Sunday, April 30, 2017

Full military honors for FilAm WWII veteran

Florence Ebersole Smith Finch

ONCE, there was a woman living in my suburban hometown that everyone loved. She was a spiritual leader, a community leader and one of the elders, a first generation immigrant from the Philippines. I only knew her in that context but I never really knew Mrs. Candida Ripalda.

It wasn't until late in her life that I learned that during World War II, she was a spy for the U.S. and that she spoke five languages. It was this latter ability made her valuable to the invaders of the Philippines because she was able to speak Japanese, English, Spanish and two or three Filipino dialects. It didn't hurt that she was attractive and intelligent.

She was employed by the Japanese as a translator and secretary. It that position she was able employ her skills to access and share the information she learned while working for the Japanese military with the guerrilla forces fighting against the invaders. 

If you knew her as I did, as one of the elderly ladies in the community to whom we younger Filipino American kids honored and showed respect, you would never suspect the close calls and intrigue that laced through her wartime exploits.

I was reminded about Mrs. Ripalda's WWII heroic exploits when I heard the story of Florence Ebersole Smith Finch.

When Mrs. Smith passed away last Dec. 8, at the age of 101, her friends were surprised to learn how their friend was held captive by the Japanese during World War II. She was tortured and forced to curl up in a 2-foot-by-4-foot box.

As a secretary for the Japanese military, she was able to pass supplies and information to the Filipino resistance.

Her role as a spy was discovered in 1944 when she was imprisoned and tortured. When U.S. forces found her in a POW camp, she weighed only 80 lbs. according to her daughter, Betty Murphy.

Despite being tortured with electricity and forced to spend weeks in a confined space that forced her into a squatting position, Finch never divulged the information her interrogators sought, Murphy said.

After the war, Mrs. Finch was awarded the Medal of Freedom, one of America's highest civilian honors.

Last Saturday, April 29, she was buried in Ithaca, New York, with full military honors.

Like many Asians, Mrs. Finch and Mrs. Ripalda didn't want to share their stories lest people think that they were bragging to bring attention to themselves. 

There must be hundreds more untold stories of our elders that must be told. The men and women who endured the racism earlier in the last century, who were forced into internment camps, who fought in the Vietnam War.

Like Mrs. Ripalda and Mrs. Finch, the stories of the heroes among us need to be recorded and told. especially this month of May, Asian Pacific Islander Heritage Month to help counter the image many non-Asians have of us as foreigners in our own country. Our family stories are American stories.

Elderly woman killed trying to help her friend; hailed as a hero

FUSAKO PETRUS tried to help a friend who was being attacked. She was 86-years old and used a cane to walk, but that didn't stop her from her heroic act.

Fusako Petrus
But the young man was too strong for the frail senior citizen. The man punched and kicked the two women, as another person at the track called authorities.

In northern California, Sacramento County Sheriff's Department Sgt. Tony Turnbull says the woman and a 61-year-old companion, who was only slightly injured, were walking on the track at Highlands High School in North Highlands when they were targeted early Wednesday (April 26) by a young man.

Petrus reportedly used her cane to try and drive the man away from her friend, who has not been identified by authorities.

“The other woman was attacked first, from my understanding," Petrus' family friend, Vicki Butler, said. "He was choking her and Fusako started hitting him with her walking stick, and it allowed her (neighbor) to get away.”

When deputies arrived, Petrus was already dead, and the suspect had fled. Police say both women were sexually assaulted. Police are not investigating the beating as a hate crime.

Later that same day, the suspect, Neven Glen Butler, 18, was arrested in another assault on a third elderly woman.

“I think she's a hero. She gave her life to save her friend,” said Dolores Hines, who lives down the block from Petrus and her walking companion, according to the Los Angeles Times.

“She walked every day but Saturdays,” said neighbor Lloyd Miller, 88, who usually watched her leave while eating breakfast by his front window.

