Community Spotlight

Fresno Interdenominational Refugee Ministries (FIRM) staff and community members at the 2023 "Right to Heal" event at California State University, Sacramento. (Credit: FIRM)

SEARAC and California partners uplift our communities’ Right to Heal

This month, SEARAC joined our California-based advocacy and health services partners to host the third annual The Right to Heal: Centering Mental Health Multi-Racial Equity in California". Individuals, community organizations, and clinical providers from across the state gathered at Sacramento State University to learn more about the mental health needs of diverse communities in California. Together, they built connections across regions and community members to identify assets and needs, developed strategies to sustain regional mobilization efforts led by local partners, discussed the latest findings from this year’s listening sessions, created learning opportunities, and empowered people to advocate for themselves, their loved ones, and their communities to improve mental health and wellness through celebration and promotion of cultural practices and language.

Staff Blog

Jewelry Keodara reflects on her “journey of advocacy and allyship”

SEARAC Summer Policy Intern Jewelry Keodara joined us in Washington, DC, in July for our 24th annual Leadership and Advocacy Training (LAT) program. “Coming into LAT, I was so scared of not making connections, getting lost in the city, and embarrassing myself in front of the representative and senate teams. Instead, over the span of three days, I ended up finding myself, discovering my power and voice, and gaining knowledge and connection with some of the most extraordinary individuals I have ever met. If 10-year-old me could see me now, I believe she would be proud of us.” Read Jewelry’s staff blog here.


Data Equity

SEARAC, our partners, and the US Census Bureau host webinar on Hmong Census data.

SEARAC demands more inclusive, disaggregated Census data

This month, the US Census Bureau released the first population dataset from the 2020 Census for approximately 1,500 detailed racial and ethnic groups. The dataset includes disaggregated data for Cambodian, Hmong, Laotian, and Vietnamese communities, and for the first time, disaggregated data for a number of additional Southeast Asian American (SEAA) groups, including Iu-Mien, Lahu, and Tai Dam. However, this release does not include disaggregated data for many other SEAA populations. Additionally, the Census continues to classify the Hmong as East Asian instead of Southeast Asian, despite community concern. 

In response, SEARAC hosted a webinar alongside our community partners and the US Census Bureau to learn more about the Hmong population count, age/sex data, and geographic distributions across the country. You can watch the recording of the webinar here


The public availability of Southeast Asian American communities in official US Census Bureau data is essential for our communities’ experiences to be made visible to policymakers and to ensure that resources are allocated equitably to SEAA communities across the country. As we celebrate the increasing visibility of SEAAs and the potential of the new data to ensure equity for refugee populations, SEARAC urges greater engagement of our communities by the Bureau to ensure that subsequent data are even more inclusive, accurate, and honors our right to self-identification. Read our full statement here.


Quyên Đinh, Executive Director of SEARAC, delivers remarks at the reintroduction of the Reuniting Families Act. (Credit: Anna Byon)

Advocating for family reunification with the reintroduction of the Reuniting Families Act

The Reuniting Families Act (RFA) was reintroduced Rep. Judy Chu (CA-28) this month and. The RFA would streamline the United States’ family immigration system – which has not been updated in over 20 years – to ensure the timely and humane reunification of immigrant and refugee families. As the largest refugee community ever resettled in the United States, family sponsorship has long been a crucial avenue to reunite Southeast Asian American families separated by war. Quyên Đinh, Executive Director of SEARAC, shared, “The Reuniting Families Act would ensure that immigrant and refugee families are made whole again and make the US immigration system more humane for countless families that simply want to live with and care for their loved ones.”


Celebrating President Biden's proclamation of AANAPISI Week

SEARAC celebrates celebrates President Biden’s proclamation of September 25 through October 1, as Asian American and Native American Pacific Islander-Serving Institutions (AANAPISI) Week 2023. We reflect on our legacy of advocating for education equity and leading the push for the creation of AANAPISIs. “SEARAC remains steadfast in our commitment to advocate for policies that open the doors of opportunity for our students. All students, including Southeast Asian American students, deserve the resources and opportunities to fulfill their dreams and ambitions,” Quyên Đinh, SEARAC Executive Director stated. Read our full statement here.

The SEAA Collaborative has launched a brand new website

SEARAC's Southeast Asian American (SEAA) Collaborative website, a digital space that showcases the work of the SEAA Collaborative, is live. Visitors can learn about the Collaborative's mission and values, meet the members, and get involved with the coalition. Our new site also uplifts the important work that the SEAA Collaborative has been doing since our founding in 2018.

SEARAC in the News

Lan Le (left) and Sophea Phea (right) speak out in support of the Southeast Asian Deportation Relief Act at a virtual press conference. (Credit: AsAm News)

AsAmNews uplifts the Southeast Asian Deportation Relief Act

Last month, SEARAC and our partners at the Southeast Asian Freedom Network (SEAFN) joined Rep. Judy Chu and dozens of community members, impacted individuals, advocates, allies, and members of the media to reintroduce the Southeast Asian Deportation Relief Act (SEADRA) into Congress. Akemi Tamanaha wrote a recap of the virtual event for AsAmNews, uplifting the speakers’ powerful stories and the impact that this groundbreaking legislation would have on Southeast Asian American communities. Read it here.


Study on culture and connection among Southeast Asian Americans

Researchers from University of Wisconsin-Madison are seeking participants for a study to better understand how experiences related to racial and ethnic cultural identity affect people’s sense of connection with others. Individuals 18 years or older of Hmong, Lao, Vietnamese, or Cambodian descent are encouraged to participate in the online study. The study can be accessed here. For any questions about the study, please contact Zoua Lor at:


Join Voices of the Highlands & SEAC Village for upcoming career panel

Voices of the Highlands and SEAC Village are hosting a college and career panel on Oct 3, 7-8pm ET. Panelists representing diverse fields including tech, healthcare, non-profit, creative writing, and culinary arts will share insights on their careers.

Are you in high school or college thinking about your next step? Are you considering a career change? Then join the call! Register in advance here.


Study on disabled Asian Americans’ attitudes about culture and disability

Researchers at Oregon State University are conducting a new study on disabled Asian Americans’ attitudes about culture and disability. If you are an Asian American adult living in the United States with any type of disability (including physical, cognitive, neurological, vision, hearing, speech, psychiatric, chronic health conditions, or any other disability), please consider joining this brief survey. You can learn more here. For any questions about the study, please contact Sydney Tran at:

SEARAC is a national civil rights organization that builds power with diverse communities from Cambodia, Laos, and Vietnam to create a socially just and equitable society. As representatives of the largest refugee community ever resettled in the United States, SEARAC stands together with other refugee communities, communities of color, and social justice movements in pursuit of social equity. 

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