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NQAPIA & NCAPA Opposes the Anti-LGBTQ Bias in the Religious Freedom Restoration Act

NQAPIANCAPA

 

 

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

April 2, 2015

CONTACT:

Mini Timmaraju (NCAPA), mini@ncapaonline.org, (832) 452-7038;

Glenn D. Magpantay (NQAPIA), glenn_magpantay@nqapia.org, (917) 439-3158

 

The National Council of Asian Pacific Americans (NCAPA) today opposes the anti-LGBTQ bias in the Religious Freedom Restoration Act passed by the Indiana State Legislature last week. While Indiana Governor Mike Pence enacted “fixes” to the law, NCAPA believes these measures are not sufficient in prohibiting discrimination in the name of religious liberty.

“While RFRA laws are vital, especially in protecting the religious expression of minority faith communities, NCAPA strongly opposes legislation that purports to protect religious freedom but in fact sanctions discrimination against the LGBT community,” said Gregory Cendana, the first openly gay Chair of NCAPA and Executive Director of the Asian Pacific American Labor Alliance.  “The fixes that were made in Indiana and Arkansas’ laws do not adequately protect lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender individuals from discriminatory practices. NCAPA recognizes the importance of RFRA laws for many religious minorities, especially within Asian American and Pacific Islander communities, and we are willing to work with lawmakers in Indiana, Arkansas, and across the nation to craft more responsible RFRA legislation.”

“The National Queer Asian Pacific Islander Alliance (NQAPIA) is undeterred and stands firmly against Indiana’s new Religious Freedom Restoration Act (RFRA).  We still fear that the law could allow employers, landlords, and business owners to discriminate against lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender Asian Americans, South Asians, Southeast Asians and Pacific Islanders on religious grounds,” said Glenn D. Magpantay, NQAPIA Executive Director.  “As long as they don’t ask, victims can’t tell. It’s still discrimination.” NQAPIA is a member organization of NCAPA.

On March 26, Indiana lawmakers passed the Religious Freedom Restoration Act, a law that uses the guise of religious freedom to allow business owners to refuse goods and services to customers who they perceive as LGBT. Passage of the law sparked national debate, and resulted in many businesses and organizations rejecting the measure as regressive and discriminatory. On Thursday, Indiana lawmakers passed new legislation in an attempt to clarify that the RFRA cannot be used to support anti-LGBT discrimination.

Arkansas Governor Asa Hutchinson refused to sign a similar RFRA bill on Wednesday, which also included provisions that would potentially permit businesses to deny service to LGBT customers. On April 2, he signed into law a bill that is similar in nature to the 1993-passed federal RFRA law, which does not address discrimination at all.

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The National Council of Asian Pacific Americans (NCAPA), founded in 1996, is a coalition of 34 national Asian Pacific American organizations. Based in Washington D.C., NCAPA serves to represent the interests of Asian American, Native Hawaiian and Pacific Islander (AA & NHPI) communities and to provide a national voice on policy issues and priorities.

The National Queer Asian Pacific Islander Alliance (NQAPIA) is a federation of lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) Asian American, South Asian, Southeast Asian, and Pacific Islander (AAPI) organizations.  We seek to build the organizational capacity of local LGBT AAPI groups, develop leadership, promote visibility, educate our community, enhance grassroots organizing, expand collaborations, and challenge homophobia and racism.

 

NCAPA & NQAPIA RFRA Statement PDF

 

Immigration Corner

On February 16, just two days before the expanded DACA was supposed to open, a federal district court in the Southern District of Texas temporarily blocked its implementation. As of March, the district court in Texas still has not ruled on the government’s request for an emergency stay.  As a result, the Department of Justice is seeking an emergency stay from the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit in New Orleans. As of April, the court has not yet issued its decision, but we need these lawful, common-sense policies implemented as soon as possible.

What does that mean?

The expanded DACA and DAPA programs are temporarily put on hold until the decision is overturned. The federal government is seeking an emergency stay, so people can apply for the expanded DACA and DAPA programs as soon as possible.