Neighbor Lloyd Miller said Petrus met her husband in her native Japan after World War II. She was a clerk at the store of California's former McClellan Air Force Base until her retirement, he told the Los Angeles Times.

AAPI organizations rise up, uniting for May 1 march

Demonstrators against Trump policies marched in March

IN A WAY, Donald Trump was right when he said he would unite the country. In his first 100 days in office, opposition to his policies and his attempt to turn back the clock when power and influence in America was totally Euro-centric and opposed to science, education and the Golden Rule.

On May 1, in commemoration of May Day, also known as International Workers’ Day, a consortiium of AAPI organizations of will gather an Asian American and Pacific Islander contingent in Washington DC to take in part in the International Workers Day march and rally.

The Asian Pacific American Labor Alliance (APALA), AFL-CIO, the National Korean American Service & Education Consortium (NAKASEC), and National Asian Pacific American Women’s Forum (NAPAWF) are joining together to demand justice for immigrants, refugees, and Muslims; to protect the right to collectively bargain and organize a union; to fight against mass deportations, a Muslim ban, and the criminalization of people of color; and to defend the Earth and its resources. 

APALA Executive Director Gregory A. Cendana stated: “We are keeping true on our commitment to resisting, organizing, and fighting back. Just in the past 100 days of the administration, attacks on our communities have instilled fear and anxiety to new levels, and we refuse to make this racist and xenophobic agenda the new norm for our country." 

Organizers are asking AAPI participants will gather at McPherson Square at 2 p.m. 

A short program will include leaders who will speak on the contributions of AAPI working people and the important role AAPI communities have in fighting for a better world for all working families. At the conclusion of the program, event participants will march together to the White House to join the thousands of working people at the #RiseUP March & Rally to oppose the hateful rhetoric, policies and actions of the current administration.

 “The movement for reproductive justice is stronger and more powerful when we acknowledge and elevate how our different identities shape the rights and agency of AAPIs and all workers," said Sung Yeon Choimorrow, NAPAWF Interim Executive Director. "We are committed to a social and political transformation that ensures gender and racial equality each member of the AAPI community and other communities of color—and that means resisting anti-immigrant policies and economic inequity.”

Join APALA, NAPAWF, and NAKASEC to show the world that we will not be afraid to rise in solidarity with working people across the globe! Join us and tell the world that we are #NotYourModelMinority. RSVP before or join us on May 1. 

WHAT:          May Day/International Workers’ Day AAPI Contingent Meet Up
WHO:           The Asian Pacific American Labor Alliance (APALA), AFL-CIO
                     The National Asian Pacific American Women’s Forum (NAPAWF)          
                     The National Korean American Service & Education Consortium (NAKASEC)

WHEN:          May 1, 2017, 2:00-3:00PM

WHERE:       McPherson Square, 15th St. NW & K St. NW 
                     (for an event near you, click here.)


ALL DAY — Beyond The Moment: May Day – National Day Of Action
Beyond the Moment: Uniting Movements from April 4th to May Day (BTM) is a national campaign intended to expand and strengthen multi-racial, multi-sector and local long-term organizing capacity around the fight for justice, freedom and the right to live fully, with dignity and respect for all people. From small vigils to mass mobilizations we will take collective and cross-movement. Our aim is to build a mighty movement of all people dedicated to freedom. That means we don’t deny our differences, we embrace them and build a movement bold, broad and big enough to include our many realities. Join Beyond The Moment. Find a May Day Action in your city at: Click here to learn more
ALL DAY — National Day of Action for Immigrants
On May 1st, immigrants and allies all over the country will rise up in resistance to demonstrate the power, resilience and strength of immigrants in America. On May 1st in cities, towns and communities across the country immigrant leaders of the Fair Immigration Reform Movement (FIRM) will Rise Up! in resistance to demonstrate the power, resilience and strength of immigrant communities in America. 

They will partner with organizations to lead marches, rallies, protests and town halls that resist Trump’s deportation machine, oppose the current administration’s scapegoating of immigrant communities and build a united front to support a vibrant and diverse future for our country. 

