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New Directions for NQAPIA

NQAPIA friends and family,

On behalf of the National Queer Asian Pacific Islander Alliance, we are excited to announce new developments. As an organization that works to build the capacity of local LGBT AAPI organizations, invigorate grassroots organizing, develop leadership, and challenge homophobia, racism, and anti-immigrant bias, this is part of the next step in our dynamic and growing organization.

After five years as NQAPIA’s Co-Director of Programs, Ben de Guzman, will be moving on to pursue new opportunities. From helping secure our first seed funding before we were even called NQAPIA, to starting as our first full time staff, Ben has played a central role in NQAPIA’s formation and growth.  He leaves having positioned us with strong leadership, a vision to bring NQAPIA to the next level, and lots of fond memories.

At this time, we are close to hiring our first Immigrant Rights Organizer. As part of our ongoing commitment to serve the most immediate needs facing our communities, we will bring on new staff that will focus on organizing our member groups around immigrant rights and elevating our national voice in this critical debate.

Last year we spent a lot of time focusing on the future, as part of a strategic planning process. Out of the feedback, surveys, and conversations with stakeholders around the country – one thing continued to rise up, it was the need to focus NQAPIA’s efforts on building our base. As a result we will be spending a lot more time on member engagement, summits and conferences that build leadership, strengthen community and prepare us for the long term battles –both locally and nationally – that we must win to ensure equality for our community.

As we share this news, we are hard at work moving on a number of fronts. We are preparing for our national conference in 2015, which will be our largest event ever. At the same time, we look to organize a national LGBTQ Week of Action for immigrants’ rights in the early part of next year. We will continue to release more portrayals of AAPI parents expressing love and support for their LGBTQ kids and amplify their reach to a wider audience in the media.

We want to close by thanking you, our partners. Whether you are a member, community leader, funder, or ally – your ongoing support and feedback continue to make us better and more ready than ever to meet the needs of our growing and vibrant community. Please feel free to reach out with any questions to our leadership:

Glenn Magpantay, Co-Director of Development
glenn_magpantay@nqapia.org

Ben de Guzman, Co-Director of Programs
ben_deguzman@nqapia.org  [After September 5:bdeguzman@gmail.com]

Phillip Ozaki, Board Co-Chair
phillozaki@gmail.com

Mandy Hu, Board Co-Chair
mandyhhu@gmail.com

On behalf of NQAPIA, thank  you for your continued support of our work.

In solidarity,

NQAPIA Staff and Board

P.S. Please help us celebrate Ben by sending us photos, quotes or other items that we can compile as gratitude for his service. Send to nqapia@gmail.com by August 27 as Ben’s last day will be September 5. After September 5, Ben can be reached via e-mail at bdeguzman at gmail dot com.

Senate Passes Immigration Reform Bill in Historic Week in Washington

Photo:  Senator Bob Menendez (D-NJ) and Senator Tammy Baldwin (D-WI) receive postcards from openly gay undocumented immigrant Tony Choi and  NQAPIA Co-Director for Programs Ben de Guzman

NQAPIA delivers 2,700 postcards to the Senate calling for immigration reform while Supreme Court makes historic decision on marriage equality

For Immediate Release
June 27, 2013

Contact: Ben de Guzman
NQAPIA Co-Director for Programs
E-Mail: ben_deguzman@nqapia.org
Phone: 202-422-4909

Washington, DC: Today, the Senate voted 68-32 to pass long-awaited comprehensive immigration reform, the Border Security, Economic Opportunity, and Immigration Modernization Act. The National Queer Asian Pacific Islander Alliance (NQAPIA) sees progress in today’s vote for the Asian American, South Asian, Southeast Asian, and Pacific Islander (AAPI) lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) communities we serve, but also some challenges and some hard questions that are yet to be answered as the bill moves to the House of Representatives.  We continue to fight for comprehensive immigration reform legislation that works for all families, immigrant and citizen, LGBT and straight, alike.

The legislation includes provisions important to AAPI LGBTs, including: a path to citizenship for undocumented immigrants; elimination of the backlog of family visas; elimination of the one-year deadline to file for asylum; and some specific improvements for conditions in detention centers. Unfortunately, the immigration package also strikes a twofold blow to AAPI LGBT families. The deal ends sibling sponsorship and family sponsorship for married children over 30. After bitter negotiation, it also fails to include the sponsorship privileges for foreign same-sex partners of Americans that married straight couples enjoy.

The vote comes on the heels of a celebrated historic victory for marriage equality at the Supreme Court on Wednesday. The ruling resolves immigration issues for certain binational same-sex couples, but NQAPIA continues to fight for all those affected by the broken immigration system. At least 267,000 undocumented immigrants LGBT, a population that is disproportionately Asian. As crowds cheered on the steps of the Supreme Court for the ruling that overturned the Defense of Marriage Act and sent California’s Proposition 8 packing, NQAPIA delivered over 2,700 postcards to the Senate in support of comprehensive immigration reform.

Joined by Tony Choi, an openly gay undocumented immigrant from Korea, NQAPIA gave postcards directly to Tony’s Senator Bob Menendez (D-NJ), a member of the “Gang of Eight” who pushed the legislation through, as well as Senator Tammy Baldwin (D-WI), the first openly lesbian Senator.

“History has been made on two different fronts.” said Ben de Guzman, NQAPIA Co-Director for Programs.  “We have been at the center of all the action on both comprehensive immigration reform and marriage equality this week.  We have never been a single issue community, and today we prove that the movement can walk and chew gum at the same time.  Now we take the fight from the Supreme Court and the Senate to the House, the next battleground for immigration reform.”