Read more from the National Immigration Law Center: Texas v. US District Court and Asian Americans Advancing Justice Coalition: Immigration relief after Texas v. United States.

Why did this happen?

In December, 26 attorneys generals and governors filed this lawsuit as an anti-immigrant political and PR stunt. They chose to file this in a very conservative area in Texas and with anti-immigrant U.S. District Judge Andrew Hanen.

Texas decided that the federal government had not followed the Administrative Procedures Act’s requirements. The federal government did not use those procedures because the initiatives are discretionary—which exempts them from those procedures.

What will be the verdict?

Texas is not following legal precedent. In a public statement, DHS said, “The Department of Justice, legal scholars, immigration experts and even other courts have said that our actions are well within our legal authority.” President Obama has said, “The law is on our side, and history is on our side.”

Read more about potential reactions from other states.

What is the timeline?

We do not know when things will be put off hold, but those who are eligible to apply should continue applying for the original 2012 DACA program and prepare for the expanded DACA program and DAPA program when they do open.

Read more about the stay.

We are expected to hear a ruling from the Fifth Circuit Court any day. At the beginning of July, the courts will hear oral arguments regarding the Department of Justice’s appeal on Judge Hanen’s ruling.

Why does this matter?

There are 11 million undocumented immigrants, and over 1.3 million of them are of Asian descent. There are 4.4 million people waiting in visa backlogs, and 1.6 million of them are in Asia. Nearly 500,000 APIAs may benefit from the expanded DACA and DAPA programs. In all, these programs allow families to stay together and remove fear of deportation.

Read more immigration statistics.

What else is going on?

The Senate tried to defund DACA, DAPA and immigration policy changes dated Nov. 20 or 21, 2014 as well as those made on/after Jan. 9, 2015. Fortunately, Senator Susan Collins’ bill S. 534 failed on procedural vote in the Senate and has been rejected by NCAPA, policy experts, DREAMers, the ACLU, and more.

DHS is funded and will not go through a shutdown. Read more.

Cross Check Arrests and Deportations

From March 1-5, 2015, the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s (ICE) Enforcement and Removal Operations (ERO) led nationwide raids targeting undocumented immigrants. They arrested 2,059 individuals from 94 countries—majority of the people arrested had misdemeanors. It has been reported that 15  of the people arrested had DACA. Many of those arrested are subject to immediate removal from the US, while others are in ICE custody, awaiting a hearing or pending travel arrangements for removal in the near future. President Obama committed to helping our communities, but the actions of his administration are tearing our families apart. We do not support these operations that promote profiling, detention and deportation of our communities. If you or a community member have been caught in a raid and need support, please contact pabitra_benjamin@nqapia.org.

Read the DHS press release.

What about visa updates?

On April 1, 2015, USCIS will accept H-1B visas for the fiscal year 2016 cap (65,000). The first 20,000 H-1B petitions filed for individuals with a U.S. master’s degree or higher are exempt from the 65,000 cap. We recommend that you file within the first five business days. If they receive an excess of petitions during that time, they will begin to use a lottery system to randomly select who fits within the cap. Those who do not make the cap will automatically be rejected.

As of May 26, 2015, the spouse and children of H-1B visa holders may apply for an H-4 visa. Those with H-4 visas may obtain a driver’s license, pursue education, open a bank account, and may obtain a tax ID for employment purposes.

Read a commendation from NCAPA.

What is NQAPIA’s work on immigration?

You can find out more about NQAPIA’s work on immigration here.

President Obama issued a request for information on the subject of modernizing and streamlining the US visa system. NQAPIA provided feedback in regards to streamlining visa processing for family-sponsored and employment-based immigrant visas, operational changes for visa petitions, how to fully and fairly allocate visas each year, sharing priorities in data collection, and more. We are waiting for a response from USCIS. Check out NQAPIA Comments for Visa Modernization RFI.

We also released factsheets to help you better understand President Obama’s Executive Order including the expanded DACA and DAPA. Factsheets are in English, Chinese, and Hindi.

