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Media Release: Announcing Family Acceptance Campaign & Workshop Tour

MEDIA RELEASE
For More Information, Contact: Jay Blotcher, 845-612-9837, jay@publicimpactpr.com or Alan Klein, 917-720-4017, alan@publicimpactpr.com

Asian Parents Throw a Lifeline to their LGBTQ Children in Powerful, New Asian Family Acceptance Campaign

NQAPIA announces first-ever LGBTQ-positive ads to air on major Asian television networks, backed by multi-city Asian Family Acceptance workshop tour


A news conference will be held on Tuesday, May 17 in NYC followed
by a VIP Reception. Watch the events live-streaming via Meerkat
on Twitter at 5:30 p.m. and again at 6:30 p.m. Eastern Time.


NEW YORK CITY — Following on the heels of Friday’s historic decision by the U.S. Department of Justice and the U.S. Department of Education that Title IX of the Civil Rights Act protects transgender students from discrimination in educational settings, NQAPIA will announce a groundbreaking family acceptance campaign designed to bridge the cultural divide that prevents Asian American, South Asian, Southeast Asian, and Pacific Islander (API) children from coming out to their parents. In contrast to the western dynamic, API parents are now opening the closet door for their children.

NQAPIA’s new Asian Family Acceptance Campaign includes a landmark series of emotionally-moving television ads, entitled “Family Is Still Family,” plus a series of in-person workshops around the country, presented by API parents of LGBTQ children. The ads will run for the first time on major international Asian television networks in the U.S. during June for LGBT Pride Month.

A special news conference will unveil these powerful television ads and introduce API and LGBTQ parents and children who will share their stories of heartbreak and triumph. The news conference will take place on Tuesday, May 17 in New York City.

Watch the press conference via Meerkat on Twitter live-streaming at 5:30ET/2:30PT p.m. and again at 6:30ET/3:30PT p.m. The earlier broadcast will be a shortened, 30-minute press conference. The later broadcast will be a longer, 60-minute program where parents and young people will tell their full stories of love, acceptance, and struggle.

Credentialed reporters can listen-in on the press conference by dialing into a conference line: Dial-in number: 1-866-214-4423. Participant code: 9572933#. This line is reserved only for representatives of the news media. Download the NQAPIA Family Is Still Family Media Kit here.

API LGBT youth face unique obstacles to coming out, including the fear of shaming and dishonoring their parents and ancestors. These cultural obstacles often lead to self-loathing, depression, and suicide. NQAPIA’s revolutionary multilingual “Family Is Still Family” advertising campaign removes the specter of shame, silence, and guilt by having parents open the closet door for their kids, offering unconditional love and acceptance. These life-affirming messages are presented in English, Chinese (Mandarin and Cantonese dialects), Hindi, Korean, Japanese, Vietnamese, Lao, and Tagalog.

Multilingual PSAs
“For generations, a culture of shame and misinformation has kept Asian American youth in the closet,” said Glenn Magpantay, Executive Director of NQAPIA. “Our new Asian Family Acceptance Campaign will break this cycle of shame and suicide by helping API parents, many who are immigrants and bilingual, to open the door to unconditional love and acceptance for their LGBT children.”

The “Family Is Still Family” TV ad campaign will run in June (LGBT Pride Month). The ads are scheduled to air on:

  • SinoVision (Chinese) June 1 to June 7
  • Television Korea 24 (TVK) June 8 to June 14
  • StarTV (South Asian) June 15 to June 21
  • Mnet (Music channel based in South Korean) – ongoing from now to end of June

A different ethnic ad in each language will run each week during June. More placements are still being secured and will be announced shortly

The following API parents and children will share their stories at the May 17 news conference:

  • Joanne Lee: Mother of Skylar, a trans teen in Wisconsin who committed suicide because he felt he lacked family support
  • Pastor Danilo Cortez: A Southern Baptist minister from Los Angeles who works to change anti-LGBT church policy; father of a gay son
  • Marsha Aizumi: Mother of trans son from Pasadena
  • Kham Moua: Gay man and survivor of conversion therapy ordered by his parents
  • Tevin Ith: Out-of-closet college student and member of PrYSM, a queer Southeast Asian and youth of color organization

Chinese PSA
Supporting the PSA campaign is an innovative twelve-city tour of Asian Family Acceptance Workshops, beginning in May, led by parents who appear in the NQAPIA ad campaign. The workshops will offer culturally appropriate peer-support and practical steps to empower API parents to support their LGBTQ children in the coming-out process. Host cities will include Washington, DC; New York City; Chicago; Philadelphia; Atlanta; New Orleans, Seattle; Boston; and San Diego, among others.


