WE ARE READY! Are you?!

SEAFN National Campaign Launch Day: October 24th, 2015

SEAFN National Campaign Launch Day: October 24th, 2015

On October 24th, 2015 the Southeast Asian Freedom Network (SEAFN) successfully launched our campaign to end deportation and displacement, and reunite families. Southeast Asian American communities organized gatherings in 14 cities across the country, and in Phnom Penh, Cambodia, to view the new campaign launch video and strategize our next steps forward!

WHERE WE’VE BEEN

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Our SEAFN organizations,  along with many community and advocacy groups, have been relentlessly fighting deportation for over a decade through community storytelling and media, policy advocacy, leadership and political education, and coalition building. Although we have all made impact at the federal, state and local levels, our community continues to be targeted for deportation and family separation. But the most powerful result of our collective work over the years has been the building of a national network of Southeast Asian American leadership grounded in the humility of learning from our past, and inspired by love and belief in what is possible if we stand together today. We are trained through our own lived experience and community movement, we’re ready, we throw down for each other, and we will not give up.

WHERE WE ARE NOW

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After all these years of building, strengthening, advocating and organizing, we are at a watershed moment for the Southeast Asian American community. 2015 marks 40 years since Southeast Asian refugees began being resettled in the US. This year, SEAFN launches a new strategy and a collective campaign that calls our attention and organizing to the Repatriation Agreements between the US and our home countries – Vietnam, Cambodia, and Laos. It is in this year that SEAFN calls for us to UNITE as a Southeast Asian American community to demand an end to further displacement of our people by deportation.

WHERE WE’RE GOING

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As SEAFN, we stand united as passionate, loving, and committed organizations in our communities. We hold a vision bigger than all of us: A vision of our communities organized for justice and love to protect our human rights and live together with dignity for generations to come. As we enter this turning point for our communities, we believe with our whole hearts that we have a responsibility to our ancestors, an obligation to our elders, a pact to those lost in the streets and in the system, and a promise to our young people, to end our community’s intergenerational battle with displacement in all its forms.

HOW WE GET THERE

As the member organization of SEAFN focused on deportation, 1Love shares these principles we’ve learned along the way to guide us in this campaign:

  • We HONOR the sacrifice & movement history of those who came before us
  • We BELIEVE in the power of our community & grassroots organizing
  • We RESPECT the struggle & leadership of most impacted communities
  • We STRIVE to lead & act with love, vision, humility, understanding, & possibility
  • We COMMIT to doing the hard & continuous work of challenging ourselves to unite towards a common goal
  • We UNDERSTAND that our struggles are connected to the struggles of other communities, & we commit to stand in solidarity

If you’re with all this, then lets move! WE ARE READY! Are you?!

HERE’S WHAT YOU CAN DO RIGHT NOW!

  1. WATCH and share the new campaign launch video below
  2. SHARE this blog post with your networks
  3. SIGN-UP for campaign updates
  4. DONATE to the campaign

The US is currently deporting up to 10 of our community members to Cambodia each month. If you, or someone close to you, is facing deportation, our partners at Southeast Asia Resource Action Center (SEARAC) have released this guide to support individuals and families impacted by deportation. Please use, and share with your networks: Resource Guide for Southeast Asian Americans Facing Criminal Deportation

Southeast Asian Freedom Network (SEAFN) is a national collective of grassroots organizations working towards radical and transformational change led by those most impacted by systemic injustice. Member Organizations: 1Love Movement, Freedom Inc, Mekong NYC, Providence Youth Student Movement, VAYLA New Orleans, ManForward.

Press Release: National Campaign Launch to #EndDisplacement of our Communities, Oct 24th, 2015

For Immediate Release
Saturday, October 24th, 2015

National Campaign Launch to End Deportation in Southeast Asian American Communities

Philadelphia, PA – This year, 2015, marks 40 years since Southeast Asian communities resettled in the United States after displacement from our home countries (Lao, Cambodia, and Vietnam) due to US wars in Southeast Asia. It is in this year that we rise up as a UNITED Southeast Asian American community and demand an end to further displacement of our people by deportation.

For over two decades, the Southeast Asian American community has been fighting deportation – since the passing of the 1996 U.S. immigration laws and the signing of the Repatriation Agreement between the U.S. and Cambodia. We have been placed at the margins of criminal justice, U.S. immigration laws, and foreign policy. In the past, the fight was focused on overturning policies that target our community members with past criminal convictions, and their families. We see now, that the fight is in the streets of our community and with the deportees in Cambodia, Lao, and Vietnam, and must address repatriation agreements between the US and our home countries.