We are working to ensure all LGBTQ communities are included in upcoming relief. Tell President Obama, Don’t Discriminate Against LGBTQ Immigrants. Join NQAPIA, Familia Trans Queer Liberation Movement, and other partners in asking President Obama to include LGBTQ immigrants without children in upcoming relief. Sign the petition!

Join us for RISE UP! Week of Action on Immigration. Demand an end to profiling, detention and deportation of our communities.

NQAPIA is regularly involved in advocacy meetings with DHS and the White House, and we react and respond with the needs of our community. If you would like to work with us on immigration or other issues, please contact pabitra_benjamin@nqapia.org.

Get updates at our Immigration Corner.

NQAPIA Announces National AAPI Action for LGBT Pride Month

Photo Caption: NQAPIA with NCAPA member organizations celebrating APA Heritage Month

 

NQAPIA ANNOUNCES NATIONAL AAPI ACTION FOR LGBT PRIDE MONTH

National Asian American Groups to Issue Month Long Series of Statements Supporting LGBT Equality

 

For Immediate Release: Friday, May 30 2014

Contact:

Ben de Guzman, NQAPIA

E-mail: ben_deguzman@nqapia.org

Phone: 202-422-4909

 

Washington, DC: The National Asian Pacific Islander Alliance (NQAPIA) is pleased to announce a special initiative with members of the  National Council of Asian Pacific Americans (NCAPA) in recognition of June as LGBT Pride Month. Over the course of the month, NQAPIA and ten NCAPA member organizations will release statements that reaffirm support for LGBT equality from various Asian American, South Asian, Southeast Asian, and Pacific Islander (AAPI) communities.

NCAPA is a coalition of thirty-one national AAPI organizations around the country. Based in Washington, DC, NCAPA serves to represent the interests of the greater AAPI communities and to provide a national voice for AAPI issues.

NCAPA as a coalition released a Statement on LGBT Equality and Justice in recognition of National Coming Out Day last October. This effort in June provides NCAPA member groups to make even more direct statements of solidarity with LGBT communities.

June has been recognized as LGBT Pride Month to commemorate the Stonewall Riots in June 1969 that sparked the modern LGBT movement. From Presidential proclamations, to local parades and festivals, the month features celebrations across the country.

“NQAPIA is a proud member of NCAPA,” said Ben de Guzman, NQAPIA Co-Director. “These statements that we will be rolling out over the next month in collaboration with our national AAPI advocacy partners will clearly demonstrate the commitment we share to LGBT equality as part of our overall work for social justice.”

The current NCAPA members that are taking part in this initiative include:

Asian Pacific American Labor Alliance (APALA)

Asian Pacific Islander American Health Forum (APIAHF)

Center for Asian Pacific American Women (CAPAW)

Japanese American Citizens League (JACL)

National Korean American Service and Education Consortium (NAKASEC)

National Asian Pacific American Bar Association (NAPABA)

National Asian Pacific American Families Against Substance Abuse (NAPAFASA)

National Asian Pacific American Women’s Forum (NAPAWF)

OCA: Asian Pacific American Advocates

South Asian Americans Leading Together (SAALT)

Southeast Asia Resource Action Center (SEARAC)

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.

WHChamps 24April2014

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.

 

NQAPIA Immigration Update: From Buford Highway to the Beltway

This past weekend, participants at our Atlanta Regional Summit put their learnings into practice and engaged the immigration reform debate by calling on their friends and family to weigh in on legislation being considered in Washington, DC. At the Center for Pan Asian Community Services in the Buford Highway ethnic neighborhood, 20 phone bankers in an hour got 77 commitments to call members of Congress in the South in support of immigration reform.

Right now, 100 of our sisters and allies from the We Belong Together campaign are in Washington, DC fasting in solidarity with #Fast4Families to highlight the urgency in our communities and the urgency for reform that will keep our families together and break the broken immigration system. Every day that goes by brings us further past the two million deportations that have already happened in the past six years and makes reform that much more elusive.