NQAPIA thanks the generous support of the Arcus Foundation, David Bohnett Foundation, API Dream Team Giving Circle, CJ Huang Foundation, Asian Pride Project, PFLAG, GSA Network, Advocates for Youth, and Media Sponsor Comcast/NBC Universal.

# # #

#RedefineSecurity Week of Action

Media Release: Immigrants’ Rights are LGBT Rights

MEDIA RELEASE 
For Immediate Release: Friday, March 4, 2016
For More Information, Contact: Glenn Magpantay, 917-439-3158, glenn_magpantay@nqapia.org

LGBT Groups File Amicus Brief at U.S. Supreme Court for Immigrants’ Rights
“Immigrants’ Rights are LGBT Rights”

Washington, DC. Today, the National Queer Asian Pacific Islander Alliance (NQAPIA), with the pro bono assistance of McDermott Will & Emery LLP, filed an amicus (“friend of the court”) brief in the U.S. Supreme Court in the case U.S. v Texas. The case challenged President Obama’s Executive Actions on immigration, which expanded the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program and created a new Deferred Action for Parental Accountability (DAPA) program.

The programs could help up to 5 million undocumented immigrants, including 400,000 Asians, to be free from deportation and again work authorization. Lower courts suspended the programs. The programs would specifically benefit undocumented immigrants over 30-years-old who entered the United States as minors (expanded DACA) and undocumented parents of citizen and legal permanent resident children (DAPA).

Tony speaking in New York

Standing in front of the New York Supreme Court,
DACA recepient Tony Choi speaks out against US v TX

NQAPIA’s brief informs the U.S. Supreme Court of the special concerns of lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) Asian Americans, South Asians, Southeast Asians, and Pacific Islanders (API). An estimated 267,000 undocumented immigrants are LGBT, of which a disproportionate share are API.

According to Glenn D. Magpantay, NQAPIA Executive Director, “The Supreme Court is extremely supportive of LGBT people, and we aim to show how immigration laws and policies have a direct impact on the lives of LGBT people.” He continued, “We also lift up the voices of Asian Pacific Islanders to demonstrate the ethnic diversity of undocumented immigrants.”

The brief draws up the Court’s reasoning in Obergefell v. Hodges, where Justice Kennedy ruled that the Constitution protects same-sex couples to legally marry. The brief discusses the human dignity of LGBT people and the protection of children of LGBT parents. Where the Court holds that same-sex marriage protects LGBT families, NQAPIA argues that the expanded DACA and DAPA programs also protect LGBT families. Family is especially strong among Asian Pacific Islanders.

NQAPIA’s brief highlights the stories of LGBT Asian immigrants:

  • Sandra Meetran is a 16-year-old student in Rhode Island. She is a citizen, but when her father was deported to Laos when she was young, it made her coming out much more challenging. Her family would have benefitted from DAPA.
  • Jose Antonio Vargas is a 34-year-old, Pulitzer-prize winning journalist, filmmaker, and media producer. Jose is undocumented and entered the U.S. when he was 12 from the Philippines. Because he is now over 30, he is ineligible to apply for deferred action from deportation, but he could apply for the expanded DACA.
  • Tony Choi is a 24-year-old, gay, Korean undocumented beneficiary of the original DACA program (for those under 30) from New Jersey. In 2010, his options were to live a closeted life taking care of this mother with cancer or return to Korea where his LGBT identity would subject him to harsh hazing for two years in the mandatory military service. He successfully applied for DACA and has helped dozens of other undocumented youth apply for DACA and continued fighting against deportations.

These stories demonstrate how the expanded DACA and DAPA programs protects LGBT APIs from harassment, discrimination and hardship.

The brief shows how the lower court’s suspension of the programs place LGBT families in extremely difficult circumstances. Undocumented LGBT parents and children must (a) return to their home countries where LGBT people are persecuted, jailed, and even sentenced to death, or (b) parents must leave the United States and abandon their children without any or minimal family support. The expanded DACA and DAPA programs allow undocumented LGBT individuals and LGBT individuals with undocumented family members to stay in the U.S. and keep families together.

