Saturday, May 20, 2017

I am not a token Republican!

An Insider's View of 80-20

Before I joined the board of 80-20, I was told that this was a group of Democrats. And that I would be the token Republican who will give the organization a bipartisan facade. Given the hyper-partisan nature of our current political climate, it is understandable that many see politics as an us-against-them, no-holes-barred, zero sum, contact sport. 

After attending two board meetings and getting to know some of my fellow board members, I am very pleased to discover that 80-20 consists of civic minded citizens who all want to make America better for everyone. This is not a board beholden to any political party. We are ready and willing to work with members of all parties on the part of their agenda that are also consistent with our vision.
During the board meetings, we discussed a wide range of issues. We talked about how Asian Americans are systemically discriminated against in the college admission process. We talked about how best to unite recent immigrants and long-established Asian American communities. And we talked about strategies to elect public servants who can adequately represent the interests of the communities they seek to represent, and more importantly, how to keep those politicians honest in fulfilling that obligation.
Today, the diverse and growing communities of Asian Americans, while thriving, are still facing many institutional and social obstacles. Some of these issues must be solved with education and outreach, other issues will require strategic political involvement and activism. With 80-20, we are confident that we can build a strong team that will contribute much to that shared mission. We welcome you to the team, too.

Sincerely,
George Yang 
Board of Directors, 80-20PAC
San Francisco Bay Regional President, California Congress of Republicans
County Captain, Republican Presidential Campaign, 2016
Vice Chair, South Peninsula Area Republican Coalition, 2013
Republican National Delegate, 2012
Former CEO of ETA Tech, Inc. in El Monte, California

Friday, May 12, 2017

Our Journey Is Not Over

How did we come to America?
According to a comprehensive nationwide survey published by the Pew Research Center in 2012: "Asian Americans are the highest-income, best-educated and fastest-growing racial group in the United States. They are more satisfied than the general public with their lives, finances and the direction of the country, and they place more value than other Americans do on marriage, parenthood, hard work and career success."
Asians didn't come to this country as students in elite universities, nor did they get their first jobs as professors, doctors and high-tech engineers. In fact, many came as laborers to work on the
Intercontinental Railroad. Others worked long and hard for pittances at unrewarding, menial jobs. In 1882, the U.S. Congress passed the Chinese Exclusion Act, and it was not until 1965, when the Hart-Celler Act was passed, that Asians (and some other minority groups) were allowed to immigrate to the US in significant numbers, to then become US Citizens.
In spite of the glowing description of Asian American successes by the Pew Report, Asian Americans have not reached parity with other racial and ethnic groups. There is still a "bamboo ceiling" over our heads in the corporate, academic, political and judicial worlds, and we are not as well organized to "empower" ourselves as other ethnic minorities.
This is the reason for the existence of the 80-20 PAC. We are a national, nonpartisan, Political Action Committee dedicated to winning equal opportunity and justice for all Asian Americans through a SWING bloc vote, ideally directing 80% of our community's votes and money to the presidential candidate endorsed by the 80-20 who better represents the interests of all APAs. 
Our mission is clear. 80-20 will work hard to educate and promote voter participation, encourage our members to participate in and contribute to APA communities, and to participate as a united voting block to break the "bamboo ceiling." We cannot succeed without your enthusiastic support and your contributions. The more members we have, the greater our political leverage.
Sincerely,
Joel Wong
Board of Directors, 80-20PAC
joelinwong@aol.com


Thursday, May 04, 2017

Fighting Florida's Racist Constitution

Systemic Discrimination in Florida

ASIANS CANNOT OWN LAND/REAL PROPERTY IN FLORIDA

Did you know?
Can you do something about it?
Sure, you Can!

