Friday, June 29, 2007

Hoist A Flag/ Check Out 80-20's Ads

by Jing-Li Yu, 80-20 PAC Treasurer

As July 4th is coming up, let's take some time to recount our blessings as Americans. We live in the freest nation in the world, with the most opportunity. We are blessed with a diversity and harmony among many groups. And only in America are criticisms of the country not just tolerated, but praised as fulfilling a patriotic duty to push her to become a "more perfect union."

Let's show our pride as Americans. Remember 80-20's Flag Projects? "It takes an image to solve our image problem of being seen as perpetual foreigners." Proudly display the American flag in front of your home, and get your family and friends to do so, too. Engage in local July 4th activities.

Here's another way to help spread that patriotic spirit. Pass the word about 80-20's ads celebrating our country. Our English-language ad in Asian Week hits newsstands in the Bay Area today (June 29th) (and will be available all week). Our Chinese-language ad in the World Journal comes out this Sunday (July 1). Radio ads on Chinese American Voice of NY (FM 101.9 via satellite) have been playing and will continue up to July 4th. Local chapters in NJ, TX, MO, and MA may also be placing ads in local papers.

Please check out 80-20's ads and show them to your family, friends and colleagues. Make some copies and pass them out. Get them to join, because unity is power, and let's unite to make America a more perfect union.

Any US citizen or permanent resident can join - using a credit card, visit
http://www.80-20initiative.net/membership.html (easy to use) or
http://www.80-20initiative.net/paypal.html

PERSONAL checks are payable to "80-20 PAC", mailed to:
Jing-Li Yu TreasurerP.O. Box 527340
Flushing, NY 11352-7340 .
Please write down your E-MAIL address & PHONE no. on the BACK of the check.
Life membership is $1,000; Family (2 voters) is $50; Basic Membership is $35; Student membership is $15.Thank you, and wishing you a Happy July 4th!

Thursday, June 28, 2007

Dealing with Discrimination

By Joel Wong, Chair of the Ad Hoc Committee on Discrimination

Earlier this year, President Kathleen To appointed Jingli Yu, Richard To and myself to an Ad Hoc Committee on Discrimination. The purpose of this committee is to complement the Vision and Mission of the 80-20 Initiative, which is to work for equality and justice for all Asian Americans. Our roles include gathering information on cases where Asian Americans may be discriminated or otherwise mistreated. Our responsibilities include studying on actions we would take and to recommend such actions to the 80-20 Board of Directors for execution.

Recently working together with the Organization of Chinese Americans and other Asian American civil rights groups, we convinced CBS radio to fire two New York City Disc Jockeys who were particularly egregious in racially insulting and sexually harassing members of a Chinese restaurant wait staff who spoke limited, accented English. This illustrates 80-20 can be very effective when we enlist the help of our members through e-mail petitions.

Although the profile of the above case (as in the case leading to the firing of Don Imus) was high as they made the major news headlines, the long-term impact of these cases may be low. Real civil rights victories involving women and minorities are won only after long litigation involving much time and expenditure.

Obviously, the committee (and 80-20) must set priorities in addressing alleged discrimination cases. As we do not have the resources to handle every case, the most egregious cases will be handled first. Although 80-20 will defend the rights of all Asian Americans, in order of priorities, the problems facing Life-Members and regular Members will take precedent over those of the general public.

The good news:80-20 and other Asian American organizations considered the proposed Senate bill to be unfair to Asian Americans. It would have eroded the basic rights of American citizens with close family members overseas. We were the leading organization to lead a Call to Action signature drive and collected over 1,200 names in a few days. Our Petition was sent to the Senators and on Wednesday, June 6th, the immigration bill was defeated at the Senate.

Action needed:
The Senate is attempting to bring the bill back and with the passage of some amendments, the final bill may even be harsher to Asian Americans. Please, if you have not done so, sign our online petition to stop the elimination of family reunion categories: http://www.80-20initiative.net/petition.html .

Your action does work and thank you for playing a role.

