ethnic categories for AAPIs. Those new ethnic options — which include checkboxes for those who identify as Bangladeshi, Hmong, Indonesian, Malaysian, Pakistani, Sri Lankan, Taiwanese, Thai, Fijian and Tongan — were consistent with what is currently available via the National Census.

Meanwhile, the lack of disaggregated data renders invisible several achievement disparities — including increased incidence of certain treatable diseases and/or reduced education access — that disproportionately impact certain AAPI ethnic groups over others. Without the capacity to draw awareness to those inequities, no culturally- or linguistically-specific resources are devoted to addressing them.

The AHEAD Act was designed to take the first step towards helping the thousands of Asian American and Pacific Islander Californians who are currently underserved by state and federal services.

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‘Designated Survivor’ Recap: Season 1, Episode 1, ‘Pilot’

September 22, 2016
Photo Credit: ABC/Ben Mark Holzberg
Kal Penn, Kiefer Sutherland, and Natascha McElhone in ‘Designated Survivor.’ (Photo Credit: ABC/Ben Mark Holzberg)

By Guest Contributor: Lakshmi Gandhi (@lakshmigandhi)

As with any recaps, please be wary of spoilers.

What would you do if you were an earnest civil servant who suddenly became President of the United States after a devastating terrorist attack?

If you’re Tom Kirkman — the Designated Survivor of the ABC show of the same name — you throw up. Repeatedly.

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Echoes of Pvt. Danny Chen: Fresh Focus on Military Hazing after Muslim Asian American’s Death

September 17, 2016
Raheel Siddiqui, in a photo provided by the Siddiqui family. (Photo credit: Siddiqui family)
Raheel Siddiqui, in a photo provided by the Siddiqui family. (Photo credit: Siddiqui family)

Raheel Siddiqui was just 20 years old when he first arrived at Parris Island, where the young Marine recruit faced his first days of training.  The young Pakistani American Muslim had been recruited by the Marines while he was a student at the University of Michigan, where he had studied robotics and engineering and dreamed of one day working for the FBI.

On March 18, 2016, only eleven days into his training, Raheel Siddiqui was dead from injuries sustained following a 40 foot fall off of an outside stairwell balcony. Siddiqui’s death was ruled a suicide after a witness said that Siddiqui had became faint and then had thrown himself from the outdoor balcony ledge.

But, Siddiqui’s death has since sparked a major inquiry into a culture of hazing at Parris Island where ethnic and homophobic slurs are the norm and that likely contributed to Siddiqui’s death. An investigation has revealed that only one day after arriving at Parris Island, Siddiqui threatened to commit suicide. When evaluated by mental health professionals, Siddiqui reported that he felt his drill instructor was abusive. However, he withdrew his threat of suicide and was returned to training. Roughly a week later, Siddiqui complained of feeling ill and asked to be allowed to see a doctor. Instead, his drill instructor punished him with grueling on-the-spot physical training. When Siddiqui collapsed from fatigue saying that his throat hurt, his instructor slapped him several times (which is against Marine regulations) immediately before Siddiqui leapt to his death.

Siddiqui’s story is not the first to raise questions about the (mis)treatment of soldiers and cadets of colour in the US military.

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