Wish You Were Here: NQAPIA Delivers Postcards for Comprehensive Immigration Reform

 

Wish You Were Here: National LGBT Asian American Group Delivers Postcards for Comprehensive Immigration Reform

NQAPIA to deliver thousands of postcards from across the country

to the Senate in time for critical vote


Contact: Ben de Guzman

NQAPIA Co-Director for Programs E-Mail: ben_deguzman@nqapia.org Phone: 202-422-4909

Washington, DC: Today, the National Queer Asian Pacific Islander Alliance (NQAPIA) begins a weeklong drive to deliver over 2,700 postcards to the United States Senate in support of comprehensive immigration reform. Constituents from around the nation, many of whom representing Asian American, South Asian, Southeast Asian, and Pacific Islander (AAPI) lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) communities, sent these postcards in support of justice for all immigrants. The postcards are intended to coincide with a planned vote on the Senate floor for S744:  The Border Security, Economic Opportunity, and Immigration Modernization Act.   Among the Senate offices receiving postcards are:

  • Senator Charles Schumer (D-NY): The leading Democrat on the “Gang of Eight” will get a whopping 188 postcards, the biggest individual delivery, from his constituents calling for immigration reform.
  • Senator Marco Rubio (R-FL): One of the key Republicans on the “Gang of Eight” will receive postcards from Floridians calling for immigration reform.
  • Senator Bob Menendez (D-NJ): Tony Choi, an undocumented AAPI LGBT immigrant from Korea, will bring postcards from his fellow New Jerseyans to Democrat “Gang of Eight” member Senator Menendez.
  • Senator Jeff Chisea (R-NJ):  Tony will also bring postcards to the Republican Senator appointed to fill the seat vacated when Senator Lautenberg (D-NJ) passed away.
  • Senator Tammy Baldwin (D-WI): The first openly LGBT Senator, whose support for the entire package of comprehensive immigration reform, including a path to citizenship for the undocumented as well as keeping immigrant families united (including siblings and adult married children as well as same-sex binational couples) will be critical.

AAPIs comprise 11% of all undocumented immigrants in the United States, but represent 15% of undocumented LGBT immigrants in the United States.  There are over 4 million people languishing in backlogs of family petitions, about half of whom are waiting to reunite with AAPI families.  For these immigrants and the entire community, the time has come for immigration reform that protects all our families.

“Our communities are speaking out at this critical moment for comprehensive immigration reform that works for everyone,” said Ben de Guzman, NQAPIA Co-Director for Programs.  “We understand that how this bill defines families and the family immigration system will have profound impact on all of us.  As AAPIs, we know that, as the saying goes, ‘it takes a village’ to ensure our families are able to thrive.  As LGBTs, we also know the bureaucratic gymnastics we have to do to keep our families recognized in the light of laws that only accept definitions of a nuclear family.  The time for immigration reform that captures the reality of how the modern American family is configured is NOW.” Over 2,700 postcards are being delivered to the Senate this week, representing 40 states around the country.  Some of the states with the largest contingents of postcards include New York (377), California (304 total), Pennsylvania (246 total), Massachusetts (212 total), Georgia (196 total), and Texas (135 total). NQAPIA is a federation of AAPI LGBT organizations around the country.  Through its work with local communities, as well as advocacy and research, NQAPIA is fighting for comprehensive immigration reform that includes:

  • A path to citizenship for the undocumented;
  • Family Reunification- including same-sex binational couples, siblings, and adult married children that are left out of the current bill;
  • Humane Enforcement- including reforms for the detention system and the removal of the one-year deadline to apply for asylum; and
  • Improvements for Immigrant Workers- including reforms to non-immigrant worker visas for both high-tech and low-skilled workers.

NQAPIA on West Coast Swing!

Ben de Guzman, NQAPIA Co-Director for Programs, is in the middle of a West Coast swing!  From Seattle to Portland, he is meeting with local AAPI LGBT groups, our partners and allies to share information about NQAPIA work, updates from Washington, DC and the latest about our upcoming conference!

If you’re in the Los Angeles area on Saturday, March 31, join him for a “Worlds Collide” meetup in downtown Los Angeles at Pizza Urbano (630 W. 6th Street) on Saturday, March 31 at 5pm.

On his trip, he’s met and/ or talked with the following organizations:  

Seattle:

Trikone- NW

Asian Counseling and Referral Services (Thanks for hosting our meeting!)

UTOPIA- Seattle

Pacific Asians in the NW Doing Allied Queer Organizing Realness (PANDAQORN)

Asian & Pacific Islander Safety Center/ Chaya

 

Portland:

API Pride- Portland (Thanks for lunch!)

Asian Pacific American Network of Oregon

 

Los Angeles:

GAPSN (Thanks for hosting Ben at Game Night!)

API Pride Council (Thanks for the NQAPIA shout-out at the Queer Auction and Mixer!)

Satrang

AQWA

API Equality- Los Angeles (Thursday Mixer with LGBT Lawyers group!)

Asian Pacific Islander AIDS Intervention Team (Thanks for hosting Ben at your staff meeting!)

Asian Pacific American Legal Center

 

San Diego:

UTOPIA- San Diego

San Diego LGBT Center

 

For more information about his trip, e-mail: <ben_deguzman@nqapia.org>

Much thanks to everyone he’s met along the way!