"All natural persons, female and male alike, are equal before the law and have inalienable rights, among which are the right to enjoy and defend life and liberty, to pursue happiness, to be rewarded for industry, to acquire, possess and protect property; except that the ownership, inheritance, disposition and possession of real property by aliens ineligible for citizenship may be regulated or prohibited by law.  No person shall be deprived of any right because of race, religion, national origin, or physical disability."
On the first reading, without paying attention to the underlined part, it looks OK.  But, if you look at the part underlined, which through the definition of Citizenship directly implies Asians, it creates a serious problem.  The Naturalization Act of 1870 limited US Citizenship to "white persons and persons of African descent"  thus effectively barring Asians from citizenship. 
This law is reminiscent of the Alien Land Laws enacted in 1913 in California, prohibiting Koreans to buy or lease farm lands.  This kind of restriction became a countrywide phenomenon where all the States in the union passed similar laws, including Florida in 1926.  Then some sanity prevailed, the California Supreme Court ruled these laws unconstitutional, and states started modifying these restrictions from 1956 onward. New Mexico did away with its restrictions in 2006.  Florida is the only State where these discriminatory and racist laws remain on the books. 
Florida does have a provision to revisit its Constitution with a view to revising it, every twenty years, through a Constitutional Revision Commission (CRC).    CRC was constituted again in 2017 and has begun its listening tour.
On Thursday, April 6, 2017 a presentation was made to the commission to repeal this law, often known as the Alien Land Law.   80-20 was part of the presentation.  More presentations of this kind are needed to appeal to the good sense of the CRC, emphasizing that such discriminatory & racist laws have no place in a civilized society like the USA.  The residents of the State of Florida can do it by writing to the CRC at admin@flcrc.gov or by making a presentation wherever the CRC is meeting.  Floridian Asians, this is your chance to get it fixed! In fact, for Asians to have a voice, it is essential that they be united.  
One of the easiest ways to do that is by joining 80-20 PAC, where a Volunteer Board keeps an eye on issues that negatively impact the welfare of the Asian Community.
To join 80-20, please follow the previous link, or click on 

 
Sincerely,
Dr. Piyush C. Agrawal
80-20PAC Board Member

Thursday, April 27, 2017

Helping Ourselves

GOD HELPS THOSE WHO HELP THEMSELVES
Recent incidents of hate crimes committed against the Asian Community are stark reminders of past atrocities, racism and discriminatory practices used by the majority in power in this country.

Some of us still remember the Chinese Exclusion Act of 1882, and 1924 Immigration Act denying entry to virtually all Asians.  The case of US vs. Bhagat Singh Thind in 1923 declared Asian Indians ineligible for naturalized citizenship.  The Alien Land Law of 1913 in California and subsequently by all other states declared Asians ineligible to own land. The Japanese internment is still vivid in our memory. The complete list is much longer confirming that Asians have not been treated fairly for a very long time.
The saga of these discriminatory and racist practices continues even in 2017.  The shooting incidents of Indians in Kansas and New Jersey; an Indian CEO not getting a proper treatment because of his skin color.  Since the last incident did not get viral as it was not caught on any smart phone, but was reported by News India Times.  I will add a short detail here: "In a shocking and bizarre incident, a Caucasian female stewardess on a United Airlines flight earlier this year, held the arm of an Indian American CEO, Shankar Iyer, flying on a golf trip from Newark, New Jersey to San Diego, California, and told him, "I normally don't associate this color with such entitlement," adding, after pointing to her arm, "You have to be this color for such things." The retort came after Iyer informed the stewardess he is a Premier 1K member and might be entitled to discounted/complimentary snacks, having ordered a box of pita chips with hummus. The incident happened on January 25, 2017 on flight UA - 1621, from Newark to San Diego."
Likewise, another newspaper India West has reported several such incidents: "Indian Tourist Fatally shot in Yakima" Washington; "Store Burned in Racially Motivated Attack" in North Carolina. It seems like a big conspiracy.  Every entity including government, corporations, and individuals are carrying out these acts.  Why CNN would engage in Hindu bashing by creating a show like BELIEVER which has neither an educational value nor a spiritual one - worse than fake news!
Dear members of the Asian Community, how long do you intend to tolerate this kind of treatment!?  
You cannot fight it alone!!  Even the mother does not feed the child unless he cries!!!
We need to cry now.   Just wake up and join: 
We must face these tragedies together.  United We Stand.
Sincerely,

Dr. Piyush C. Agrawal
80-20PAC Board Member

Thursday, March 30, 2017

Asian Americans and "A More Perfect Union"?