The #RiseUP movement is growing by the hour, 42 organizations with the Fair Immigration Reform Movement (FIRM) will be leading in cities with marches, rallies, and community events to shut down the hate in our communities! Find a May Day Action in your city at: Click here to learn more
ALL DAY — A Day Without ImmigrantsOn May 1st, we will not go to work, we will not go to school and we will not buy. We are going to make it clear that this country cannot function without immigrants. This is only the beginning of our fight toward permanent protection, dignity and respect. Find a May Day Action in your city at: Click here to learn more

"This fight is a shared struggle uniting our diverse AAPI community and people of color more broadly to the struggles of all working people and families in the United States and across the globe. Sustainable jobs with fair wages; access to healthcare; living and working in places with dignity and free from fear, discrimination, or criminalization – these are the basic tenets driving us together.” said Cendana


Hundreds of thousands climate marchers take to the streets

This is what you see if you go to the EPA's climate change page.

SO THIS is what democracy looks like! We resist! We build! We rise!

While hundreds of thousands of people took to the streets to take part in the People's Climate March, the Trump administration took down the Environmental Protection Agency's webpage on climate change. It is being updated to reflect the views of the new administration.

In the sweltering heat of Washington DC where some estimates put the demonstration at 200,000, in the driving snow of Denver, in the pounding rain of Chicago, to the tropical climes of Hawaii, unpaid people raised their concern that the current leadership is not convinced that 95 percent of climate scientists are right when they say man is accelerating the changing climate conditions around te planet - from the massive record-breaking storms and extreme drought to the melting snowcaps.

Trump has said he thought the climate change debate was a hoax perpetuated by China. He appointed Scott Pruitt, a climate-change denier, to head up the EPA, an agency that he despises and sued a dozen times as the Oklahoma attorney general.

Some of the marchers tried to connect to the EPA website on climate change after the administration's actions were made Friday.

“As EPA renews its commitment to h
uman health and clean air, land and water, our website needs to reflect the views of the leadership of the agency,” JP Freire, an associate administrator for public affairs, told the Guardian.

Previously, the website housed data on greenhouse gas emissions from large polluters and reports on the effects of climate change and its impact on human health.

“We want to eliminate confusion,” Freire said, “by removing outdated language first and making room to discuss how we’re protecting the environment and human health by partnering with states and working within the law.”

Climate change information gathered by previous administrations can still be accessed through some links.

Also on Friday, Trump opened up the Alaskan tundra and the ocean floor off the Eastern Seaboard for drilling.

In Washington DC, marchers surrounded the White House and for a few minutes, imitated the sound of their heart by tapping on their chests. Trump was reportedly still in side the residence. They marched to the rallying point at the Washington Monument.

Besides Washington DC, there were over 300 marches held around the world.

Around the world, people marched to bring attention to the need to address climate change.

Marchers in Los Angeles

Marchers in Hawaii protested the actions of the Trump administration on the environment.

For more photos, videos and articles from Saturday's People's Climate March, click here.

Drink some water and use Sunday to rest – because on Monday we need to show up for workers and immigrants walking out into the street on May Day, say organizers of the People's Climate March. 

There are lots of organizations hosting actions near you, including Beyond the Moment and Reform Immigration for America. Check them out.

Asian/American researcher, teacher named dean of Yale College

Marvin Chun, Yale College's new dean

MARVIN CHUN, a professor of neuroscience, has been appointed as the next dean of Yale College. 
Chun will assume his new post on July 1, according to the Yale News. He succeeds Jonathan Holloway, who is leaving Yale at the end of the semester to become provost at Northwestern University.

“While I feel humbled by the weight and legacy of this appointment, I am also confident in how vigorously I can pursue President Salovey’s number one goal ‘to be the research university most committed to teaching and learning,’” said Chun.

His appointment was welcomed by AAPI students.