Joining NQAPIA as co-signers to the brief are variety of LGBT organizations from various regions of the county, various ethnicities, allies, youth, and transgender groups:

Local LGBT Asian/South Asian Organizations 
Asian Pacific Islander Pride of Portland
Gay Asian and Pacific Islander Men of New York
Gay Asian Pacific Alliance – San Francisco hotpot! Philadelphia
Queer Asian Pacific-Islander Alliance (QAPA) Boston
SALGA-NYC
United Territories of Pacific Islanders Alliance (UTOPIA) Seattle

Local Organizations 
API Chaya – Seattle
Bay Area Lawyers for Individual Freedom (BALIF)
Familia: Trans Queer Liberation Movement – Los Angeles
New York City Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender Community Center
Vietnamese American Young Leaders Association (VAYLA) – New Orleans

National LGBT Organizations 
Immigration Equality
National Center for Transgender Equality
National LGBTQ Task Force
PFLAG National
Services and Advocacy for GLBT Elders (SAGE)
Southerners On New Ground (SONG)
The Trevor Project
Transgender Law Center

The filing of the amicus brief follows up on NQAPIA’s National Week of Action on Immigrants’ Rights in April 2015 in a dozen cities and local protests against the US v. Texas lawsuit in New Orleans and New York City.

# # #

Fact Sheet: Deportation

Stop the Deportation of Our Communities

For the last two decades, the federal government has been pursuing an enforcement-first approach to immigration that prioritizes mandatory detention and deportation. The Obama administration is no exception: President Obama has deported more than 2 million individuals, and this number continues to rise. In November 2014, President Obama announced an Executive Order that expands relief beyond DACA to provide nearly 5 million people administrative relief from deportation. This expansion is being challenged in courts and therefore delayed in launch. Even with this relief, millions of families will be left out and still face separation and deportation. The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) has intensified raids in immigrant communities, deporting thousands of community members, some of whom qualify for relief.

The impact on Southeast Asian refugee communities is often neglected in this massive deportation machine. In response to this, NQAPIA stands firm to elevate the grassroots work of our Southeast Asian partnersPrYSM, Freedom Inc, and SOYall part of the Southeast Asian Freedom Network (SEAFN), as they launch an international human rights campaign to end US deportations to Cambodia. 2015 marks 40 years since Southeast Asian refugees were displaced by militarism and war and began resettlement in the US. Decades later, people are being deported back to countries they fled or have never stepped foot in.

Timeline

Timeline Chanravy Proeung, National Organizer of SEAFN, stated, “We have been rooted in an intergenerational struggle over the last five decades to keep our families together against unjust forces of US militarism, war, systemic poverty, education inequity, imprisonment, institutionalized racism, discrimination, and deportation. With over 500 Cambodian-American families broken apart since 2002, and over 4000 more awaiting the same fate, our human rights fight today, is deportation.” NQAPIA calls for an end to deportations under the Cambodian Repatriation Act and to all countries until the U.S. implements human and civil rights for all communities.

Resources

NQAPIA Info-graph:

www.nqapia.org/infographics-on-immigration-riseupnqapia/

deportation infographic

Uncovering Our Stories: Linda Khoy

“My parents are from Cambodia and fled to America to escape the genocide that took place in the 80s. They both legally arrived here with my older sister, who was barely one at the time. Lundy was born in a Thai refugee camp during the war. I came into their lives under a year later and my brother soon after. Aside from me being gay, I never knew that I was different from my parents or my sister. I knew they carried with them a card that read “Permanent Resident Alien,” and later we soon discovered that there is a huge difference between being a US citizen and a green card holder. We grew up in a very strict household and my parents did the best they could with raising Asian American children, keeping the Cambodian values while trying to adapt the American way. When Lundy was barely 19 years old, while she was in college and in her experimental phase like most college kids, she made a mistake by carrying a few ecstasy pills for her and her friends. Her honesty that our parents instilled in us changed the course of her future. She is 32 years old now, and due to the lack of judicial discretion that immigrations judges have, her mistake is considered an aggravated felony, which is an automatic ground for deportation if you are not a US citizen to a country she has never set foot in.” Read Linda and Lundy’s story.

Other Resources

Community Conversations

South Asians Demand Immigrant RightsWe want to concentrate our conversation on the deportation of Southeast Asian communities. The following are videos that are strong conversation starters, along with questions to guide your conversation.

Videos

One Love Movement Rally, 2011 Deported Diaspora, 2009 Providence Youth Student Movement, 2003

Questions

  1. Given the example of SEAFN in needing to understand the root causes of deportation in order to build grassroots movement against it… What do you believe are the root causes of deportation in your community?
  2. The criminalization of Southeast Asians in the U.S. pushed our communities into the deportation pipeline. What are other ways that people in your community get trapped into deportation proceedings?
  3. Deportation is part of a larger narrative of forced Southeast Asian migration, beginning with the onset of wars in Southeast Asia. How does militarism and imperialism affect the migration of your communities to the United States?
  4. SEAFN and the movement against Cambodian deportation was started by Southeast Asian queer folks and women. What role do you see queer and trans APIs play in the struggle for just immigration policies?

