OCA News

Online journal to share and post news stories relevant to the OCA's mission....
  • Thursday, September 19, 2013 11:27 PM | Anonymous
    The Capital Region Community Coalition invites you to the 12th Annual Voters Education Forum
    co-sponsored by OCA Sacramento - Asian Pacific American Advocates
    1:00 - 5:00PM
    Sunday, September 29, 2013
    1:00-2:00PM Keynote
    2:00-4:00PM Topic Workshops
    4:00-5:00PM Appreciation Mixer
    California State University, Sacramento
    6000 J Street (University Union

  • Friday, August 09, 2013 3:32 PM | Anonymous

    OCA – Asian Pacific American Advocates would like to remind you about the deadlines for the upcoming programs and opportunities available for students across the country.   

    Campus based APIA U: Leadership Training to date has reached thousands of students. These emerging leaders from all over the country are exposed to awareness raising and skills building sessions within a social justice framework. The one day training provides a foundation for students to become more involved on campus and in their communities. Two experienced facilitators guide 30-60 students through hands-on exercises, workshops, and discussions focused on APIA identity, history, leadership skills, and social justice. Through personal and group reflections, participants are asked to share their experiences, analysis and develop leadership tools in order to effectively serve as life-long catalysts for social change. Students are encouraged to register early based on the deadlines provided. 

    For over a decade, this program has been made possible through a generous support provided by State Farm®.  We are currently seeking campuses and student leaders to host this life changing program for the 2013-2014 Fall/Winter Semester. Deadline to apply has been extended to August 11, 2013 for the Fall Semester. For more information on the APIA U: Leadership Training Program go to OCA’s website at www.ocanational.org and click “APIA U” under “Programs.” Click here to directly go to the online host application.   

    Internship applications for the Fall 2013-2014 Semester are now being accepted. This is a ten week paid internship program and  interns will be working at the OCA National Center in various departments.  Full-time and part time positions are available for the Fall Semester.    

    This unique program seeks to cultivate future leaders by providing students from all over the country an opportunity to be involved in the political process through one of the largest national advocacy organization for APAs. The program has successfully led past interns to become more actively involved in their college campuses and join the growing movement of APA leadership at the cross section of government, nonprofits, and business.

    Please click here to view the different positions that are available. Applications and all materials need to be submitted by Wednesday August 14, 2013 tointernship@ocanational.org.

  • Sunday, July 14, 2013 12:45 AM | Anonymous

    2013 marks OCA’s 40th year of service to Chinese Americans, Asian Pacific Americans and ALL Americans. Service in terms of fighting for and defending the civil rights for all of us here in America. Core to OCA’s mission is fundamentally affirmative action.  OCA seeks to advance the social, political, and economic well-being of Asian Pacific Americans in the United States. OCA has never wavered in our defense of affirmative action whether to gain college admissions, to rise to the executive suites in the workplace, or to have a fair shot in winning business contracts.

    It is regrettable that the 80-20 Initiative has recently publically criticized many Asian Pacific American civil rights organizations and their leaders for advocating on behalf of the underprivileged members of our community.  80-20 has questioned our community’s stalwart civil rights organizations including: OCA, Asian American Justice Center, Asian Pacific American Legal Center, and the Asian American Legal Defense Fund for taking a stand in support of protecting affirmative action while the Fisher vs. University Texas Case was taken up by the U.S. Supreme Court.  (Attachment A & B)

    OCA has and continues to respect differences in opinions and positions on a variety of issues within our organization and certainly within the broader APA community. OCA is an organization that is made up of diverse perspectives and analysis. On affirmative action, it is expected that OCA has people supporting and opposing it.   

    Nevertheless, the consensus held by the OCA National Leadership and members remain firmly committed to upholding affirmative action based on the notion that while each candidate for education or employment may present various qualifications and qualities, race and ethnicity among these characteristics should never be ignored. Purely “race neutral” or so called
    “merit-based” methodology is a rarely reliable means for achieving fairness for employment as well as access to education.   

    That is why the OCA Executive Council feels compelled at this time to publicly address this issue and by  restating our commitment to affirmative action. Our Affirmative Action Statement passed in 1998 (Attachment C) was upheld, reaffirmed at the OCA National Board Meeting in April 2012.