Observers believe Chun’s deanship marks a historical and cultural significance for many people of color in academia. Asian-American students at the University have commended the appointment, seeing it as a positive move towards greater representation of Asians and other minorities in the school administration, reports the Yale Daily News.

“I’m really excited about seeing Asian-American representation in leadership,” said 20-year old student Liana Wang. “[Chun] has such a warm, open personality. I think he’ll be great for representing student interests, and I personally love that he dispels so many of the stereotypes often applied to Asian/Americans.”
Mimi Pham, the head peer liaison at the Asian American Cultural Center, stated that she often has conversations with peers and mentors at the center about the lack of Asian and Asian/American representation in the administrative arm of higher education. Although Chun’s qualifications earned him the job, the fact that he is Asian/American is “uplifting and inspiring” for the Asian and Asian/American communities at Yale, Pham said.

Chun is known for his innovative use of brain-imaging and behavioral methods to study attention, perception, memory, and learning. He has published more than 100 articles, and his research has been highly cited, frequently featured in the popular media.

“Through his service as Berkeley’s head of college from 2007 to 2016, Professor Chun developed a deep understanding of Yale undergraduate life. His enthusiasm for supporting students and talent for creating a positive and stimulating environment made him one of the most beloved heads of college,”  said President Peter Salovey on April 27.

Chun earned his Ph.D. from the Department of Brain and Cognitive Sciences at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. 

His wife, Woo-Kyoung Ahn, is also professor of psychology at Yale; they have two children, Allison and Nathan.

Saturday, April 29, 2017

This May, we celebrate ... and resist

ASIAN American Pacific Islander Heritage Month will have a more serious tenor this year.

May is traditionally a month we take time to learn and celebrate our history and heritage, try out some of the old family recipies, young people learn the traditional dances and songs, but this year there is a sense of urgency that had been missing from previous observances of AAPI Heritage Month.

A website has been created to help Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders to express their opposition to the direction the country is moving. it was created by #AAPIsResist. 

#AAPIsResist is a coalition of Asian American and Pacific Islander (AAPI) national, local, and student organizations committed to strengthening our organizing and advocacy in resistance to the administration’s hateful, discriminatory, and harmful actions and its broader effects on our communities.

"During this year’s Asian Pacific American Heritage Month (APAHM) in May, we are celebrating Asian American and Pacific Islander (AAPI) resistance, both past and present, in order to strengthen our commitment to achieving broader racial, environmental, economic, and social justice," states the website with suggestions and "how-to" advice on how to take your resistance to the next level.
From the incarceration of Japanese/Americans to the deportations of Southeast Asians to the uptick of hate violence against Muslim and perceived-to-be Muslim communities, we center APAHM as an important political moment to reflect on our communities’ ongoing resistance.
Much of the rise in hate incidents parallels the rise in white nationalism emboldened by the new administration in Washington which wants to turn back the clock on the progress made since the Franklin Roosvelt presidency. That includes discarding environmental protections, equal rights for communities of color, women and the LGBTQ issues and, some say, attacks to come on social security and Medicare.
"We are calling on AAPI organizations and individuals to take part in the #AAPIsResist Month of Action throughout APAHM to show that we are not afraid to stand up and speak out and that AAPIs are #NotYourModelMinority." 

Friday, April 28, 2017

People's Climate March: Why we are marching

ON THE 100th Day of the Trump Administration, tens of thousands of people will be in the streets of Washington D.C. to show the world and our leaders that we will resist attacks on our people, our communities and our planet.

Organizers announced the People's Climant March will ‘literally’ surround the White House as it winds its way through the streets to the Washington Monument in Washington, DC on Saturday, April 29th

Tens of thousands are expected to converge on Washington, DC from virtually every state in the country. In addition, more than 250 sister marches are also planned across the country and around the world.

“At 2 p.m. on April 29th, tens of thousands of people will encircle the White House in Washington D.C. to directly confront Donald Trump and challenge those who are pursuing a right-wing agenda that destroys our environment while favoring corporations and the 1 percent over workers and communities,” said Paul Getsos, National Coordinator for the Peoples Climate Movement.