Sign the Petition to End Deportations Here!

Southeast Asian Freedom Network logo Southeast Asian Freedom Network (SEAFN) is a national collective of Southeast Asian grassroots groups working towards radical and transformational change led by those most impacted by systemic injustice.

 

Download the NQAPIA & SEAFN End Deportation Fact Sheet.

Fact Sheet: Detention

End Immigration Detention for Vulnerable People

Violations of immigration laws are a civil violation, and those in violation are detained in detention facilities as non-criminals. The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) is responsible for immigrant detention facility, though over 67% of people detained are housed in county prisons, city prisons, and private facilities. Many in detention facilities face poor conditions and have no due process rights. Many undocumented and documented people in detention centers have been in the U.S. for years.

Under the November 2014 Executive Order on immigration, DHS issued a memo emphasizing the discretion DHS enforcement agencies have in detaining individuals. Under this memo, vulnerable communities should be considered for alternatives to detention. Yet, LGBTQI individuals, families, survivors of torture, asylum seekers, pregnant women, victims of human trafficking, and other vulnerable people continue to be detained.

Detention CenterNQAPIA is especially concerned with trans* folks who continue to be marginalized and made especially vulnerable in immigration detention centers. Most centers continue to house individuals according to sex, making violence and abuse a daily reality for trans* folks. Some centers see solitary confinement as a way to protect individuals, but in reality, such treatment subjects them to inhumane mental and emotional conditions. Cells designated specifically for trans* folks are still very far in between, forcing individuals to be detained far from their families and support systems. We must stop to the expansion of detention centers, and end detention for vulnerable communities, including the LGBT community. 

Resources

NQAPIA Info-graph

www.nqapia.org/infographics-on-immigration-riseupnqapia/

detention_infographic_edited_low

#Not1More Campaign: Nicoll Hernandez-Polanco

#Not1More #FreeNicoll “Nicoll Hernandez-Polanco (A# 089 841 646), a transgender woman from Guatemala, is currently being  detained in the all-male wing of ICE’s Florence Service Processing Detention facility in Florence, Arizona.  Nicoll came to the United States seeking asylum in October 2014 because she was the target of violent attacks,  constant harassment, and discrimination in her country of origin. Unfortunately, at the hands of ICE, Nicoll is  now being subjected to the same treatment she seeks protection from.

In her first month in detention, Nicoll was patted down 6-8 times a day by male guards, who Nicoll reported  would grope her breasts and buttocks, make offensive sexual comments and gestures, and sometimes pull her  hair. In addition to physically harassing Nicoll, ICE staff routinely verbally abuse her. She has been called  “stupid,” and “the woman with balls” in front of other detained immigrants.”

Read more about Nicoll’s case.

Sign the petition to demand her release.

Other Resources

Community Conversations

Many Southeast Asians, Pacific Islanders, South Asians, and Asians are targeted and caught in immigration detention facilities that are a part of the prison industrial complex. We do not have many stories or data of AAPI communities in immigration detention, but we know there are community members in the system. It is important for our queer AAPI communities to discuss these issues, so we can support all people unfairly detained and uncover stories of our community members in immigration detention facilities.

Start your discussion with stories, cases, videos, and reports from our resources section. Humanize the reality of LGBTQI folks in detention.

Sample Questions

  1. If you watch a video or share a story, ask people how they feel with what they saw or heard.
  2. Have people been in or heard of those who have been in immigration detention centers? If so, have people share whatever they feel comfortable sharing.
  3. Have you heard of the prison industrial complex? What does this term mean to you? Do you agree that it exists? Why or why not?
  4. How does immigration detention and/or the prison industrial complex impact your community?
  5. What can be done locally to fight the prison industrial complex including immigration detention?

Sign the Petition to End Immigration Detention Here.

Download the NQAPIA End Immigration Detention Fact Sheet

Fact Sheet: Racial Profiling

End the use of racial and religious profiling

Our communities have been the targets of profiling by law enforcement based on various dimensions and intersections of our social identities. Under the immigration enforcement regime, South Asian, Middle Eastern, Muslim, and Southeast Asian communities have continued to be especially vulnerable, being subject to unjust profiling based on race, religion, and national origin—real and perceived.

DHS logoThe Department of Justice Guidance for Federal Law Enforcement Agencies Regarding the Use of Race, Ethnicity, Gender, National Origin, Religion, Sexual Orientation, or Gender Identity is an attempt at a guideline for federal law enforcement agencies to curtail rampant profiling. Citing the routine reason of protecting national and border security, Customs and Border Protection (CBP) and Transportation Security Administration (TSA), among several others, are exempt from these guidelines. This exemption continues to give license to some of the most egregious, profile-based policing in our country, including the targeting of our community as perceived “terrorists” and “gang members.” This deprives already vulnerable communities of their civil liberties, and opens the doors to massive detention and deportation.