Join 80-20. 80-20 needs your leadership, support and money to fight. Using a credit card, visit
http://www.80-20initiative.net/membership.html (easy to use) or
http://www.80-20initiative.net/paypal.html

PERSONAL checks are payable to "80-20 PAC", mailed to:
Jing-Li Yu Treasurer
P.O. Box 527340 Flushing, NY 11352-7340 .
Please write down your E-MAIL address & PHONE no. on the BACK of the check.
Life membership is $1,000; Family (2 voters) is $50; Basic Membership is $35; Student membership is $15.

Thursday, June 21, 2007

Good News - Perfect Answers From Presidential Candidates

By S. B. Woo, Immediate Past President

Presidential candidates Joe Biden and Chris Dodd, senators both, have just answered Yes/Yes/Yes/Yes/Yes/Yes to 80-20's questionnaire. To see 80-20's questionnaire & their signed replies, go http://www.80-20initiative.net/preselect2008.html

What if ALL presidential candidates will do so? It will mean

(A) The next U.S. President will have promised to enforce Executive Order 11246 to break the glass ceilings for Asian Ams.

Benefit? Within 10 years, the number of AsAm managers/ executives/ administrators will double. Specifically, there will be about 150,000 ADDITIONAL Asian Ams promoted to the manager level or higher in private industries; about 5000 more AsAms promoted to department chairs or higher in universities; and about 400 more AsAms promoted to Senior Executive Service (SES) in the Federal government.

(B) The next U.S. President will nominate more AsAm judges until the number of AsAm Federal judges will triple in 4 years.

Result? Besides the EXISTING 6 AsAm Federal judges who are all at the lowest District Court level, there will be about 20 AsAm Federal judges, some serving at the higher Appeals Court level. Even an AsAm Supreme Court justice could be in the mix. Benefit? A better chance at equal justice for us with AsAm judges in higher courts available to appeals!

A rising tide raises all ships. The additional income & influence of having 2 times more managers/CEOs/administrators will generate huge ripples benefiting ALL AsAms. The economic benefits will spread from merchants in Korean/ Indian/ Japan/ China/ Vietnam -towns to everyone whose livelihood is connected to those towns. The socio-political benefit will help our youngsters fight higher admission bars. Above all, it will mean that Asian Americans have finally established the GROUP political clout to achieve EQUAL opportunity & justice for ourselves.

Don't forget that Senator Biden is also the Chair of the Foreign Relations Comm. Senator Dodd is also the Chair of the Comm. on Banking, Housing and Urban Affairs. Donate and volunteer for them! Go http://www.joebiden.com/home & http://www.chrisdodd.com/home

The above replies are the beginning. Many more perfect replies will come, before the primaries of 2008. However, YOU must hold the line:

Do NOT give any of the presidential candidates ANY support until he/she has answered 80-20's questionnaire satisfactorily.

Don't shortchange your children's chance to live to the maximum of their potentials. Urge all candidates to reply to 80-20 ASAP.

What is 80-20's secret in getting such perfect answers from presidential candidates? Your bloc vote! TOGETHER, we shall overcome.

Join 80-20. Get involved in the historic struggle. 80-20 needs your leadership, support and money to fight. Using a credit card, visit
http://www.80-20initiative.net/membership.html+(easy to use) or
http://www.80-20initiative.net/paypal.html

PERSONAL checks are payable to "80-20 PAC", mailed to:
Jing-Li Yu Treasurer
P.O. Box 527340 Flushing, NY 11352-7340

Please write down your E-MAIL address & PHONE no. on the BACK of the check. Life membership is $1,000; Family (2 voters) is $50; Basic Membership is $35; Student membership is $15.

Wednesday, June 13, 2007

Joint Statement of the Asian American Community Opposing the Senate’s Proposed Elimination of Family Reunification Immigration Categories

80-20 Initiative, Inc.
Asian Law Caucus
Cambodian Community Development, Inc.
Chinese for Affirmative Action
Chinese Progressive Association
Korean Community Center of the East Bay
Organization for Justice & Equality
Southeast Asian Community Center
Traditional Family Coalition

Issued in San Francisco on June 12, 2007

We are pleased that the U.S. Senate has at least temporarily stepped back from its unprecedented attack on the basic rights of American citizens with close family members overseas. Since 1965, the law has recognized the importance and integrity of families and has given citizens the right to sponsor a limited number of family members’ immigration, in most cases after a lengthy waiting period. But Senate Amendment 1150 to S. 1348 would strip American citizens of their ability to sponsor any child who has reached age 21, as well as any siblings. The same proposal would also introduce a lengthy waiting period for citizens sponsoring their own parents. Not only would the plan eliminate most of the existing categories of family reunification, it would unfairly do so retroactively by canceling sponsorship applications that American citizens have already filed and paid for.