“This administration continues waging attacks on immigrants, Muslims, people of color and LGBTQI people everyday. This moment will be the highlight of a day that will begin with a march leading from the Capital to Washington Monument.”

"We will come together from across the United States to strengthen our movement. We will demonstrate our power and resistance at the gates of the White House. We will bring our solutions to the climate crisis, the problems that affect our communities and the threats to peace to our leaders in Congress to demand action", say the organizers in a press release.

Among the goals of the marchers: 

  • Advance solutions to the climate crisis rooted in racial, social and economic justice, and committed to protecting front-line communities and workers. 
  • Protect our right to clean air, water, land, healthy communities and a world at peace. 
  • Immediately stop attacks on immigrants, communities of color, indigenous and tribal people and lands and workers. 
  • Ensure public funds and investments create good paying jobs that provide a family-sustaining wage and benefits and preserve workers’ rights, including the right to unionize. 
  • Fund investments in our communities, people and environment to transition to a new clean and renewable energy economy that works for all, not an economy that feeds the machinery of war. 
  • Protect our basic rights to a free press, protest and free speech. 

The Peoples Climate March will near begin the Capitol, travel up Pennsylvania Avenue, and then surround the entire White House Grounds from 15th Street in the East to 17th Street in the West, and Pennsylvania Avenue in the North to Constitution Avenue in the South. The march will close with a post march rally, concert and gathering at the Washington Monument.

Trump has vowed to undo the progress this country has already made in cutting the pollution that contributes to climate change. In just his first few months, he has take executive action to reverse measures that would cut pollution from cars and power plants. And he has threatened to withdraw from the international Paris Agreement on climate change, sending precisely the wrong signal to the rest of the world—that saving our planet from devastation is somehow optional.

Trump has also made no secret of his wish to roll back or outright eliminate many of the federal protections that are crucial to ensuring public health. After appointing a vocal climate change denier and friend of the fossil fuel industry to lead the Environmental Protection Agency, the president proposed gutting that agency's budget by nearly one third: a one-two punch cynically designed to lessen the EPA's ability to do its job of enforcing our existing environmental laws.

"Trump may be ready to throw in the towel in the fight for our children’s future, but the rest of us are not. And we won’t let him do it," said Rhea Suh, president of the National Resources Defense Council in an article in Self. "On Saturday, we're going to Washington to let our voices be heard. There's absolutely no way that we'll fail to get the president's attention."

  • For more details about the march in Washington DC, click here.
  • To find the sister marches across the country and the world, click here.

TGIF FEATURE: AAPI history and demographics at a glance

MAY is Asian Pacific American Heritage Week and to help employers and those agencies seeking grants to service the fastest growing segment of the U.S. population, DiversityInc publishes these charts and figures, updating them every year.

This diversity-management resource offers insight to evolving workplace diversity, featuring a detailed timeline of Asian/American history and the relevant demographics you need to know.

President Jimmy Carter signed a joint resolution in 1978 that declared May 4–10, 1979, as the first Asian Pacific American Heritage Week. This was later extended by President George H.W. Bush in 1990 to a month-long observance. 

The month commemorates the arrival of the first Japanese immigrant, a fisherman named Nakanohama Manjiro, or “John Mung,” to the United States on May 7, 1843, and marks the transcontinental railroad’s completion on May 10, 1869, half of which was bulit by Chinese laborers.

The latest population figures, based on the 2010 Census but extrapolated to 2015, shows that Indian/Americans have surpassed Filipino/Americans as the second largest Asian ethnic group in the U.S. The boom of Asian Indians is attributed to the use of H1-B visa used to attract workers with specialties needed in the U.S. Many of those imported workers, who bring their families with them, eventually become U.S. citizens.

