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.

Yin-Long (YQ) Qiu

Kathleen To

Jing-Li Yu

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.
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.

Kathleen To
Co-coordinator, 80-20PAC

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. 
Kathleen To
Co-Coordinator, 80-20 PAC
Yin-Long (YQ) Qiu
Co-Coordinator, 80-20PAC
Jing-Li Yu
Treasurer, 80-20PAC
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
President, Educators Society for Heritage of India (ESHA) ईशा