2014 Semiannual Review of OCA Projects
OCA National News
Doug Chin represented our chapter at the OCA National meeting in Houston in April. At the meeting, our chapter was able to pass a resolution regarding hepatitis B – which disproportionately affects Asians – mandating OCA National to “ask the Armed Forces Committees of both houses of the U.S. Congress to approve legislation requiring the Department of Defense to amend its chronic Hepatitis B policy, provide reasonable accommodation, and cease disqualifying or discharging persons from military service.” At the same meeting, OCA’s National Board also passed a resolution in support of the Voting Rights Act Amendment of 2014 to “continue to protect the voting rights of all Americans; attempt to prevent the disenfranchisement of historically marginalized groups; and preserve the voting rights of emerging minority communities in traditionally homogeneous white communities.”
OCA National Convention: OCA’s National Convention will take place in Los Angeles, August 7 – 10. This year’s theme is: “On Location for Advocacy.”
OCA Greater Seattle News
Golden Circle Awards: Some 225 persons attended our annual Golden Circle Awards, which took placed on February 8 at Joy Palace Restaurant. The Honorees were Bettie Luke, Donnie Chinn (International District Emergency Center), Seattle Chinatown International District Preservation and Development Authority, and Joyce Pisnanont. Angelo Salgado, one of our new board members, chaired this year’s event.
Targeted Local Hire: OCA Greater Seattle joined other organizations to support the Targeted Local Hire Resolution. In recent years,the percentage of workers that lived in Seattle that worked on all the public works projects funded by the City of Seattle total a meager 6 percent. [The percentage of Asian Pacific Islander workers was one percent.] Cities like Los Angeles and San Francisco already have resolutions promoting the local hiring of workers on their Public Works projects. If passed by the Seattle City Council, this resolution will do the same.
Chinese in Washington State book: We began marketing the book and so far have sold about 200 books to local bookstores, libraries and museums. An effort will be made to sell to local schools.
Police Chief Jeffrey Chen: OCA Greater Seattle has supported former City of Medina Police Chief Jeffrey Chen in his 3-year discrimination case against Medina’s city administration. There are few Chinese Americans who hold the title of police chief and due to the high profile nature of this case, OCA felt the need to ensure that Mr. Chen received all the rights allowed by law so that he is treated fairly. Medina is currently appealing a $2 million verdict in favor of Mr. Chen which included back pay, loss of income and $100,000 in emotional damages. OCA Greater Seattle has used its network to bring more public attention and scrutiny to this case.
UW SE Asian Recruiter: Earlier this year the UW eliminated a vital position to the Asian community, the position of Southeast Asian Recruiter, which seeks students of Southeast Asian heritage to attend the UW. The Asian Pacific Islander community felt this was a significant setback to the educational efforts of prospective Southeast Asian students who dream of attaining a college education. The Southeast Asian community does not have equal access to higher education and the UW’s approach in combining all the Asian groups has an adverse effect on prospective Southeast Asian students desiring to attend the UW. OCA in conjunction with other members of our vast Asian community have met with UW administration and demanded that UW reinstate this position so that the Southeast Asian community has access to a quality education.
2014-2015 Spectrum Scholar: Congratulations to our Treasurer Chi Saeteurn on being named a 2014-2015 Spectrum Scholar! Chi is pursuing her Masters in Library and Information Science at the San Jose State University School of Library and Information Science and was also recently promoted into a temporary Library Associate IV position in the Southwest Region here at Seattle Public Library. The Spectrum Scholarship Program is the American Library Association’s national diversity recruitment effort for librarians.
King County Election Committee: Over the past year, our board member Bruce Huang learned about King County elections operations and attended Election Observer training. Bruce introduced himself at APACE (Asian Pacific American Coalition for Equality)board meeting and garnered their support. He reached out to King County’s Citizens’ Elections Oversight Committee Chinese speaking representative, Susanna Chung, and met with King County Elections Section 203 (of the Voting Rights Act) staff Collen Kwan for background and advice on this position as the Chinese rep. He then worked with King County Councilperson Rod Dembowski’s staff to come up with creative ways to expand limited English proficiency services beyond languages that are currently covered by Section 203. Bruce also attended the National Commission on Voting Rights’ Pacific Northwest hearing and provided testimony on the success of King County Elections and the shortcomings of upholding Section 203.
Seattle Social Security Office. For over two years, we have joined forces with other community groups to protest the closing of the Social Security branch office in the International District and its relocation to the Federal Building in downtown Seattle.The move to the Federal Building has resulted in a significant reduction in client visits — a 25% overall and a 60% drop among English as a Second Language clients. A recent report by the U.S. Senate Special Committee on Aging, confirms our findings: It was found that the Social Security Administration has been closing offices and reducing services “generally, without considering the needs of communities and without consulting beneficiaries or field office managers.” OCA Greater Seattle will continue to press the local Social Security Administration to establish a branch office in Southeast Seattle, to better serve APIs and others in Seattle.
Tacoma Arts Museum. We continue to meet with TAM Administration to push for the acquisition of Chinese American art and to encourage TAM to provide funds to construct a memorial of some sort in Tacoma that reflects on the anti-Chinese riots in that city in 1885. It appears that TAM is willing to consider local Chinese Americans as part of the team that will acquire Chinese American art and that TAM is prioritizing the construction of a memorial on a piece of property that was formerly owned by the railroads, located in-between TAM and University of Washington/Tacoma.
Walk in the Park/Spring Luncheon. About 50 members attended the OCA-Greater Seattle’s Spring Luncheon and were treated to a delicious 11-course meal at Seven Stars Pepper Szechuan Restaurant on Saturday, May 24th. Before the luncheon, a number of the attendees joined us for our ‘Walk in the Park’ series at nearby Jose Rizal Park and Daejeon Park.&