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01.06.2021

Asian Americans Advancing Justice Denounces Today’s Assault on Democracy and Calls for Removal of President Trump

Asian Americans Advancing Justice Denounces Today’s Assault on Democracy and
Calls for Removal of President Trump

Washington, DC — January 6, 2021 — The world has watched in horror as Trump terrorists, rioters, and seditionists stormed the U.S. Capitol incited by President Trump, who earlier in the day urged his ardent supporters to walk to the Capitol Building and «show strength» and «fight.»

Asian Americans Advancing Justice, an affiliation of five independent Asian American civil rights organizations, releases the following statement:

“Today we witnessed nothing short of a terrorist attack on a sacred U.S. institution and our democracy. White power and white supremacy were on full display today.

When Congress resumes its proceedings tonight, they must certify the electoral vote, hold the Trump enablers responsible for their reckless actions today, and proceed to remove Donald J. Trump from the Office of the President – not in two weeks – now.

Trump’s actions in continuing to incite violence and peddle fiction are un-democratic and un-presidential. The politicians who have and continue to encourage this chaos are not upholding their oath of office or acting in the best interest of the people who spoke clearly and loudly on November 3rd and again in the Georgia Senate runoff races.

In the fight for Democracy, we are on the right side of history. The will of the people shall prevail.”

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Advocacy Groups, Community Organizations and Science Associations Urge President-elect Joe Biden to End Justice Department’s “China Initiative”

Advocacy Groups, Community Organizations and Science Associations Urge President-elect Joe Biden to End Justice Department’s “China Initiative”

In a letter to President-elect Biden, groups voice concerns over the racial profiling of Asian Americans and Asian immigrants

Washington, DC — January 5, 2021 Today, a group of community organizations, advocacy groups, science associations, and individuals sent a letter to President-elect Joe Biden urging the incoming administration to end the Justice Department’s “China Initiative” and take further steps to combat the pervasive racial bias and targeting of Asian American and Asian immigrant scientists, researchers, and students by the federal government. Among the signatories are people who have been directly impacted by the government’s unjust prosecutions of Asian Americans.

The letter, spearheaded by the Asian Americans Advancing Justice affiliation, Brennan Center for Justice, and APA Justice Task Force, denounces the “China Initiative” for discriminatory investigations and prosecutions of Asian Americans and Asian immigrants,  particularly those of Chinese descent working in fields of science. Many of the investigations and prosecutions under this initiative target people with any “nexus to China” rather than on evidence of economic espionage as it purports to do, which has revealed a sharp rise in the profiling and targeting of Asian American and Asian immigrant scientists and researchers.

Even after not finding any evidence of espionage, federal prosecutors are charging many Asian Americans and Asian immigrants with federal crimes based on administrative errors or minor offenses such as failing to disclose information to universities or research institutions and other activities under the pretext of combating economic espionage. As a result, Asian American and Asian immigrant scientists, researchers, and scholars are ensnared by overzealous prosecutions riddled with racial bias that are ruining careers and leaving lives in shambles.

The letter includes a set of recommendations, which first calls for an immediate end to the “China Initiative” and a complete review of all prosecutions and investigations closed prior to prosecution under the initiative. It also urges the incoming administration to review and take measures throughout the Federal Government’s law enforcement, intelligence, and scientific research funding agencies to combat other patterns of racial bias against Asian American and Asian immigrant scientists and federal employees. The letter and list of organizations and individuals that signed on can be found here.

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11.23.2020

ABC7’s Our Chicago: Voices of the Community

Our Director of Organizing Grace Pai had the opportunity to participate in ABC7’s town hall series, Our Chicago: Voices of the Community. She discussed with fellow female community members the impact of Vice President-Elect Kamala Harris’ historic win, and what we hope she can do for immigrant communities and communities of color.

Speaking about the importance of the diversity of Biden-Harris cabinet:

“I think it’s critically important who makes up the cabinet and to make sure it reflects the full diversity of the United States. I think even more important are the values that people bring into the administration. We have seen the disastrous effects of the current administration and the cabinet he has implemented. They have done everything they can to enact racist policies to demonize immigrants and make it harder to access the care and support they need even in a global pandemic. We have the opportunity to make meaningful changes in people lives, whether they got laid off because of COVID-19, or they’re an immigrant separated by their family because of the long overdue reforms that are needed, or whether they are living in fear because they are undocumented, or they have a family member who’s an essential worker and facing this fear of contracting covid every day. There are so many opportunities to make a real impact in people’s lives through bold policies that will uplift our communities and I would love to see the Biden administration with the leadership of Vice President-elect Harris go to bat in the same way we’ve seen the Trump administration go for the opposite values.”

Speaking about the potential of the next generation to create change:

“I think our communities as minorities have been siloed from each other. We have been taught that our interests are different. I think one thing we’ve been seeing from young people that is so hopeful and amazing is that people are seeing their common interests more, whether they are going into the streets together to fight for racial justice and racial equity, or they’re throwing down in schools together to advocate for the resources that they need. We see so many examples of that collaboration and solidarity between young people, and I think that’s amazing because we have so much more in common than what separates us. And for us to continue breaking barriers and create systemic lasting changes that will continue to benefit future generations, we will only be able to accomplish that together. If it’s just Asians in one corner fighting for things that impact Asian Americans, that’s not good enough. We need to build those bridges. Just one example of that intersectionality is one of the things that Advancing Justice works on, which is immigrant rights. On the federal level we’ve seen the president’s administration put out these racist immigration bans which have impacted Muslim communities but also African immigrant communities and refugee communities. And when we look at where these communities are coming from around the world, they are definitely communities of color, but they definitely impact Black communities like they impact Latinx and Asian communities. When we’re fighting for reforms, whether it’s to get rid of these racist bans or advocate for family reunification in our immigration system, we need to bring that intersectional lens to make sure we’re thinking of Black immigrants and Arab immigrants and all these different communities that may not otherwise be in the spotlight or that might not be covered with the same attention. I’m hopeful about what’s happening.”