This proposal (part of the so-called “grand bargain” on immigration reform) did not go through the normal Senate committee process. It originated in the White House in March as part of a massive rewriting of U.S. immigration laws, and was fleshed out in closed-door negotiations in May by a small group of Republican and Democratic senators, including Sen. Dianne Feinstein.

We believe that the bill as presently written would needlessly sacrifice the rights of millions of American citizens and that the basic framework of the proposal is deeply flawed. Thus, the current bill is unacceptable and should be rejected. There has not been any major amendment to restore family reunion categories so far, the most important ones towards this direction including amendments by Clinton, Obama, and Menendez, have all been blocked. The first two by procedural tactics. We are concerned that under the current circumstances with the passage of some other amendments, the final bill may be even harsher and more unacceptable.

We believe that this pause in the immigration debate should be used to reconsider the structure of the bill. We strongly urge legislators to abandon this effort to eliminate family immigration categories, and we will not forget those in Congress of either party who vote to deny Americans our cherished right to reunite with our families. We urge all Americans to voice your strong objections to this inhumane, unjust, and anti-family proposal and its devastating consequences, and to act for the betterment of American families and our country itself by immediately contacting your Senators.

Call (202) 224-3121 and ask to be connected to your Senators.

Please sign the online petition to stop the elimination of family reunion categories at:
http://www.80-20initiative.net/petition.html

You can send a free fax to your Senator at www.asianlawcaucus.org

Wednesday, June 06, 2007

The 21st Century Asian Americans

By Amy Wong Mok, Vice President, The 80-20 Initiative

About one month ago, I was interviewed by a young college student for his journalism class project. His focus was on the “The 21st-Century Asian Americans.”

I shared with him the following observations which I believe to be important for us as a community to deal with present issues and to face challenges in the future. Let us remember that we Asian Americans have made many contributions to the U.S. from as far back as the 16th century when Filipino immigrants first landed on Oct. 18, 1587, in Morro Bay, California. (** See Footnote.)

Subsequent waves of immigration from every country in Asia have all labored hard to build this great nation of ours, and almost always under harsh conditions and against incredible odds.

The single important lesson that we can draw from this history is that we have been lagging far behind in developing and grooming the civic and political leadership that will give us a voice in the body politics. Unless we succeed in doing so, Asian Americans will stay in the margins of American society, despite our relative success in the economic arena.

If history is a guide, success in the economic arena alone has never proved to be a safeguard against discriminations and greater calamities in times of stress. Only our own complacency can ignore this lesson. Let us do a mental exercise of drawing up a roadmap for the next 100 years. To develop and groom effective civic and political leadership among our community should be our top priority. Let us start with our young. Most of our children participate in mainstream activities but is their vision expansive enough?

I recently had a conversation with an Asian American high-school senior who attends an affluent high school. He wanted to volunteer at our community events to earn the community service hours. To help decide what he can best do for the community, I asked him about his future plan; he told me that he has decided to study business instead of attending medical school even though his father is a medical doctor because he wants to make money. There is certainly nothing wrong with wanting to make money, but I want to dig deeper. To understand his vision in life, I asked him what he would do with his money. He replied, “Of course, I would have to reinvest to make more money instead of putting them in the bank”. I pressed again, “What if you have $500M and money enough to last for 3 or 4 lifetimes, what would you do with your money?” He replied, “I would buy a house and a car for my parents.” I asked again, “What else will you do?” He replied, “Ah, you want me to help others. I will build a first class basket ball gymnasium for other children because I love to play basket ball.”

While it took him a little bit more time to see beyond his immediate self-interest to the wider community interests, I wonder if the conversation around the dinner table at his home ever goes beyond improving one’s own immediate situation to consider the larger social issues that will eventually shape the environment he will live in. I would like to believe that this young man’s response is an isolated case and is not the norm.