In this 40th year, the Southeast Asian Freedom Network (SEAFN) and 1LoveMovement presents the community with a new strategy and renewed energy!

During September 2015, 1Love Movement toured the United States to capture the struggles, voices, and visions of Southeast Asian community impacted by deportation. As a result of the tour—with love, tears, and support from the community, we will release a campaign launch video that showcases the stories of a community impacted by displacement and deportation. On this day, over 15 cities in the US and abroad will be hosting gatherings for the national launch of the campaign video. These cities include: Philadelphia, PA; Bronx, NY; Kansas City, KS; Bronx, NY; Providence, RI; St. Paul, MN; Madison, WI; Stockton, CA; San Diego, CA; Los Angeles, CA; Orange County, CA; Oakland, CA; Charlotte, NC; Washington, D.C; and Phnom Penh, Cambodia.

Furthermore, from October 2015 until April 2016, 1Love Movement will release one video every month to build a deeper understanding, share community stories, build power for our community, and a vision for the future.

For more information, please e-mail us at 1lovemovement2010@gmail.com. Visit our websites: 1lovemovement.wordpress.com or seafn.org | Follow us on Facebook: 1 LoveMovement / SEAFN-Southeast Asian Freedom Network | Instagram:@1lovemovement | Twitter: @1lovemovement1 / @SEAFN1

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The Southeast Asian Freedom Network (SEAFN) is a national collective of Southeast Asian grassroots organizing groups that works towards radical and transformational change led by those most impacted by systemic injustice.

Press Release: #SEAFN2Geneva fights deportation at the United Nations!

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For Immediate Release: Wednesday March 18, 2015

Activists call for an end to US deportations to Cambodia at the United Nations

Geneva, Switzerland – Naroen Chhin, Chanravy Proeung, and Chhaya Chhoum hail from Cambodian-American communities in Philadelphia, Providence, and the Bronx. This week they represent the Southeast Asian Freedom Network (SEAFN) delegation to the United Nations for the 22nd Session of the Universal Periodic Review (UPR) of the United States of America with the US Human Rights Network. The UPR is a mechanism of the United Nations Human Rights Council to review the human rights performance of all 193 UN Member States. The US is reviewed every four years, and this time will include the voices of Cambodian-American communities calling for an end to US deportations to Cambodia.

The SEAFN delegation will cite US human rights violations against the Cambodian community from 8 years of illegal US bombing of the Cambodian countryside beginning in 1965, to the secret signing of the US-Cambodia Repatriation Agreement that began the deportation crisis in the Cambodian-American community in 2002. SEAFN will call for “immediate recourse to begin to rectify over five decades of US human rights violations that have torn Cambodian families apart from Cambodia to the US, and back again.”

Chhaya Chhoum of Mekong NYC, stated, “US militarism in Southeast Asia led our country into genocide and war. Our families continue to experience deep trauma, and we must organize to heal our communities every day, this includes holding the US accountable for these conditions in our families and communities.” In addition to war trauma, “As Cambodian-Americans we were placed into a system of policing, criminalization, and incarceration rooted in structural racism and discrimination. On top of that, the 1996 US immigration laws took away our right to due process and fairness. We didn’t stand a chance against the US School-to-Prison-to-Deportation Pipeline,” said Naroen Chhin of 1Love Movement.

Citing systemic US violations of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights against the Cambodian community over the last 50 years – including Right to Life, Liberty and Security; Right to Education; Right to Due Process; Right to Family Unity; and Right to Democracy – the SEAFN delegation will call for an immediate suspension of all US deportations to Cambodia, an open review process of the US-Cambodia Repatriation Agreement that prioritizes democratic oversight and input from directly impacted communities, and the right to return. Chanravy Proeung, National Organizer of the Southeast Asian Freedom Network stated, “We have been rooted in an intergenerational struggle over the last five decades to keep our families together against unjust forces of US militarism, war, systemic poverty, education inequity, imprisonment, institutionalized racism, discrimination, and deportation. With over 500 Cambodian-American families broken apart since 2002, and over 4000 more awaiting the same fate, our human rights fight today, is deportation.”

  • Full document of US human rights violations and SEAFN demands HERE
  • More information on the Universal Periodic Review process HERE
  • Follow #SEAFN2Geneva on social media HERE

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The Southeast Asian Freedom Network (SEAFN) is a national collective of Southeast Asian grassroots organizing groups that works towards radical and transformational change led by those most impacted by systemic injustice.

SEAFN Member Groups: 1Love Movement, Freedom Inc., ManForward, Mekong NYC, Providence Youth Student Movement, SOY-Shades of Yellow, and VAYLA New Orleans.