"A More Perfect Union" --
How far are we along?
"We the People of the United States, in Order to form a more perfect Union ..., do ordain and establish this Constitution for the United States of America." So reads the opening paragraph of the US Constitution.
Today, 230 years later, where are we in forming "A More Perfect Union"? Specifically, do we Asian Americans have equal rights and opportunities as compared to our compatriots of other races at work placesin college applicationson federal judge benches ...?
80-20 PAC was founded nearly two decades ago as a Political Action Committee of Asian Americans run by AsAms, and fighting for equal opportunities for all AsAms. For most of the time since its founding, it has been led by Dr. S. B. Woo, former lieutenant governor of Delaware, who, along with a small group of other dedicated volunteers, did most of the work. Now that Dr. Woo has retired from the PAC, a new leadership team is in place to lead us to continue trekking along the journey.
With the dramatic 2016 presidential election closed, and with the ups & downs that go with the announcement of every new Presidential Executive Order, especially those on immigration, our nation is facing a unprecedented level of uncertainty, from travel planning and economic outlook, to race relations. Asian Americans, as the nation's youngest and most rapidly rising group of immigrants, must actively join the effort of building a more perfect union so that we can create a truly ideal multicultural society that every one feels safe, comfortable, and happy to live in. To this end, thousands of you have already joined 80-20 PAC at one time or other. Thank you! And tens and hundreds of thousands need to do the same now. Together, we shall overcome!
Please join or renew your membership, if you are not already a member.
Sincerely,

Yin-Long (YQ) Qiu
Co-Coordinator
yinlongqiu@gmail.com

Kathleen To
Co-Coordinator
kto@tstar.net

Jing-Li Yu
Treasurer
jingliyu@gmail.com

Thursday, March 16, 2017

Defending AsAms in Kansas

80-20 Speaks Out, So Do Others
Last month a terrible shooting occurred in Olathe, Kansas against two Asian American men, legal immigrants from India, in what appears to have been a racially biased attack, killing one man and wounding the other. As the largest AsAm Political Action Committee80-20PAC reacted with a letter to Gov Sam Brownback of Kansas strongly urging that those allegedly responsible be charged under "hate-crime" laws and "racial bias" sentencing, as applicable. 
The Governor's office responded to us with this letter:

I wanted to confirm to you that we received the letter from 80-20 PAC. Thank you for your input, we are on the same page when it comes to encouraging law enforcement to take all appropriate action. It is my understanding that state and local law enforcement are assisting federal counterparts in the investigation. 
This tragedy does not represent the values of the people of Kansas, the Governor and Lt. Governor have condemned the actions of the attacker in the strongest terms, and we've reached out to both the Indian community in Kansas and the Indian government to assure them of our commitment to protecting the lives of all people who come to Kansas to build a life. Feel free to reach out to me with any further comments or concerns.
Best,
Brandon Smith
--
Brandon James Smith
Policy Director
Office of Governor Sam Brownback
Statehouse, Suite 264-W
300 SW 10th Street
Topeka, KS 66612  

In his letter to The Hon. Narendra Modi, Prime Minister of India, Governor Brownback expressed his "deep sadness and profound regret at the terrible act of violence" and acknowledged the "ingenuity, hard work, and determination" of Indian-Kansans. "Our state has thrived because of their contributions," he said.   
We also want to let you know that APAPA, the largest AsAm Civil Rights Organization in California has also sent a letter of concern to Governor Brownback.
Please help us continue to speak out for the Asian American community.
   
Your generous contribution allows our work to continue.