    In the 21st Century, instead of discrimination based on race, ethnicity, gender, sexual orientation, and disability, this nation should be celebrating diversity and inclusiveness in education and in the work force. Not only because this is morally correct but there is tremendous value in considering the whole person. We have now shifted to a societal norm which relies on not just tests and grades, but also other attributes that demonstrates assets or potential for leadership, innovation, and relational contributions. This is the world that OCA strives to perfect for people of all races and ethnicities.

  • Monday, July 01, 2013 11:17 PM | Anonymous

    WASHINGTON, D.C. – OCA – Asian Pacific American Advocates, a national membership driven organization dedicated to advancing the political, social, and economic well-being of Asian Pacific Americans (APAs), is closely monitoring the deadlock within the United States Senate regarding the imminent increase to the federal Subsidized Stafford Loan interest rate.

    On July 1st, federal Subsidized Stafford Loan interest rates will increase from 3.4 to 6.8 percent unless the Senate can come to some kind of a decision about how to fix this issue. However, the Senators can retroactively reinstate a limit on these interest rates after their return from the 4th of July recess.

    “We are very concerned about the current situation in the Senate,” says Sharon M. Wong, OCA National President, “The interest rates of these loans have just doubled, and that is extremely concerning. We encourage our Senators to come to a swift but thoughtful resolution to this situation.”
    Two of the ideas currently being considered in the Senate include a bipartisan plan to decrease student loan interest rates by bonding it to the interest rate of the U.S. Treasury note. However, this plan could potentially increase the interest rates to over 6.8 percent in the long-run. Additionally, some senators have called for an extension to the 3.4 percent interest rate in order to devise another long-term solution. As of now, the Senate is in a deadlock regarding this issue. 

    “The Senate has an obligation to create a fair and balanced policy solution to prevent the interest rates from doubling.  Post-secondary tuition is already a barrier to higher education in the APA community. We cannot afford to create more obstacles for students,” says Tom Hayashi, OCA Executive Director, “This is a very serious concern for us, and we are closely monitoring this to see how it develops.”

  • Monday, July 01, 2013 11:16 PM | Anonymous

    WASHINGTON, D.C. – OCA – Asian Pacific American Advocates, a national membership driven organization dedicated to advancing the political, social, and economic well-being of Asian Pacific Americans (APAs), applauds the United States Senate for passing S.744, the Border Security, Economic Opportunity, and Immigration Modernization Act.

    On June 27th, the United States Senate passed S.744 by a vote of 68-32. In addition to broader national and border security measures, the bill will also provide a pathway to citizenship for over 1 million undocumented APA individuals. Additionally, it would remove the backlog of family visas by 2021 and would allow for the immediate reunification of spouses and minor children of lawful permanent residents. 

    “The Asian Pacific American community has waited a long time for comprehensive immigration reform. With the passage of this bill, we are one step closer to legalizing and reuniting all APA families,” says Sharon M. Wong, OCA National President.

    However, in light of those gains, the bill has removed sibling and adult children over the age of 31 from family members eligible for sponsorship to the United States under the definition of family reunification. It is up to the House of Representatives to decide whether or not they should limit the scope of families.

    “Our senators have worked tirelessly to pass an immigration reform bill that has been desperately needed,” says Tom Hayashi, OCA Executive Director, “It is unfortunate that in this process, siblings and children over 31 were eliminated from eligible sponsorship. However, we are not deterred and will remain committed to advocating for APA families and an inclusive definition of family reunification. We hope that our representatives share our sentiment and, in the coming months, will stand for strong communities and families to pass a comprehensive immigration reform bill in the House.”

    As we wait for the House of Representatives to pass their version of the bill, OCA will continue to stand in solidarity with APA families and advocate for fair, common sense, and humane immigration reform.

  • Thursday, June 27, 2013 11:39 PM | Anonymous

    Call Your Senators and Demand them to Pass Comprehensive Immigration Reform

    OCA – Asian Pacific American Advocates, a national membership driven organization dedicated to advancing the social, political, and economic well-being of APAs, encourages its members, constituents, and advocates across the country call your senators and encourage them to vote YES! on S.744, the Comprehensive Immigration Reform Bill now!

