April 25, 2015

Please Spread the Word: $9.5 million for Boys and Young Men of Color

Calling all nonprofits, community leaders and agents of change: The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation recently announced a new Call for Proposals  for Forward Promise, a $9.5 million initiative that focuses on innovative, community-based projects working to strengthen health, education, and employment outcomes for middle school- and high school-aged boys and young men of color. The Foundation will award 10 grants of up to $500,000 each to support projects with preliminary evidence of impact in school discipline, dropout prevention, mental health interventions, and career training.

RWJF is particularly interested in hearing from projects focused on AAPI boys and young men – so get applying! And good luck!!

The Nation: Watching Fox Makes you Stupider

Fox News Channel

Over at The Nation, Ben Adler rips into Fox News for its failure to inform its viewers.

He writes at “It’s Official: Watching Fox Makes You Stupider“:

People who work at Fox News might like to think that they are despised by real journalists only because they are conservative and most journalists are liberal. Anyone who read the admiring obituaries of William F. Buckley Jr. in mainstream and liberal outlets would know that is nonsense. Journalists, both liberals and ones with no ideology in particular, are quite capable of respecting conservative pundits and reporters who deserve their respect.

But Fox does not. The reason is not because it holds a set of values that others may not share. And that is only partially because it claims to be “Fair and Balanced” when it is neither.

Rather, it is because it fails the fundamental test of journalism: are you informing your audience? According to a new study by Farleigh Dickinson University, Fox viewers are the least knowledgeable audience of any outlet, and they know even less about politics and current events than people who watch no news at all [emphasis added is mine].

Meet America’s New Poverty Class: Twentysomethings

1 out of 4 US households is underbanked

Millennials are having a difficult time finding gainful employment which is leading them to make poor financial decisions.

From The Street:

Right now, the U.S. unemployment rate for the age 20-24 demographic stands at 13.5%, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, compared to 8.1% for the general population.

Besides the larger realization among this Millennials generation — and many economists — that between automation and outsourcing, good job opportunities are scarce, younger adults are moving back into their parent’s house because they’re broke. According to the U.S. Census Bureau, 5.9 million young adults between the ages of 25 and 34 lived with their parents by 2011, up from 4.7 million in 2008. The agency also says that 45% of those “double-upper’s” generate incomes that are below the poverty lines.

But the capper on the jug could be a new report from Fort Worth, Texas-based Think Finance, an online financial products provider. The survey of 640 U.S. Millennials reveals that more of them are using purportedly downscale financial products like pre-paid credit cards and pay day loans — and are actually ‘satisfied” with the experience.

SF Chronicle: Obama Courts Asian Americans

President Obama is in the Bay Area today, hosting an exclusive roundtable for Asian American and Pacific Islander supporters.

From the SF Chronicle:

With just over five months until what’s expected to be a razor-close election, the Obama campaign’s ethnic-centered fundraiser in California – home to the nation’s second-largest group of Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders – puts a sharp focus on a key demographic expected to vote in record numbers in November.

Both Republican and Democratic campaigns are “trying to find a community of interest that might be moved – and one of the unturned stones has been the Asian community,” says Vincent Pan, executive director of the San Francisco group Chinese for Affirmative Action.

The diverse swath, also known as Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders, includes large communities of Chinese, Korean, Japanese and Vietnamese; as well as South Asians such as Indians and Pakistanis; and Pacific Islanders such as Polynesians, Samoans and Tongans.

Pan said Obama feels comfortable with outreach to those groups because the president has lived in Asia and the Pacific Islands. “He has a natural relationship with those communities. He understands the model: that we have a lot of strengths and we have a lot of needs, too.”

The political focus on the group – at 17.6 million about 5.6 percent of the country’s population – comes with recognition it might be up for grabs this year, according to a May poll by the National Asian American Coalition.

Faith Bautista, the organization’s president and CEO, said the poll showed that “Asian Americans throughout the nation are probably close to equally divided as to who would make a better president between (Mitt) Romney and Obama.”

So “in key swing states such as Nevada and Virginia, the absence of effective campaigning directed at Asian Americans could be fatal to the campaigns of the presidential candidates,” she said.

“It’s not just the fact that (Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders) are really a force to be recognized within the political process, but collectively have demonstrated incredible purchasing power and entrepreneurial power in technology and Silicon Valley,” said Julia Rhee, co-chair of the National Asian Pacific American Women’s Forum.



NPR: Young Voters Turning Away from Obama

This just in from NPR: Young voters are turning away from President Obama. This comes after the GOP PAC targeting young voters

New GOP-PAC targets young people

Looks like the GOP is trying to broaden its base by reaching out to younger voters.