Can you join our Summit participants and make a call to your member of Congress today and ask them to pass reform? The script is below.

We thank you for your continued support of the issues our communities care about.

In partnership,

Ben de Guzman, NQAPIA Co-Director for Programs

 

Phone Script

You can use the phone script below to call your member of Congress. If you have any questions, you can e-mail me.

Call 202-224-3121 and give the Capitol Hill Switchboard your address and they will identify your member of Congress and connect you directly to their Washington, DC office. If you know your member, you can also look them up online and get their direct number that way.

 
Congressional Staff Greeting: “Hi! Representative X’s office, how may I help you?”
 
Hi, my name is ___________ (your name) and I live in the Congressmember’s district. I’m calling to urge the Congressmember to support immigration reform that:
  • Includes a path to citizenship
  • Upholds civil and human rights
  • Keeps families together, and
  • Protects workers on all ends of the economic scale

I hope s/he will support the discharge petition that was recently introduced in the House. It is very important to me and my community that Congress votes on immigration reform this year.

Will the Congressmember support the discharge petition? 

[If supports]: Great! Thank you! I hope your boss will push for a vote on immigration on the floor as soon as possible.

[If no]: I am very disappointed and I hope the Congressmember will reconsider her/ his position. My family, friends and I will be voting in November and this issue is very important to us.

Thank you for your time.

The Past Seven Days and What’s Next

The Past Seven Days and What’s Next

Seven days ago, NQAPIA kicked off a whole week of whirlwind activity. A quick overview:

  • Friday 3/21: I joined my NQAPIA Co-Director Glenn Magpantay and SALGA-NYC’s Karen Naimool to provide a training for the We Build Community cohort of South Asian Americans Leading Together. Because Nico Quintana from the DC Trans Coalition also provided training specific to transgender communities, NQAPIA’s “LGB/Q” training gave local South Asian organizations tools and resources to better think about creating space for queer South Asian people in their communities and programs.
  • Saturday 3/22: NQAPIA took a break from one South Asian crew to join another as we hosted local DC partner KhushDC’s Queer Women’s History Month event. Using technology to bring together contingents from Los Angeles, CA, San Francisco, CA, Madison, WI, Chicago, IL, and Toronto, Canada, participants held a national dialogue about increasing membership and involvement by queer women, transgender, and gender non-conforming people. All in all, a memorable weekend with South Asian LGBTQ and allied people building community and justice.
  • Tuesday 3/25: LGBT AAPI leaders from Boston, MA, the Bay Area, CA, and Washington, DC joined the National Council of Asian Pacific American’s (NCAPA) solidarity fast for We Belong Together and the #Fast4Families campaign. My fast took place during the Alliance for Citizenship’s Campaign Summit where I built up more hunger for immigration reform and justice for families torn apart by deportation. The following day, the NCAPA issued a statement about the House Democrat’s “discharge petition,” and our ongoing work to fight for immigrant families.

The action doesn’t stop here. In the next week, we’ve got even more action happening:

  • Saturday 3/28: NQAPIA’s 2014 Community Catalyst Awards will honor Q-WAVE on their 10th anniversary, as well as activists Namita Chad and Andy Marra. It’s going to be a full house in TriBeCa, and we’re looking forward to bringing the New York City area community together!
  • Friday 4/4: NQAPIA will launch its 2014 Regional Summits with events in Atlanta, GA (4/4-6) and Portland, OR (4/11-4/13). We’re looking forward to joining our local partners in the South and Pacific Northwest to build skills, build community, and build ACTION!

Keep up with us on our web site and blog, and follow us on Facebook and Twitter, and we’re sure we’ll be in your neck of the woods soon!