More than half of all H-1B visas have been awarded to Indian nationals, according to the Pew Research Center. From fiscal years 2001 to 2015, workers from India received the largest share (50.5%) of all H-1B visas for first-time employment, while the second-largest share went to workers from China (9.7%). Other countries receiving a large share of visas during this time include Canada (3.8%), the Philippines (3.0%) and South Korea (2.8%).

Click the links below to download a PDF, or click these links to expand: Asian American and Pacific Islander Heritage Month Timeline and Asian American and Pacific Islander Heritage Month Facts & Figures.

Another good source for statistics about the AAPI community is the Pew Research Center's The Rise of Asian America report done in 2013.

Thursday, April 27, 2017

David Dao settles with United Airlines

David Dao was severely injured when he was violently removed from an United Airlines flight.

IN A BRIEF STATEMENT, United Airlines settled with David Dao, whose forced ouster from a United flight created a public relations nightmare.

The press relaese said: "We are pleased to report that United and Dr. Dao have reached an amicable resolution of the unfortunate incident that occurred aboard flight 3411. We look forward to implementing the improvements we have announced, which will put our customers at the center of everything we do."  

As part of the settlement, the final sum was undisclosed.

Dao, a 69-year-old Vietnamese/American doctor, had to be hospitalized for injuries incurred when Chicago aviation police dragged him from the plane to make space for four crew members on the flight from the city's O'Hare International Airport to Louisville, Kentucky.
RELATED: Passenger violently dragged off of plane
Dao's legal team released it's own statement regarding the settlement and their dealings with United CEO Oscar Munoz, who took the brunt of the outrage generated by the incident.

"Mr. Munoz said he was going to do the right thing, and he has," said Thomas Demetrio, one of Dao's attorneys. "In addition, United has taken full responsibility for what happened on Flight 3411, without attempting to blame others, including the City of Chicago. For this acceptance of corporate accountability, United is to be applauded."

The settlement was reached on the same day United Airlines announced multiple positive changes to improve the customer experience. According to Demetrio, 

"Dr. Dao has become the unintended champion for the adoption of changes which will certainly help improve the lives of literally millions of travelers.’ 

Among the changes, United will no longer remove passengers after they've been seated and the airline has raised the amount of compensation for passengers who volunteer to give up their seats to $10,000.

"I sincerely hope that all other airlines make similar changes and follow United’s lead in helping to improve the passenger flying experience with an emphasis on empathy, patience, respect and dignity," said Demetrio.

SAVE THE DATE: People's Climate March, April 29

THE PEOPLES' CLIMATE MARCH that is occurring this Saturday, April 29, is not the first time the march has been held.

The first march in 2014 was staged in New York City and attracted 400,000 people. It has grown each year since.

This year, in the context of the Trump Administration’s climate change denying and a Congress controlled by the right-wing and the influence of the oil industry has grown even more than in the past. Trump appointed the CEO of Exxon, Rex Tillerson, as Secretary of State, and Scott Pruitt, a climate denier, heads the Environmental Protection Agency, which he has sued over a dozen times. it is clear we all must both protect the gains made in recent years, even if those have been limited gains, while we articulate and demand initiatives to move our nation to a new, clean energy economy.

"We won’t surrender our children’s future to fossil fuel profits without a fight," said Rhea Suh, National Resources Defense Council president.

This is a moment to bring the range of progressive social change movements together, say the organizers. Pushing back against the Trump agenda and at the same time pushing forward on our vision of a clean, safe world where the rights of all people are protected and expanded means we all must work together.

The main march will be in Washington D.C., Click here for details.
Sister marches will be held throughout the United States and the rest of the globe. To find a People's Climate March near you, click here.

Wednesday, April 26, 2017

Groups condemn Trump's latest Executive Order on national monuments

During the an earlier march, members of Gabriela-USA, a Filipino/American advocacy group, marched under the banner of climate change.

THE TRUMP administration issued a new executive order today (April 26) directing the Department of the Interior, led by Ryan Zinke, to review previous monument designations allowed under the 1906 Antiquities Act. 

According to White House officials, the review could bring “changes or modifications” that could open more public lands to fossil fuel extraction, harvesting of old growth forests or development.

