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NQAPIA Partners Come to Washington, DC: Bringing the Local Flavor

Photo Caption: NQAPIA partners with staff from the Congressional Asian Pacific American Caucus

 

The flurry of activities in Washington, DC around Asian American/ Pacific Islander (AAPI) Heritage Month continued this week, but took on a distinctly queer tone as local partners from NQAPIA’s network came to the nation’s capital to take part in the action happening here.

NQAPIA board and staff joined representatives from Satrang in Los Angeles, DeQH in Madison, i2i in Chicago, VAYLA in New Orleans, GAPIMNY in New York, and PrYSM in Providence in Washington to bring their local stories and their local concerns to national policymakers. On Monday, May 12, we joined other community advocates from around the country co-convened by NQAPIA in collaboration with the National Council of Asian Pacific Americans (NCAPA) and the White House Initiative on Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders to a special roundtable with the Department of Homeland Security. We joined our straight and cis-gender allies from other AAPI communities to bring our LGBT perspectives to bear at an important time as the agency is now reviewing its policies around deportations.

The following day, NQAPIA partners, joined by our allies at OCA: Asian Pacific American Advocates, and Asian Americans Advancing Justice: AAJC, had eleven meetings with offices of members of Congress to talk about immigrants’ rights and the issues happening in our communities. We met with members of the Congressional Asian Pacific American Caucus as LGBT constituents, and also met with members of the LGBT Equality Caucus, as AAPIs and immigrants.

By making sure that our AAPI brothers and sisters know of our concerns as LGBT people, and that our LGBT allies continue to keep immigration as a priority, our local partners made a unique impact in their short time in Washington, DC.

 

 

Check out some of the pictures below!

 

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White House: Inside and Outside

This week, Asian American, South Asian, Southeast Asian and Pacific Islander (AAPI) LGBT people spent a lot of time engaging the White House on a range of issues. On Thursday April 24, the White House honored the most recent round of “Champions of Change,” recognizing AAPI advocates who worked to improve access to health care in our communities. NQAPIA was on hand as Bruce Thao, who is an Advisor for Shades of Yellow, was recognized as a Champion of Change for his work at Hmong National Development.

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caption: Shades of Yellow’s own Bruce Thao at the White House (second from the right)

 

Later that afternoon, the White House continued to recognize another set of individuals from the community as it named fourteen new members of the Advisory Commission for Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders. Among the fourteen were openly LGBT people like Michael Byun from ASIA Ohio, one of the major direct service agencies for AAPIs in the Midwest, and the actor Maulik Pancholy. They will undoubtedly build on the work their predecessor Hector Vargas from the Gay and Lesbian Medical Association.

On April 25, dozens of immigrants’ rights activists converged on the White House on the outside this time, calling on the President and the Department of Homeland Security to designate “temporary protected status” for Philippine nationals in the aftermath of Hurricane Haiyan.  The rally included people from the Relief 2 Recovery coalition, the #Not1More campaign, the National Domestic Workers Alliance, and the National Council of Asian Pacific Americans (NCAPA). NQAPIA Co-Director Ben de Guzman addressed the crowd on behalf of NCAPA, saying “We know that relief means relief for gay and straight alike!”

NQAPIA continues to work on immigration issues and will be bringing a number of local partners back to Washington, DC to continue to bring AAPI LGBT perspectives to bear with representatives from the White House in May as part of Asian American/ Pacific Islander Heritage Month. Keep an eye out for the latest we’ve got going on via our blog, on Facebook, or Twitter.

 

Intern Blog: NQAPIA at the White House for AAPI Heritage Month

This is the first in a series of blog posts by NQAPIA 2013 Summer Intern, Steven.  Welcome aboard, Steven!

 

My name is Steven Cong, and I’m a 1.5 generation, queer Chinese American student at UC Berkeley. This summer, I have had the wonderful opportunity of building my professional development as an intern for NQAPIA. Within my first week of work, I received more opportunities to strengthen my networks and improve my skill-sets than I would have first imagined.

I still find myself processing the fact that I saw President Barack Obama in person at a White House reception for Asian Pacific American Heritage Month during my very first day of work. I also had the chance to see renowned queer AAPI s like dancer Dana Tai Soon Burgess,  writer Helen Zia, and White House staffers Jason Tengco and Gautam Raghavan at the event. With that inspiring LGBT and AAPI representation, I had the privilege of being affirmed as a queer person of color in the United States, which excites me for more great experiences to come this summer.

 

Video:  President’s speech at White House AAPI Heritage Month Event, 5/28/2013

Capture. POTUS Video AAPIHM 28May2013