In partnership,

Ben de Guzman, NQAPIA Co-Director for Programs

NQAPIA Media Release: LGBT Asian Americans Join Broader Immigrant Rights Movement in Ongoing Action

Caption:  (L-R) Pabitra Benjamin (NQAPIA), DJ Yoon (NAKASEC), Ben de Guzman (NQAPIA), Diana Bui (NAPAWF-DC), Dong Yoon Kim (NAKASEC), Becky Belcore (Korean Resource and Cultural Center, Chicago, IL), Emily Kessel (NAKASEC), Deepak Bhargava (Center for Community Change, Washington, DC)

LGBT Asian Americans Join Broader Immigrant Rights

Movement In Ongoing Action

 

NQAPIA mobilizes solidarity fasters around the country and connects

AAPI and LGBT issues around immigration

    FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

 

Friday, December 13, 2013

Contact:

Ben de Guzman

E-mail: ben_deguzman@nqapia.org;

Phone:  202-422-4909

 

Washington, DC- The National Queer Asian Pacific Islander Alliance (NQAPIA) committed this week to continue to fight for immigrants rights in Asian American, South Asian, Southeast Asian, and Pacific Islander (AAPI) and lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) communities.  Today, NQAPIA joins our partners and allies in Washington, DC to call on our lawmakers to do the right thing and pass immigration reform.  This action comes on the heels of a week that has seen NQAPIA staff, board, and volunteers in Washington, DC, Chicago, IL, and San Francisco, CA take part in the Fast for Families campaign.  Over the course of this past week and heading into the holidays, NQAPIA will continue to put our bodies on the line to fight for justice for immigrants and our families.

Last Friday in Washington, DC, NQAPIA Co-Director for Programs Ben de Guzman kicked off the NQAPIA solidarity fast and joined national leaders including DJ Yoon, the Executive Director of the National Korean American Service and Education Consortium (NAKASEC).  NQAPIA and NAKASEC have been key partners in fighting for immigration reform with the National Council of Asian Pacific Americans (NCAPA).

“NQAPIA is proud to join #Fast4Families and we salute the bravery of our friend and colleague DJ Yoon, who as one of the original #Fast4Families fasters along with Eliseo Medina and Christian Alvarez, sacrificed for 22 days for immigration reform.  As I indicated at the evening vigil when I broke my fast, LGBT people know what it means to love in the face of adversity and we are with you in solidarity.”

“NAKASEC fights for immigrants’ rights shoulder to shoulder with NQAPIA,” said DJ Yoon.  “We know that all immigrants and their families face challenges because of the broken immigration system and that LGBT people in our communities also face an additional set of barriers.  Our fight for justice is for ALL people and can leave no one behind.”

NQAPIA’s ongoing campaign for immigrants’ rights will continue to build off of our successes in 2013, which include:

 

  • Delivering over 5,400 postcards to the Senate and the House of Representatives from constituents around the country calling for immigration reform;
  • Forums in Chicago, Boston, New York, Philadelphia, Washington, DC, and San Francisco raising awareness about LGBT AAPI communities and the impact of immigration reform;
  • “Uncovering Our Stories” multimedia campaign that brings powerful voices from over a dozen LGBT AAPI immigrants and family members directly affected by the broken immigration system in video, online narratives, and a written publication;
  • Direct mobilization of over 100 volunteers for grassroots public education efforts in Washington, DC, Portland, OR, Twin Cities, MN, Central New Jersey, suburbran Virginia, Staten Island, NY, Portland, OR, and Honolulu, HI

Ben and DJ Yoon

Caption: NQAPIA Co-Director for Programs Ben de Guzman and NAKASEC Executive Director DJ Yoon at #Fast4Families Tent in Washington, DC

LGBT Asian Americans Raising Our Voices on Immigration Reform

National Queer Asian Pacific Islander Alliance meets with Members of Congress to push for a commonsense and compassionate immigration reform

For Immediate Release: Monday, November 25, 2013 

Washington, DC: The National Queer Asian Pacific Islander Alliance delivered over 2,700 postcards to the House of Representatives last week calling for commonsense immigration reform that includes all families, including LGBT families.  As the Congressional session is nearing its close, NQAPIA is bringing voices of Asian American, South Asian, Southeast Asian, and Pacific Islander (AAPI) lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) communities and our allies from across the country to keep the Congress’ attention focused on the need to fix the broken immigration system.