“This is another unjust assault on our climate, environment and national heritage, a hallmark of the president’s 1st 100 days," said 
Rhea Suh, President, Natural Resources Defense Council. 

"These precious lands belong to all Americans. Our country holds them in trust for the benefit of all Americans, now and in the future. These monuments—and the resources and wildlife they protect—are worthy of ironclad protection because they are unique, and vulnerable to encroachment and destruction. President Trump should not try to strip away their protection. 

Indigenous leaders and climate activists have fought to gain monument designations for lands across the country to protect them from the fossil fuel industry. Areas like the Bears Ears National Monument, a 1.35-million acre area in Utah including sacred Native American lands, could be at risk for losing their protected status. 

Weeks before he left office, President Barack Obama used the Antiquities Act to create the Papahanaumokuakea Marine National Monument off of Hawaii.which spans 582,578 square miles just west of Hawaii. It is one of the threatened sites. For a complete list of 24 threatened national monuments, click here.
National parks like the Grand Canyon exist because of the Antiquities Act, and any move by the Trump administration to revoke protections of designated monuments will likely face challenges in court.

Last week, in a move anticipating Trump's EO, the three minority Congressional caususes -- the Asian Pacific American, Black and Hispanic -- gave notice to their fellow member of Congress that they will fight any move to remove the special designation on that are historically significant to their communities. 

"Any attempt to curtail the President’s authority to protect these places or to remove protections already put in place by other Presidents is an attack on our shared history," they said in a joint statement.

According to Reuters, the national monuments order is the first of two executive orders on energy and the environment that Trump is signing this week. On Friday, -- the 99th day of his presidency -- he’s expected to sign an order aimed at reviewing rules related to offshore drilling and the designation of areas where offshore oil and gas exploration are permitted.

The public overwhelmingly supports protecting our national parks and monuments and on Saturday, April 29, thousands of people across the country and in Washington, D.C. are expected to join the Peoples Climate March to Trump administration policies like this one and stand up for climate, jobs and justice.

"The tens of thousands gathering Saturday to march for climate action will fight his attempted sellout, and to preserve these iconic public places and the American values they represent,” said Suh.


U.S. Surgeon General refused to resign, so he was 'relieved' from the post

Dr. Vivek Murthy

INDIAN/AMERICAN physicians were "shocked and saddened" by the departure of Dr. Vivek Murthy as the U.S. Surgeon General.

Last Friday (April 21), the Trump administration asked Murthy to resign even though he had a year and-a-half to go on his 4-year term. When he refused, he was "relieved" from his post that he held since 2014.

"Many have asked why I chose not to resign as Surgeon General when I was asked to do so," said Murthy on his Facebook page. "My reason was simple: because I would never willfully abandon my commitment to my Commissioned Corps officers, to the American people, and to all who have stood with me to build a healthier and more compassionate America."

The American Association of Physicians of Indian-origin were caught by surprise, but issued a statement. "On behalf of the AAPI, I want to applaud the many contributions and initiatives of Dr Vivek Murthy, our AAPI member, in the healthcare sector in very short span of about two years since he became U.S. Surgeon General in 2014," said AAPI president Ajay Lodha.

Murthy also served as co-chair with former Education Secretary John King of the White House Initiative on Asian American Pacific Islanders was housed in the Department of Education.

When Donald Trump took office, unlike other appointees of President Obama, Murthy chose to assist in the transition and to continue his work as Surgeon General.

“Although it’s not unprecedented, it’s highly unusual for a surgeon general’s four-year term to be cut short,” explained Daniel Politi at Slate. “What is known is that the gun lobby was no fan of Murthy, who has for years insisted that gun violence should be classified as a public health threat.”

Back in 2014, when former President Barack Obama nominated him to be the next surgeon general, the National Rifle Association wrote a strongly-worded letter opposing Murthy’s confirmation. Murthy had argued that the gun control debate was a public health issue and he pushed for more common-sense gun control regulation. 