40 YEARS LATER: US HUMAN RIGHTS VIOLATIONS & THE DEPORTATION OF CAMBODIAN-AMERICAN REFUGEES

The Universal Periodic Review of the United States of America

Second Cycle | Twenty-Second Session of the UPR | Human Rights Council

Southeast Asian Freedom Network 

2015 marks 40 years since Southeast Asian refugee communities were displaced by militarism and war, and began being resettled in the US. In recognition of our community’s deep resilience and power in the face of struggle, we continue our fight for justice and declare the following systemic US human rights violations against the Cambodian community over the course of the last five decades:

Universal Declaration of Human Rights, Article 3. Right to Life, Liberty and Security Between 1965-1973 the US dropped 2,756,941 tons of bombs, in a secret and illegal military campaign, across the countryside of Cambodia, which was an internationally declared neutral country. The destruction of 8 years of bombing led Cambodia into the hands of the rising, and genocidal leadership of the Khmer Rouge. April 17, 2015 will mark 40 years since the Khmer Rouge marched on Phnom Penh and vacated the city, forcibly leading families and children into the Killing Fields for the next 3 years, 8 months, and 20 days. During this time nearly 2 million people, approximately 21% of our population, lost their lives to genocide.

Universal Declaration of Human Rights, Article 25. Right to Food, Shelter and Health Beginning in the 1970s, there was a mass influx of Southeast Asians to the US due to war and political upheavals in their countries. A total of 1,146,650 Southeast Asians were resettled in the US from 1975-2002. Upon our arrival, the structures of support needed for our community to heal, survive, and grow, were not in place. Families were exploited for cheap labor, apartments and houses were falling apart, and as refugees we experienced deep trauma and mental health issues. A 2004 survey revealed that 70% of Cambodian-Americans exhibit signs of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) due to the loss of family members, experience of labor camps, and war.

Universal Declaration of Human Rights, Article 26. Right to Education, & Article 7. Right to Equality Before the Law Most Southeast Asian refugees were resettled into inhumane conditions in impoverished neighborhoods, making us vulnerable to poverty, crime, violence, structural disadvantage, racism, discrimination and profiling. Many young people fell through the cracks in an under-resourced education system unfit to meet their needs, leaving only 65% of Cambodian-American youth graduating from high school. Many enter into a highly functional and highly funded School-to-Prison Pipeline. Law enforcement agencies in cities across the country began coding Cambodian communities as “gang infested” and we were surveilled and profiled for arrest and incarceration. Over-policing of our community led to racial profiling, police brutality, and high incarceration rates, higher than any other Asian ethnic group in relation to the size of our population.

Universal Declaration of Human Rights, Article 10. Right to Due Process, Article 16. Right to Family Unity, & Article 9. Right to Freedom from Arbitrary Arrest, Detention, Exile In 1996, the US passed the Illegal Immigration Reform and Immigrant Responsibility Act (IIRIRA) and Anti-terrorism and Effective Death Penalty Act (AEDPA). These laws expanded “aggravated felony” to include offenses that are neither aggravated nor felonius under criminal justice law, but lead to deportation under immigration law. Judicial discretion and individualized deportation hearings were eliminated for those being deported for such “aggravated felonies,” leaving individuals stripped of their right to due process. Deportation for “aggravated felonies” also became permanent with no right to return, and was applied retroactively, leading to international human rights violations regarding proportionality of punishment, double jeopardy, and fairness under the law.

Universal Declaration of Human Rights, Article 21. Right to Democracy On March 22, 2002 the US signed a Repatriation Agreement with Cambodia and began deporting Cambodian-Americans. This agreement was signed without transparency, insight, or accountability to the community impacted. It was signed swiftly and secretly. Repatriation Agreements must be seen as human rights contracts, because they impact the livelihood and survival of individuals and families. These agreements need to reflect the unique conditions and experiences of the diaspora they apply to, and participating countries must be accountable to the impact of deportation on the diaspora, as well as the history and conditions of their displacement. As such, the creation of such agreements must be done through transparent, open, and democratic processes that prioritize the will of the people and insight of directly impacted communities.


As a Cambodian-American refugee community, we have been rooted in an intergenerational struggle over the last five decades to keep our families together against unjust forces of US militarism, war, systemic poverty, education inequity, imprisonment, institutionalized racism, discrimination, and deportation. With over 500 Cambodian-American families broken apart since 2002, and over 4000 more awaiting the same fate, our human rights fight today, is deportation.