From the Huffington Post:

Crossroads Generation, a new super PAC formed with the help of a handful of established GOP groups, is tapping into the economic frustrations of under-30 voters facing dim job prospects, crippling student loans or the prospect of having to move back home with their parents.

Starting Monday, the PAC is launching a $50,000 social media ad campaign targeting younger voters in eight swing states, including Ohio and Virginia. Their ultimate goal: woo younger Americans to the Republican side, including some who supported Obama in 2008.

“Younger voters aren’t looking for a party label,” said Kristen Soltis, who advises the new super PAC’s communications. “They’re looking for someone to present a solution for how things are going to get better.”

Crossroads Generation is drawing upon $750,000 in seed money from GOP organizations like the College Republicans, the Young Republicans, the Republican State Leadership Committee and American Crossroads – itself a super PAC that has raised $100 million so far this election cycle to defeat Obama and will support the Republican nominee, very likely to be Mitt Romney.

So, will it work?

The Asian American Action Fund Endorses Hansen Clarke for Congress

The Asian American Action Fund Endorses Hansen Clarke for Congress

WASHINGTON, DC – The Asian American Action Fund (AAAF) today endorsed United States Representative Hansen Clarke for Congress. Congressman Clark is running for re-election in Michigan’s newly created 14th District.

“The Asian American Action Fund is extremely proud to support Hansen Clarke for a second term,” said AAAF executive director Gautam Dutta. “He is a great leader with practical solutions to the challenges facing Detroit and Southeast Michigan.”

Congressman Clarke is dedicated to bringing good jobs to Michigan, revitalizing neighborhoods, improving education, increasing public safety and restoring the public’s trust in government.

Congressman Clarke currently serves on the House Committees on Homeland Security and Science, Space and Technology. He is also a member of the Congressional Black Caucus and the Congressional Asian Pacific American Congress.

A lifelong resident of Detroit, Congressman Clarke graduated from Cornell University and holds a law degree from Georgetown. He previously served as Vice Chair of the National Conference of State Legislatures Trade, Economic Development and Cultural Affairs, the Michigan Law Revision Commission, as Past President of the Michigan Public Purchasing Officers Association, and as Treasurer
of the Michigan Legislative Black Caucus.

The AAA-Fund is a Democratic political action committee whose goal is to increase the voice of Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders (AAPIs) on every level of local, state and federal government in America. To achieve this goal, we address the chronic under representation of AAPIs as campaign volunteers, campaign contributors, and candidates for political office. The AAA-Fund has endorsed candidates across the country. For more information: http://www.aaa-fund.org/


Senator Harry Reid’s Statement on Asian American and Pacific Islander Month

Washington, D.C.- Nevada Senator Harry Reid issued the following statement in recognition of Asian-American and Pacific Islander (AAPI) Month:

“The month of May is an opportunity to celebrate Asian-American and Pacific Islander (AAPI) Heritage Month, and reflect upon the countless contributions this vibrant community has made to our country. Nevada, like America, is made stronger by its diversity.  Asians from all over the world have lived in Nevada and across the United States and called this country their home.  They have excelled  in the arts, commerce, academia, medicine, law, and government fields. They have enriched the lives of many Americans through cultural exchange, fought in wars to protect our freedom, and played an important role in our economy.

“I have worked throughout my time in Congress to represent the needs and interests of all Asian-Americans and Pacific Islanders, pushing for comprehensive immigration reform, ensuring equal access to health care, and providing more opportunities for small businesses to flourish.  I am proud to have co-sponsored a Senate Resolution  to commemorate Asian-American and Pacific Islanders Heritage Month highlighting  the significant contributions of this community.  This month I join my fellow Nevadans in celebration and extend my best wishes. “


AAI Supports UT Affirmative Action Policy in Fisher v UT

Editor’s note: This is from our friends at the Asian American Institute.

Later this year, the U.S. Supreme Court will hear the case of Fisher v. University of Texas at Austin (UT).  The Court will consider a challenge to the constitutionality of UT’s consideration of race as one factor in a holistic, individualized review of about 25 percent of its undergraduate applicants’ admissions profiles.

Two years ago when the Fisher case was before the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit, the Asian American Center for Advancing Justice (Advancing Justice), whose members are Asian Pacific American Legal Center (APALC), Asian American Justice Center (AAJC), Asian American Institute (AAI) and Asian Law Caucus (ALC), filed an amicus, or friend-of-the court, brief to support UT’s admissions policy.