Speaking about the takeaways she has from this election:

“Empathy and compassion. The thing that I’ve really taken from the Vice President elect’s story is how much her life experience and the impact of the people around her and her loved ones and the people who raised her and how that has informed her perspective. For her to have empathy for other people in other positions and that’s what I’m going to take with me in my leadership.”

Watch the entire panel here

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11.19.2020

As COVID-19 Cases Surge, Nonprofit Organizations Launch Local Bystander Intervention Trainings to Combat Anti-Asian Harassment

Contact:
Megan Singson
msingson@advancingjustice-chicago.org
630-334-4045

CHICAGO — November 19, 2020 — As COVID-19 cases continue to surge across the country, the Asian American community is bracing itself for more racist harassment and attacks. For months, the Trump administration and other politicians have consistently blamed China for the COVID-19 pandemic and used xenophobic terms like “Chinese virus” that spread stigma and fear and perpetuate centuries of racist stereotypes. As a result, there have been numerous reports of anti-Asian verbal and physical attacks, with Illinois being the fourth ranked state with the highest number of reported incidents. To combat this dangerous trend, Asian Americans Advancing Justice | Chicago, the Council On American Islamic Relations (CAIR) Chicago, and Hollaback! have launched a virtual bystander intervention training program in the Chicagoland area. In each one-hour virtual training, participants will learn about the history of anti-Asian racism, how to identify situations of harassment, and how to intervene safely.

“Racist rhetoric is often the first of an escalation of hateful actions committed against vulnerable communities,” said Sufyan Sohel, Deputy Director of CAIR-Chicago. “We have seen this time and time again, including the Muslim Ban which began as rhetoric during the 2016 Presidential campaign and culminated not only with the Executive Order, but spikes in hate incidents and speech we have seen nationwide. This isn’t an Asian problem, a Muslim problem, or even an immigrant problem. It is a problem that requires our collective energy to address and we are proud to work alongside our incredible partners to bring a much needed resource to our communities.”

Anti-Asian racism is only one aspect of the larger pool of issues in our country’s racial landscape. According to the Department of Homeland Security, white supremacist extremists are the “most persistent and lethal threat in the homeland” with the deadliest targeted terror attacks in the U.S in recent years. The FBI also reported that there were 7,314 criminal hate-crime incidents in 2019, the highest number of hate crimes in over a decade.

“We’ve seen how white supremacy has been given a platform on the national stage, and these groups have been emboldened to attack communities of color,” said Andy Kang, Executive Director of Advancing Justice | Chicago. “We saw it in Charlottesville, Portland, and here in the Midwest in Kenosha. We know that our communities are stronger together, and we’re taking steps to help equip Illinoisans with the tools to help show up for one another. These trainings are a way for all communities of color and allies to come together, protect each other, and take action now against white supremacy, racism, and hate of all kinds.”

Advancing Justice | Chicago, CAIR-Chicago, and Hollaback! invite people of all backgrounds to participate in a bystander intervention training and learn how to take action against hate and racism. For more information, visit www.advancingjustice-chicago.org/antihate. People who have witnessed or experienced a hate incident can also report them to StandAgainstHatred.org.

 

Asian Americans Advancing Justice | Chicago has a mission to build power through collective advocacy and organizing to achieve racial equity.

CAIR-Chicago is the Chicago Chapter of America’s largest Muslim civil liberties and advocacy organization with a mission to defend civil rights, fight bigotry, and promote tolerance. 

Hollaback! has a mission to end harassment in all its forms by transforming the culture that perpetuates harassment and discrimination. We carry out this mission by building the power of everyday people to create safe and welcoming environments for all.

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09.27.2020

Asian Americans Advancing Justice Reacts To Historic Biden/Harris Win

Asian Americans Advancing Justice Reacts To Historic Biden/Harris Win

Washington, DC — November 10, 2020 Asian Americans Advancing Justice affiliates in Chicago, Los Angeles, and Washington, D.C. issued the following statement on Joe Biden and Kamala Harris’s election win:

“Asian Americans Advancing Justice is committed to empowering Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders to participate in our democracy and making sure our voices are heard at all levels of government. It is clear that the people have spoken: Joe Biden and Kamala Harris are the next leaders of our country. Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders turned out to have their voices heard, and in the process helped elect the first vice president of Black and South Asian descent. This is an historic moment. 

Throughout the election process, Advancing Justice has worked to protect the rights of all Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders and to hold election officials accountable for providing our communities with the information and access we need to vote. Our communities overcame barriers and showed up to make our voices heard. We’ve worked and will continue to work with our communities to exercise their political power to shape the policies that affect us.

The election is over, but our work continues. For years, we’ve fought alongside local and national partners to make the American dream and the promise of opportunity a reality for Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders. We will work closely with the new administration and the new Congress to ensure the federal government makes strides on issues most important to our communities — such as protecting and expanding family-based immigration, defunding immigration enforcement, protecting and expanding voting rights, eradicating racial profiling and more — to create a society that accepts, respects and celebrates our differences.”

Contacts:

Megan Singson, Advancing Justice – Chicago, 773-271-0899 x200, msingson@advancingjustice-chicago.org

Michelle Boykins, Advancing Justice | AAJC, 202-296-2300 x0144, mboykins@advancingjustice-aajc.org

Liza Ameen, Advancing Justice – Los Angeles, (213) 977-7500 x258, lameen@advancingjustice-la.org

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