REQUESTED ACTION

We call for immediate recourse to begin to rectify over five decades of US human rights violations that have torn Cambodian families apart from Cambodia to the US, and back again:

  1. We call for an immediate suspension of US deportations to Cambodia.
  2. We call for an open review process of the US-Cambodia Repatriation Agreement, which includes and prioritizes democratic oversight and input of impacted communities in the US and Cambodia.
  3. We call for amendments to the Repatriation Agreement that tailor its impacts to consider the individual and community experience of US human rights violations, and will protect those with these experiences from deportation.
  4. We call for amendments to the Repatriation Agreement that ensure humane, just, and fair structures of support for impacted families and individuals in the US and Cambodia, including economic stability, human and social services, employment infrastructure, visitation rights, and the right to return.

QUESTIONS TO THE US GOVERNMENT

  1. Will the United States commit to suspending US deportations to Cambodia until human rights issues can be rectified through amendments to the US-Cambodia Repatriation Agreement?
  2. Will the United States commit to undergoing an open review process of the current Repatriation Agreement with Cambodia which includes and prioritizes democratic oversight and input of impacted communities in the US and Cambodia?

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The Southeast Asian Freedom Network (SEAFN) is a national collective of Southeast Asian grassroots organizing groups that works towards radical & transformational change led by those most impacted by systemic injustice.

SEAFN Member Groups: 1Love Movement, Freedom Inc., ManForward, Mekong NYC, Providence Youth Student Movement, SOY-Shades of Yellow, and VAYLA New Orleans.

1Love and Friends Launch…THE 1996 BLOG!

Over the last 9 months, 1Love came together with allies and groups across the country who also work with their communities against criminal deportation, and the mass incarceration and mass deportation systems. We came together with a vision of breaking our isolation in this movement by creating a space for us to grow together. Through a collective process, this became The 1996 Blog! We are proud to present to you today the fruits of our collective thinking, vision, and commitment to this work and our solidarity with each other. Official release statement below, please share!

National Collective of Human Rights Groups Launch The 1996 Blog

Monday April 28, 2014 – In the national controversy surrounding immigration reform, presidential action, and a nationwide grassroots call for an end to all deportations, community members being deported for criminal convictions have been largely left out of the policy conversations. The 1996 Blog was created to draw the immigrant rights movement towards an analysis that fully encompasses the need for reform of two laws passed in 1996: the Anti-terrorism and Effective Death Penalty Act (AEDPA) and the Illegal Immigration Reform and Immigrant Responsibility Act (IIRIRA), known as the “1996 Laws.” These laws created a standard of mandatory and indiscriminate double punishment of immigrant community members who have interfaced with the criminal legal system.

Quyen Dinh, Executive Director of the Southeast Asia Resource Action Center stated, “Our communities across the country have been suffering under draconian immigration laws for almost 20 years, the same laws that have fueled a surge in the number of overall deportations. It’s time for us, as an immigrant rights movement, to address the 1996 laws and demand change that protects and uplifts all of our communities.”

“It is an age-old tactic of those in legislative power to create divisions by simplifying experiences and creating an atmosphere of judgment and labeling that forces communities to throw each other under the bus,” said Mia-lia Kiernan, National Organizer of 1Love Movement, “We came together to create this online space to talk, write, discuss and demand that our community’s complicated experiences of incarceration and deportation in this country is not spoken for us, but by us.”

The 1996 Blog will cover issues such as the good immigrant/bad immigrant narrative, the War on Drugs, the root causes of forced migration, social movement history against criminal deportation, the prison-industrial complex, policing and racial profiling, the school-to-deportation pipeline, unjust 1996 welfare, criminal and juvenile justice reforms, and many others.

“We want to broaden the understanding of our experience”, stated Abraham Paulos, Executive Director of Families for Freedom, “We can’t continue to fight mass deportation without fighting mass incarceration. These systems work intentionally together to remove people from our communities and break families apart.” Opal Tometi, Co-Director of Black Alliance for Just Immigration, added, “This isn’t solely a movement for immigrant rights, this is a movement for racial, social and economic justice that rests in our country’s history of exploitation and oppression of communities of color.”

Follow the blog at www.1996blog.org and contact the Editorial Committee at 1996blogpost@gmail.com

The 1996 Blog Committee Members: 1Love Movement, American Friends Service Committee – Immigrant Rights Program, Asian Americans Advancing Justice – Asian Law Caucus, Black Alliance for Just Immigration, Families for Freedom, Immigrant Defense Project, Immigrant Legal Resource Center, National Immigration Project of the National Lawyers Guild, Silicon Valley De-Bug, Southeast Asia Resource Action Center

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