Many Muslim communities also face profiling within the immigration visa processing. Individuals are profiled by their last names and country of origin and put through extra screening and interviews, resulting in backlogs in the immigration system. There is no space for compromise; we need clear policies that hold all agencies accountable for their unconstitutional profiling practices and demand action on all complaints of improper profiling in the immigration system. There is no space for compromise; end racial and religious profiling for all communities. Close the loopholes in the  DOJ Guidance for Federal Law Enforcement Agencies Regarding the Use of Race, Ethnicity, Gender, National Origin, Sexual Orientation or Gender Identity that allow DHS, CBP, and TSA to continue profiling.

What is Racial Profiling?

Racial profiling is when police or government agents use race, ethnicity, national origin, or religion to decide whom to stop, question, or arrest. Racial profiling is humiliating, harmful, and makes us less safe. Here are some of the ways racial profiling is used today:

  • CriminalizationWar on Drugs: For the past 40 years, Black, Latino, and Southeast Asian people have been targeted by police under the “War on Drugs,” even though studies consistently show that white people are just as likely (or more likely) to use and sell drugs.
  • War on Terror: Since September 11, 2001, members of Arab, Muslim, and South Asian communities have increasingly been searched, interrogated, detained, and deported by Department of Homeland Security (DHS), the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), Transportation Security Administration (TSA), and local police in the name of “national security.”
  • Criminalizing Immigrants: Members of immigrant communities are targeted by police under the guise of immigration enforcement. State laws like Arizona’s SB1070 and collaborations between Immigration Customs and Enforcement (ICE) and local police encourage racial profiling.

RESOURCES

Uncovering Our Stories: Maya Jafer

Maya Jafer“I was born and raised in the south of India in Madurai, Tamil Nadu with my parents, older brother and younger sister. I was born into a very religious Muslim family. My parents gave me the name Mohammed Gulam Hussain though now, as a post-operative transsexual female, I am Maya Jafer. My journey to the US began in 2000, at the age of 30, when I moved to Seattle on an F-1 student visa to complete my second doctorate in Natural Medicine. The past decade has been a tremendous struggle for me. Though I entered this country legally, I faced intense discrimination as a Muslim in the post-9/11 world. My last name—Hussain—did not help, and I often dealt with interrogations concerning my perceived (and false) association with Saddam Hussein. I often wished for stronger protections against this profiling and discrimination in immigration and law enforcement.”

Read Maya’s story at www.nqapia.org/uncovering-our-stories-maya-jafer

Other Resources

Community Conversations

#blacklivesmatterQueer Asian, South Asian, Southeast Asian, and Pacific Islander communities face forms of profiling. However, at this time with the horrendous police killings of Black people in the US, it is important to focus on how Black lives are targeted by the police. We must work in solidarity as AAPI communities to support Black communities.

All over the country, numerous trans* folks of color have also been profiled and killed by police officers; increased community raids in immigrant communities profile “undocumented” and so called “dangerous” immigrants; and Islamophobia has heighted hate crimes with profiling of South Asian and Muslim community members.

Take advantage of the Week of Action to connect the issues and focus on the impact of profiling in your area. We recommend you start by sharing stories, watching a film, or talking about current cases in your community. Use the resources provided in this factsheet or videos in the “Other Resources” section to start a dialogue, and use the questions below to guide your discussion.

Sample Questions

  1. If you watch a video or share a story, ask people how they feel with what they saw or heard.
  2. What are your personal experiences with racial and/or religious profiling? Have you been profiled or witnessed profiling? How did it make you feel?
  3. Through media and social media the world has witnessed the killing of Mike Brown, Eric Garner, Tony Robinson and countless others who have lost their lives to police profiling and brutality. How has your community reacted to the loss of these innocent lives?
  4. Does colorism/racism in our Asian (American) communities impact the systematic use of racial profiling by police officers? If so, how? If not, why not?
  5. What experiences does the community-at-large have with profiling? How does this impact your queer AAPI community?
  6. Does profiling fit into the larger system of detention and/or deportation of people of color? If so, how? If not, why not?
  7. What are some solutions to racial and religious profiling in your community?
  8. Are there ways you can act locally to stop racial and religious profiling in your community? How can you support current efforts?

Sign the Petition to End Racial and Religious Profiling HERE!

Download the NQAPIA End Racial Profiling Fact Sheet.