NQAPIA’s immigrant rights campaign has focused on bringing AAPI LGBT people affected by the broken immigration system to the fore.  The “Uncovering Our Stories” campaign highlights over a dozen personal narratives that clearly demonstrate the need for reform.  This multimedia campaign includes a color brochure, online narratives, and videos of diverse voices in our communities.

“As Asian Americans, we know that the ability to keep our families together from an overly aggressive deportation system and a path to citizenship for 11 million undocumented immigrants, over 10% of which are from our communities, is at stake,” said Ben de Guzman, NQAPIA Co-Director.  “We also know as LGBT people that what constitutes a family is also at stake, and the overly narrow definition of family is something we are all too familiar with.  We also fight for a humane immigration system that allows real opportunities for asylum seekers and reform that keeps people, especially transgender immigrants, out of harm’s way in the detention system.”

NQAPIA staff and volunteers met with a number of members of Congress directly in its efforts to garner support for immigration reform:

 

Representative Judy Chu (D-CA): Chair of the Congressional Asian Pacific American Caucus

NQAPIA’s commitment to comprehensive immigration reform is crucial to fixing our broken borders. Their “Uncover Our Stories” campaign reminds us all of the human toll of our current immigration system. As Chair of the Congressional Asian Pacific American Caucus, I work every day to ensure the needs of the AAPI community are addressed in any reform package and I am thrilled to have NQAPIA as an ally in this effort. Together, we’ll continue the fight to keep all families together.

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Rep. Chu meeting with Chinese American lesbian immigrant

 

Rep. Jared Polis (D-CO): Chair of the LGBT Equality Caucus

I was proud to have met with members of the National Queer Asian Pacific American Alliance who are working tirelessly on the need to pass a commonsense and compassionate comprehensive immigration reform bill.

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Rep. Polis accepting postcards

 

Representative Luis Gutierrez (D-IL): Chair of the Immigration Task Force of the Congressional Hispanic Caucus

The support for immigration reform is broad and deep and goes way beyond the Latino community.  Yesterday I heard from members of the National Queer Asian Pacific Islander Alliance on how this issue impacts their community. Each of us has a responsibility to do our part.  It is going to take all of us being persistent and consistent in our call for reform — that is what will win us reform that keeps families together and moves the country forward.

Rep. Gutierrez and NQAPIA

Rep. Gutierrez and NQAPIA contingent

 

Representative Colleen Hanabusa (D-HI): Congressional Asian Pacific American Caucus

“The issue of LGBT rights and the debate on immigration stand front and center in Hawaii; both are central to the fight for equality. The National Queer Asian Pacific American Alliance has delivered over 400 cards signed by my constituents demanding commonsense and compassionate immigration reform. The voice of Hawaii’s people are reflected in the efforts of our LGBT AAPI community to effect change in marriage equality and immigration, and I join them in pursuing true equality.”

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Team NQAPIA delivering 400 postcards to Rep. Hanabusa’s staff

 

Representative Ami Bera (D-CA): Congressional Asian Pacific American Caucus

‘The issue of immigration for LGBT people in our AAPI communities is something we don’t often talk about, but provides critical perspective in this fight for immigration reform. LGBT community members are uniquely impacted by the broken immigration system and hearing stories directly from the community was important for me.’

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Rep. Bera discussing immigration with NQAPIA

NQAPIA Supports the 50th Anniversary of the March on Washington

NQAPIA is proud to take part in activities around the 50th anniversary of the March on Washington and the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King’s famous “I Have a Dream” speech.

We are joining AAPI national organizations in a contingent to take part in the National Action to Realize the Dream March & Rally on Saturday, August 24.  People interested in joining us in Washington, DC can meet up at 8:00am at the southeast side of the World War II  Memorial.

RSVP for updates and logistics:  http://bit.ly/NCAPAmarchRSVP

 

We have also joined a list of over forty LGBT organizations supporting the March that signed the following open letter .

An Open Letter in Support of 50th Anniversary of March on Washington

Over the past year, our community has celebrated tremendous wins in the fight for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender equality and justice.