    The Senate will cast a final vote on S.744 today at 4 pm EST. It is up to you to help OCA and our APA allies push for comprehensive immigration reform!

    Call your Senators today and demand that they vote yes on the S.744. If you do not know their phone number, call (202) 224-3121 or CLICK HERE.

    Together, we can call on Congress to pass fair, common sense, and humane immigration reform. 


  • Thursday, June 27, 2013 11:37 PM | Anonymous

    WASHINGTON, D.C. – OCA – Asian Pacific American Advocates, a national membership driven organization dedicated to advancing the political, social, and economic well-being of Asian Pacific Americans (APAs), supports the United States Supreme Court’s decision to forgo ruling on Hollingsworth v. Perry. 

    In a 5-4 decision, the United States Supreme Court decided that the plaintiff did not have standing to appeal the lower court decision. This means that the lower court opinion to repeal Proposition 8 will be held, and same-sex marriages will officially be recognized in the state of California. California has one of the largest APA and lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) populations in the United States. Without Prop 8 in place, hundreds of thousands of LGBT APA will now have the same access to marriage that many of opposite-sex couples already do. 

    “It was less than ten years ago when there were laws in the United States that made it more or less illegal to just be gay,” says Sharon M. Wong, OCA National President, “That we can stand here today and say that same-sex marriage is legal in the state of California is a testament to the amazing organization and work of the LGBT and APA allied communities.”

    Today’s decision was a stepping stone for civil rights. However, even though this ruling was a triumph for California, there are still 37 states where same-sex marriage is illegal. As we celebrate today’s victories after a string of disappointing decisions by the US Supreme Court, we as a community and, certainly as an organization, must continue to push the arc of justice beyond marriage rights to address homophobia, including hate crimes against LGBT APAs. 

    “Although I am glad that the end result of the Supreme Court’s decision was a step forward for civil rights, I do not believe that they went far enough,” says Tom Hayashi, OCA Executive Director, “If the Supreme Court had taken the case, they could have potentially paved the way to legalize same-sex marriage across all fifty states.” 

  • Thursday, June 27, 2013 11:35 PM | Anonymous

    WASHINGTON, D.C. – OCA – Asian Pacific American Advocates, a national membership driven organization dedicated to advancing the political, social, and economic well-being of Asian Pacific Americans (APAs), applauds the United States Supreme Court for striking down the federal Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) on equal protection grounds.

    In a 5-4 decision on the United States v. Windsor case, the United States Supreme Court struck down DOMA as unconstitutional for violating the equal protection clause under the Fifth Amendment. Because of this, hundreds of thousands of lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) APA couples will now have access to over a thousand federal benefits in states that allow same-sex marriage.

    “OCA is proud of the Supreme Court’s Decision,” says Tom Hayashi, OCA Executive Director, “This will provide over a thousand federal benefits to many lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender Asian Pacific Americans that they have been wrongfully denied. As an immigrant community, many LGBT APA couples have transnational partners. They will now have the ability to sponsor their spouse over to the United States, a very important concern for us. This decision is a incredible step forward for LGBT, APA, and immigrant civil rights.”

    We believe that this is a monumental step forward for the APA community, especially for those of us who are LGBT. It is our belief that in time, legal decisions such as the DOMA case, will pave the way for acceptance, equality and equity for all of us. They will help create a country that will not only allow same-sex couples to marry in all 50 states, but also extinguish bullying because of sexual orientation, race, or ethnic identity.

    “There are many lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender Asian Pacific Americans,” says Sharon M. Wong, OCA National President, “And every person, regardless of their sexual orientation or gender identity, deserves to have the same equal protection and benefits under the law. This is just one step among many needed to create a better world for all of us.”

    OCA is committed to protecting and advancing civil rights for the APA community. And we stand in solidarity with the APA LGBT community to celebrate this historic civil rights victory and to press forward at the local level to advocate for same-sex marriage in the other 37 states that do not legally recognize them. 