We support affirmative action and diversity programs in admissions because we stand by the promise of integrated and equal public education set out in Brown v. Board of Education, the landmark U.S. Supreme Court case that declared legal racial segregation in public education to be unconstitutional.  Continuing the positive legacy of that seminal case, consideration of race in admissions programs addresses the need to level the playing field across all levels of education.

We still need affirmative action and diversity programs because racial segregation and discrimination continue to impede access to educational opportunity in this country today.  Many of our K-12 schools are more segregated today than they were 40 years ago.  Our schools are still separate and unequal in funding, class size, number of AP classes, and teacher turnover and experience.  This segregation and inequality affects not only African Americans and Latinos, but many underrepresented Asian American subgroups and Native Hawaiians and Pacific Islanders (NHPIs).  Asian Americans and NHPIs graduate from high school at lower rates than non-Hispanic whites, and disparities in high school and post-secondary graduation statistics are particularly stark for some ethnic groups like Hmong, Cambodian, Laotian and Vietnamese Americans, whose educational attainment rates are similar to those of Latinos and African Americans.  Far from being “race-neutral,” universities’ sole use of criteria like grades and test scores has been shown to unfairly capture and exacerbate those racial inequalities.  The reality of race must be taken into account to ensure equal access to our public universities.

Advancing Justice also believes that a truly integrated and diverse learning environment enhances students’ educational experiences and better prepares them for success in our increasingly multi-racial society.

Given the racial discrimination that persists against people of color, including Asian Americans and NHPIs, in many arenas, race-conscious strategies are fundamental to ensuring equal opportunity and access in all sectors of our diverse society. We further believe that students of all races will benefit from an expansion – instead of shrinking – of the public higher education system.  UCLA, which does not consider race as a factor in admissions, received more than 91,000 applications for approximately 5,400 spaces in the incoming fall 2012 class.  The lack of adequate resources for higher education is the primary, underlying cause that many qualified applicants – including Asian Americans and NHPIs -are denied admission.  It is this issue of expanding higher education resources that should be the focus of those who care about educational opportunity for Asian Americans and NHPIs

This summer, we will work together-and with you-to reaffirm our support for UT’s consideration of race as one of many factors in its admissions decisions by filing an amicus brief before the Supreme Court.

Advancing Justice is not alone in its support of affirmative action.  The Asian American Legal Defense and Education Fund (AALDEF) also released a statement, as did the Organization of Chinese Americans, affirming their commitment to affirmative action and diversity policies.

In addition, Sissy Trinh, Executive Director of the Southeast Asian Community Alliance which works with high school students in Los Angeles’ Chinatown, stated, “Southeast Asian American students often face barriers to higher education.  Taking into account the entirety of an applicant’s background and life experiences, including race, is important to ensure fair access to educational opportunities for Southeast Asians and other communities.”

 With your support, Advancing Justice can strengthen its work to ensure equal opportunity for all Asian American and NHPI communities.  Make your tax-deductible donation to your Advancing Justice affiliate, the Asian American Institute, today and help us continue the fight to protect important policies like the one at UT. To find out more about the Asian American Institute, please visit aaichicago.org or follow us on Facebook and Twitter.

Thank you for your continued support.


The Asian American Institute (www.aaichicago.org) is one of the leading pan-Asian nonprofit organizations in the Midwest, dedicated to empowering the Asian American community through advocacy, by utilizing research, education, and coalition-building. The Asian American Institute, Asian American Justice Center, Asian Law Caucus, and Asian Pacific American Legal Center are members of the Asian American Center for Advancing Justice.

HuffPo Looking for Citizen Journalists to Cover DNC, GOP Conventions

The Huffington Post is looking for citizen journalists to cover the Democratic and Republican conventions this summer! And they’ll even foot the bill!

From Howard Fineman:

We want to find the best, most creative citizen journalists in America and Canada and send them, at our expense, to Tampa and Charlotte and help us cover the scene in their own way, with their own vision and their own ideas.

Do you think you could and should be one of them? All you have to do — starting today and ending on June 29th — is send us an embeddable video explaining why we should choose you, what you would cover and which medium (or mix of them) you want to use to do so.

Send the video to offthebus@huffingtonpost.com. We’ll post it with others’ videos. (See full contest rules here.)

Then, with the help of our reader/viewers, HuffPost editors will select up to 24 citizen journalists to cover the Republican Convention in Tampa, Florida, August 27th to August 30th and the Democratic Convention in Charlotte, North Carolina, September 3rd to September 6th.

The winners — up to 12 for each convention — will get airfare, hotel accommodation for five nights, a per diem and access to The Huffington Post’s work/social sites near the conventions and to HuffPost and other newsmaker events.

Those interested should go ahead and apply and then let us know. Good luck!