Paradox in Human Psychology

To help our children to think beyond their own self-interest and take part in solving the social ills is to help them take ownership of their community. It gives them confidence to expand their vision to include the interests of others. This is the beginning of building leadership skills and it requires examples from adults in their lives. Nobody would want to follow a person who cares only about his own immediate self-interests.

There is a paradox in human psychology that is sometimes overlooked in the pursuit of rampant individualism: We thrive best in a supportive and thriving community, but a supportive and thriving community is best built by people who are truly empathetic of the welfare of others in the community. If we want to thrive as individuals, we can thrive best by wanting to thrive not only as individuals but also as a community (or as my computer-scientist husband likes to put it: self-interest is recursively defined).

Thriving as a community is about empathy. While empathy is ultimately not taught, it can be inspired first by parents, teachers and friends. This is the wisdom about human nature from my Eastern heritage that I think will serve all of us well. The essential characteristics in leadership are abilities, commitment and generosity.

We have many able members in our community but only a small number of true leaders who have the staying power when the going is tough. The leaders must have the courage to dig their heels and are willing to do the hard work and expect no recognition for getting the job done. The development of such characteristic traits requires both discipline and determination to own up to their responsibilities for the common good. To find pleasure and pride to serve others requires generosity that flows from empathy, and that is what makes a good leader.

Leadership requires trust from those being led. The most important strength in leadership is integrity and true leadership has to be challenged and tested. It requires a strong leader to be able to choose community interest at the expense of one’s own welfare when the need arises. A leader must be able to separate the difference between doing things right and doing the right things. Sometimes, a leader has to be willing to stand alone, sitting on his/her integrity and feel comfortable about making the hard choices. It is simply a demonstration of grace under fire.

I have faith in our future generations. I have no doubt that they are capable of becoming great leaders. As parents and elders, we have to help them identify with great leaders from different communities and to help them develop a great vision for their future. We must help them sharpen their skills, give them opportunity to experience the joy of serving others, tapping into their generous spirit and let them have the confidence to take on the challenge to make this country more just and fair.

Two Challenges

It is the mission of 80-20 to work for equality and justice for all Asian Americans. We will achieve our mission by strengthening our collective voice, by creating a block vote to actively participate in the political process.

We are working on the following two challenges as our immediate focus:

1. Increase the number of Asian American federal judicial appointments. To represent fairly the Asian American population in adequate proportion, we should have 39 Asian American federal court judges. We now have only 6, a big gap to narrow down.

2. Increase the number of Asian American executives in public and private establishments in compliance with Executive Order 11246 that was signed by President Johnson in 1965 to ensure the number of minority and women in executive positions in colleges/universities, government agencies and private businesses. Asian Americans have been left out in the enforcement of EO11246, in violation of federal law.

Once again, I urge you to take your children to vote, to attend your precinct meeting and let them witness your participation to the discussion about different social issues. Most importantly, let them experience the political process and help them to identify with great leaders, starting with their parents who show them integrity, empathy and commitment to work hard for the common interest.

Introduce your children to the 80-20 Initiative.

1. Upgrade the status of your membership to the level that is comfortable to you.

2. Recruit and/or pay for the dues of at least one new member. (Basic membership is only $35 a year)

3. Participate in the local and national political process.

Please act now by connecting to www.80-20initiative.net

Any US citizen or permanent resident can join 80-20 TODAY.

Using a credit card,
please visithttp://www.80-20initiative.net/membership.html (easy to use) or
http://www.80-20initiative.net/paypal.html

PERSONAL checks are payable to "80-20 PAC", mailed to:
Jing-Li Yu, Treasurer
P.O. Box 527340 Flushing, NY 11352-7340
Please write down your E-MAIL address & PHONE no. on the BACK of the check.

Life membership is $1,000; Family Membership (2 voters) is $50; Basic Membership is $35; Student membership is $15. Thank you.

** Footnote: "It has come to my attention that there is
a dispute about the historicity of the earliest landing date of Filipino immigrants to North America. What is without dispute is that Asian immigrants from many countries have had a long history of monumental contributions to the United States. We deservedly take pride in their achievements and hold our heads high in front of all the other nationalities as contributors to the building of this great nation."
 

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