Sincerely,
Kathleen To
Co-coordinator, 80-20PAC
http://www.80-20initiative.net

P.S. For reference, here is a copy of our original letter:

The Honorable Sam Brownback
Governor of Kansas
300 S.W. 10th Street
Topeka, KS 66612
Dear Governor Brownback:
The Asian American community nationwide is shocked by news of the murder of Srinivas Kuchibhotla, and the shootings of Alok Madasani and Ian Grillot.
We write to encourage law enforcement authorities to consider filing all appropriate charges, including murder and hate crimes charges, against the alleged perpetrator of the shootings in order to send a strong message that violence targeting religious or ethnic minorities will not be tolerated.
We write to encourage Kansas investigators to co-operate with the FBI and with US Attorneys as they investigate the shootings. 
We write to encourage the State of Kansas to apply any enhanced sentencing standards appropriate to crimes of "racial bias" should the alleged shooter be found guilty of any crimes in Kansas related to the shooting. 
80-20 PAC is by far the largest Asian American Political Action Committee in the US. We recognize Mr. Kuchibhotla as a family man, a hard-working legal immigrant, a graduate of an American university, and a valued member of his Kansas community. He was the type of person we want to encourage to come to the U.S. Please help send the message that Kansas represents justice, that what happened in Olathe last week will not be tolerated, and that those (alleged) crimes will be prosecuted to the severest extent that law allows. 
Sincerely,
Kathleen To
Co-Coordinator, 80-20 PAC
Yin-Long (YQ) Qiu
Co-Coordinator, 80-20PAC
Jing-Li Yu
Treasurer, 80-20PAC
cc:
The Honorable Stephen M. Howe - Johnson County District Attorney
The Honorable Tom Beall - U.S. Attorney for the District of Kansas
The Honorable Susan Wagle - Kansas Senate President
The Honorable Ron Ryckman - Speaker of the Kansas House of Representatives
The Honorable Roger Marshall - Member of Congress (KS-1)
The Honorable Lynn Jenkins - Member of Congress (KS-2)
The Honorable Kevin Yoder - Member of Congress (KS-3)
The Honorable Jerry Moran - United States Senator
The Honorable Pat Roberts - United States Senator
The Honorable Derek Schmidt - Kansas Attorney General
The Honorable Steven Menke - Chief, Olathe Police Department
The Honorable Ambassador HE Navtej Sarna, Embassy of India, Washington, D.C.
  

Thursday, March 09, 2017

Our take on the Kansas Shooting

Shooting in Kansas
During the election season last year, immigration came up as a hot issue. 
Controlling immigration and flow of illegal aliens is certainly an important responsibility of the federal government. However, since the last elections many closet racist individuals and hate groups have sprung into action. They believe that minorities, whether Jewish, East Asian, South Asian, Middle Eastern or Mexican looking, do not belong to this country. They have been emboldened to question people just based on their skin color or looks.
You must have heard that recently in Kansas one such racist man asked two Indian Engineers (both educated in the US, and legal immigrants) in a bar whether they were illegal aliens. When the manager asked this racist man to leave the bar, he left but came back a little later and opened fire, killing one of the two engineers and injuring the other, while shouting at them "Get out of my country".
Indian American community leaders are vigorously following up on this case with the governor of Kansas and relevant federal agencies. 80-20 PAC has also sent a letter to the governor of Kansas and several other officials to support and demonstrate solidarity with the Indian American community. That letter follows here - for your information.
The Asian American community must remain vigilant in these times and work with other minorities and with the government agencies. Our community is very large and very vulnerable to hate crimes. 
Unfortunately, 80-20 PAC does not have the resources (like Jewish organizations have) to tackle this menace with full force. So here is an urgent appeal to contribute to 80-20 PAC as much as you can, 
     
so that we can retain a law firm and additional staff to be in a position to take appropriate action, as and when necessary. It is crucial that Asian Americans build 80-20 PAC as a strong well financed organization to protect our community in times of need.
Ved P Chaudhary
Ved P. Chaudhary, PhD
Board of Directors, 80-20PAC
http://www.80-20initiative.net
President, Educators Society for Heritage of India (ESHA) ईशा www.ESHAusa.org