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Naturalization should be accessible and affordable to all aspiring Americans, and Asian American and Pacific Islander communities have a lot to lose under the new changes to the citizenship exam.

By John C. Yang

As Asian Americans Advancing Justice — AAJC looks forward to working with the Biden Administration on meaningful immigration reform, we face the Trump Administration’s final attempts to deter immigrants from establishing roots in America. In December, the Administration established yet another unfair and unnecessary obstacle for those seeking to become Americans. This time, it targeted the nearly nine million lawful permanent residents who are eligible for U.S.citizenship. The tactic: suddenly overhauling the citizenship civics test.

The United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) rolled out a test that is much more complex and based on contested conservative philosophy, making it more difficult for lawful permanent residents to pass, especially those still learning English. USCIS failed to give a sound rationale for enacting these changes. …


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Advancing Justice | AAJC’s Top 10 Highlights of 2020

Everyone has been dramatically impacted by the events of the past year, and we want to acknowledge the hardships, struggles, and range of emotions that you have experienced in the past year. Through the ups and downs, we are grateful for the opportunities to work even harder for our Asian American communities across the country. We were able to stay connected virtually, work together on the census and elections, and fight back against anti-Asian/Asian American hate. …


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Here’s what was new, what we got more of, and what we said goodbye to in 2020. (Photo Credit: Comedy Central, IMDB, Rotten Tomatoes)

By Anika Raju

This year, we saw a significant amount of Asian American representation in film and television despite limitations in production placed by the COVID-19 pandemic. The following is a list of television shows and films released in 2020 which feature Asian Americans in prominent roles. We hope increased representation and more diverse stories become normalized in 2021 and the years to come.

New in 2020

1. All My Life

This romantic drama film features Jessica Rothe and Harry Shum Jr. as real-life couple Jennifer Carter and Solomon Chau. Happily engaged, the couple’s world is shaken when they learn that Solomon has liver cancer. …


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“Over the Moon” is an original Netflix animated feature about a young girl who, dealing with the loss of her mother, travels to the moon to prove the existence of legendary moon goddess, Chang’e. (Photo: Netflix)

By Vivin Qiang

Over the Moon is Netflix’s latest animated film led by a mostly Asian cast with veteran Disney animator, Glen Keane, as the director. The story, which was written by the late Audrey Wells, to whom the movie is dedicated to, originated from Chinese Mythology, the Goddess of the Moon Chang’e, who lives alone on the moon while longing for her husband, Houyi, on Earth. Fei Fei (Cathy Ang), the teenage protagonist is also dealing with a loss of her own, her mother who deeply believed in the story and spirit of Chang’e. …


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By Vivin Qiang

Today marks the day over two decades ago when Asian American scientist Dr. Wen Ho Lee became the target of racial scapegoating and profiling by his own country, and faced injustice as a result of a failure on all levels of government. On December 10, 1999, Dr. Lee was arrested and accused of providing nuclear secrets to the government of China. Despite lacking any evidence of economic espionage, Dr. Lee was jailed in solitary confinement for nine months without bail. Dr. …


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The Half of It weaves intersectional experiences and is one example of progress in representation this year.(Photo: screenrant.com)

By Anika Raju

Netflix film The Half of It premiered on May 1, 2020 and presents a major milestone in the representation of Asian Americans in mainstream media. Set in the small, fictional town of Squahamish, the film follows Ellie Chu, played by Leah Lewis, who is asked by football jock Paul to ghostwrite love letters to his crush. Ellie confronts the challenges of high school while also navigating her Asian American and LGBTQ+ identity.

Representation of the LGBTQ+ and Asian American communities in mainstream media is limited, making this film all the more significant. The Half of It highlights the intersectionality of Ellie’s identity and provides representation for LGBTQ+ Asian American youth. …


Saahas For A Cause on the importance of digital access for seniors.

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Saahas Youth transitioned from in-person to virtual classes to teach older adults about Zoom, WhatsApp, Microsoft Office, and more.

By Roshni Kohli, Anisha Chitta, Prisha Desai, Siya Mishra, and Aditi Kulkarani

Zoom, WhatsApp, Microsoft Office, and smartphones are just some digital tools and technologies that many of us take for granted, but they can be out of reach for older Americans. The youth chapter of the nonprofit Saahas for a Cause, Saahas Youth, is making it easier for older adults to improve their digital literacy in a series of classes, including incorporating Hindi into the classroom.

What are Saahas Youth’s Technology Classes?

The mission of our technology classes is to bridge the gap between the youth and South Asian seniors. Saahas in California is split into two teams, our Irvine team and our Cerritos team, who alternate in doing the presentations and topics are based on the requests of our seniors. Topics that our volunteers have taught in the past include the workings of WhatsApp, the ins-and-outs of Zoom, important aspects of the iPhone, and how to edit photos. These topics empower participants to connect with their community online. Expanding digital access is particularly important for Asian American communities that may face language barriers or may have historically been excluded from digital platforms. …


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By John C. Yang

There are 23 million Asian Americans living in the U.S., representing 6.5 percent of the American population 4.7% of U.S. eligible voters this year, but you wouldn’t know it from looking at the latest polling results in the media.

For two decades, Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders have been the fastest-growing ethnic groups. Yet Asian Americans remain invisible in national polling data: Recent Presidential polls from the Washington Post/ABC, New York Times/Siena, Economist/YouGov, NPR/PBS/Marist, and Quinnipiac all omit any data on Asian American preferences.

In the 2016 Presidential Election, six states were decided by 1.5 percent or less (Minnesota, Wisconsin, Michigan, Pennsylvania, New Hampshire, and Florida). All of these states have seen a growth in the Asian American population, and these numbers easily could have provided the margin of victory. Of course, it’s not just the Presidential elections in which Asian American votes make a difference. One in five Congressional districts have a population that is more than ten percent Asian American and Pacific Islander. …


Learn how to fill out the census online, what language resources are available, and how to answer questions about race and ethnicity.

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By Beth Lynk, Suher Adi, and Amber Nguyen

The census is a vital data collecting tool that enables us to have data on communities to better serve them and provide them with the resources they need. It also gives underrepresented groups a voice by allowing their members to be visible.

Recognizing the significance of an accurate count, many organizations have created resources to help community members fill out the census form in their preferred language. …


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(Artists: Angel Halafihi & Jason Pereira)

By Sina Uipi

Fakamalo pe mo fakafeta’i he ngaue kotoa pe kuo lava ke tau a’u mai kihe tu’unga ko eni, which in Tongan means, I give thanks and praise for all the work that has been done to reach this point. As the last days of the census deadline quickly approaches, I humbly reflect and give gratitude to all the effort made to ensure Native Hawaiians and Pacific Islanders get counted. There aren’t enough words to sum up the love, labor, and resilience our communities have endured before and during a pandemic. …

About

Advancing Justice | AAJC

Fighting for civil rights for all and working to empower #AAPIs to participate in our democracy. Follow: @johncyangdc @tao_minnis @meganessaheb

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