  • Wednesday, June 26, 2013 11:07 AM | Anonymous

    WASHINGTON, D.C. – OCA – Asian Pacific American Advocates, a national membership driven organization dedicated to advancing the political, social, and economic well-being of Asian Pacific Americans (APAs), is deeply concerned by the United States Supreme Court’s decision to strike down Section 4 of the Voting Rights Act (VRA).

    In the case of Shelby County v. Holder, the United States Supreme Court ruled 5-4 that Section 4 of the VRA is unconstitutional. The majority opinion holds that the formula found in Section 4 is no longer necessary, citing a large increase in voter turnout among African Americans in states subjected to federal scrutiny by the Department of Justice under Section 5. The formula has protected the APA and other historically disenfranchised communities from further voter suppression.

    “The Voting Rights Act has protected minority groups from voter suppression efforts in states with a long history of explicit discrimination against people of color and has also increased voter registration and turnout among APA and other politically oppressed groups,” says Tom Hayashi, OCA Executive Director, “However, there is still a long way to go before we can say that the standard put in place by Section 4 is no longer necessary. This decision is an incredible setback to civil rights and the ability of the APA community to fully engage in the civic process.”

    In 2012, both Florida and Texas reportedly identified and purged hundreds of thousands of ineligible voters using lists complied from outdated and inaccurate data. Although the lists were intended to target only ineligible voters, hundreds of eligible individuals were also removed. The process to reregister is a burden on the APA and other minority communities due to language barriers, socioeconomic disparities, and lack of access to services, among many others issues. And the fact that these practices continued despite the eligible voters disenfranchised through these purges reveals their discriminatory nature. These and other attacks on voting rights are reasons why declaring Section 4 unconstitutional is detrimental to civil rights and the APA community.

    “Removing Section 4 of the Voting Rights Act could lead to even more oppressive voting rights efforts in states with a history of racial discrimination beyond voter purges and voter identification laws,” says Sharon M. Wong, OCA National President, “Many Asian Pacific Americans do not have the necessary documents or the capacity to obtain these documents. This decision is a great loss for our community.”

    OCA is remains committed to protecting the civil rights of the APA community. We encourage our members of Congress to stand with us and create a new formula that continues to protect and increase voter turnout amongst historically disenfranchised communities

  • Tuesday, June 25, 2013 11:18 PM | Anonymous

    WASHINGTON, D.C. – OCA, a national organization dedicated to advancing the political, social, and economic well-being of Asian Pacific Americans (APAs), applauds the U.S. Supreme Court for its carefully crafted legal opinions which reaffirmed higher education policies that consider racial and ethnic diversity as one factor among many in awarding college admissions.

    In a 7-1 decision on Monday, June 24, 2013, the United States Supreme Court withheld the decision for the Fisher v. University of Texas at Austin on the grounds that the Fifth Circuit Court did not follow the precedent set by a previous case when determining the legality of UT-Austin’s race-conscious admission policies. The case will be handed down to the Fifth Circuit for further review. Although the Supreme Court vacated a decision on the Fisher case, their language continues to uphold their previous rulings favoring equal opportunity in higher education.

    Affirmative action admissions policies alleviate past historical discrimination to create a more equitable playing field for all APA students. A diverse student body is a necessity for fostering a culturally competent, innovative workforce to meet the demands of the global economy in the 21st Century.

    Tom Hayashi, OCA Executive Director, says that “We ardently hope that the Court of Appeals will uphold the University of Texas’ admission policy. Race-conscious admission policies create a more equitable educational landscape for APA students, foster a diverse perspective in the classroom, and develop a multicultural workforce.”

    Additionally, the diversity within the APA community means that aggregated data often hide serious socioeconomic disparities. When broken down into smaller subgroups, the statistics show that Southeast Asians and Pacific Islanders have some of the highest rates of poverty and lowest high school attainment rates in the country. Affirmative action is necessary to give students from these and other similar backgrounds equitable access to access educational opportunities.

    “Many APA students do not come from families that look like the model minority,” says Sharon Wong, OCA President, “Our students face many educational barriers: some come from first generation, refugee families and have had their educations compromised because they went to poorly funded schools or work demanding jobs to help their family survive. Admission policies that carefully consider racial and ethnic diversity as one of many individualized factors create a more level playing field for all students.”

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