We have collectively cheered the first ever Senate committee markup of an inclusive Employment Non-Discrimination Act (ENDA), the Social Security Administration’s modernization of its gender marker policy, and U.S. Supreme Court wins on marriage equality in the Windsor and Perry rulings. But we remain frustrated that ENDA is still not the law of the land and we’re angered and deeply disappointed with the Court’s decision to turn back critical parts of the historic Voting Rights Act in Shelby.

We must channel this frustration and disappointment into action to tackle employment discrimination, voter suppression tactics, immigration reform and racial profiling, to name only a few.

This month we have an opportunity to bring the combined energy from our victories to a major gathering that will commemorate the 50th anniversary of the March on Washington for Jobs & Freedom. History was made that day 50 years ago when thousands came to Washington, D.C. to lift up their voices in support of civil rights, employment protection and an end to racial segregation in our nation’s schools. On August 24, 2013, we will rededicate ourselves to that dream of equality and justice.

It has been over 40 years since Stonewall and the birth of the modern LGBTQ rights movement. As national, state and local LGBTQ organizations, we know that while there have been many advancements over the last four decades since Stonewall and the five decades since the 1963 March, there is still much more work to be done. We are proud to commemorate the 1963 March and, once again, come together and collectively take action to “Realize the Dream.”

At a time when the nation still does not have clear federal laws barring discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation or gender identity, we still need to step up and be visible. We believe that everyone deserves the opportunity to find and keep a job in a safe work environment with a living wage regardless of their sexual orientation or gender identity and expression. We also believe that all members of our community, whether they are seniors, middle-aged or youth, deserve to be safe from violence, harassment, exploitation and racial profiling when they are at home, school, work, or in any other public places. As LGBTQ people, we believe that quality health care should be accessible, affordable and culturally competent. We believe that the 11 million undocumented immigrants, including at least 267,000 undocumented LGBT people living in this country, should have a real pathway to citizenship and people from all backgrounds should be able to stay with their families. We believe these are issues that cut across all lines of gender, race and ethnicity, gender identity and sexual orientation, ability and immigration status. It’s time to join forces and demonstrate our collective power.

Take Action

Working together, this rally and mobilization is an opportunity to lift up the voices of LGBT people as part of a broad progressive agenda for social and economic justice. Please join us on Saturday, August 24, 2013, at 8 AM – 3 PM in Washington, D.C. at the DC War Memorial at 900 Independence Ave, SW, Washington, DC 20245.  (The Memorial is located across Independence Ave. from the Martin Luther King Memorial), as we come together in support of freedom and justice!

In Solidarity,

Get Equal
Human Rights Campaign
National Black Justice Coalition
National Gay and Lesbian Task Force
Pride at Work, AFL-CIO

 

Endorsers:

Astraea Lesbian Foundation for Justice
Believe Out Loud
Bethel Christian Church, DC
BiNet USA
Bisexual Resource Center
Center for Black Equity
CenterLink: The Community of LGBT Centers
The Consortium of Higher Education LGBT Resource Professionals
Equality Federation
Family Equality Council
The Fellowship of Affirming Ministries
FORGE, Inc.
Freedom to Marry
Freedom to Work
Gay-Straight Alliance Network (GSA Network)
GLAAD
GLAD (Gay & Lesbian Advocates & Defenders)
GLMA: Health Professionals Advancing LGBT Equality
GLSEN (Gay, Lesbian & Straight Education Network)
Harvey Milk Foundation
Immigration Equality
Lambda Legal
Leadership Team of NASPA GLBT Knowledge Community
Marriage Equality USA
National Center for Lesbian Rights
National Center for Transgender Equality
National Gay and Lesbian Chamber of Commerce
NQAPIA
Out & Equal Workplace Advocates
PFLAG National
Services and Advocacy for GLBT Elders (SAGE)
The Trevor Project
Trans Advocacy Network
Trans People of Color Coalition
Transgender Law Center
Unid@s, The National Latin@ LGBT Human rights Organization