Back in 2014, when former President Barack Obama nominated him to be the next surgeon general, the National Rifle Association wrote a strongly-worded letter opposing Murthy’s confirmation. Murthy had argued that the gun control debate was a public health issue and he pushed for more common-sense gun control regulation. 

He came to the post of “America’s Doctor” following a narrow 51-43 vote of confirmation from a Democrat-controlled U.S. Senate.

"While that decision to stand on principle resulted in my termination prior to the end of my four-year term, I know that the Office of the Surgeon General is greater than any one person and its mission must continue," Murthy said. "The new Acting Surgeon General, Rear Admiral Sylvia Trent-Adams, is the right person to step into this role. She has dedicated the past 30 years to our nation serving in the Army and in the U.S. Public Health Service. Her deep wealth of experience is matched only by the immense size of her heart. I know she will serve with distinction."

He will continue to serve in the USPHS Commissioned Corps in another capacity.

In another Facebook post, he said, "For the grandson of a poor farmer from India to be asked by the president to look out for the health of an entire nation was a humbling and uniquely American story," he wrote. "While I had hoped to do more to help our nation tackle its biggest health challenges, I will be forever grateful for the opportunity to have served."

Federal judge bars Trump reprisals against sanctuary governments

Asian Americans protest against Donald Trump's immigration policies.

IN A SEVERE SETBACK to the Trump administration, a federal judge in California said any attempt to cut off federal funding to sanctuary cities is "clearly unconstitutional."
U.S. District William H. Orrick on Tuesday barred the Trump administration from enforcing part of Donald Trump's January executive order that withheld funds from sanctuary cities — concluding that that action would be "clearly unconstitutional."

The ruling prevents Trump from withholding funds from jurisdictions that refuse to cooperate with federal agencies to deport undocumented immigrants,
Orrick issued a nationwide preliminary injunction — sought by San Francisco and Santa Clara counties in California — against enforcement of Section 9(a) of the January 25, 2017, executive order.

San Francisco Mayor Ed Lee
"San Francisco is and will remain a Sanctuary City. We know that Sanctuary Cities are safer, healthier, more productive places to live," said San Franciscco Mayor Ed Lee in a press release. "San Francisco’s Sanctuary City laws are in compliance with federal law. If the federal government believes there is a need to detain a serious criminal they can obtain a criminal warrant, which we will honor, as we always have."The court order comes days after Attorney General Jeff Sessions warned cities, counties and states theater refusing to cooperate with Immigration and Customs Enforcement would lose millions of dollars in federal grants.
Orrick's order renders toothless the threat against those local governments - such as San Francisco and Santa Clara counties - that "refuse to comply."

Last Friday, the DOJ sent letters to those sanctuary jurisdictions across the nation from New York City to Los Angeles. 

“Failure to comply with this condition could result in the withholding of grant funds, suspension or termination of the grant, ineligibility for future [Office of Justice Programs] grants or subgrants, or other action, as appropriate,” according to the letter, signed by Alan Hanson, acting assistant attorney general for the Office of Justice Programs.

According to the press release, the jurisdictions have a deadline of June 30, 2017, to “provide documentation and an opinion from legal counsel” confirming their compliance.

Orrick's decision states the executive order goes beyond the president's authority under the 10th Amendment, which limits the federal government's authority over local governments. "The Executive Order uses coercive means in an attempt to force states and local jurisdictions to honor civil detainer requests, which are voluntary 'requests' precisely because the federal government cannot command states to comply with them under the Tenth Amendment," it reads.

The judge took into account the statements of Trump and Sessions in speeches and interviews that warned cities that they would lose public safety funds if they did not comply with federal immigration agents' attempts to locate and detain undocumented immigrants. "If there was doubt about the scope of the Order, the President and Attorney General have erased it with their public comments," Orrick wrote.

Orrick's ruling states the EO goes beyond the president's authority under the 10th Amendment, which places restrictions on how much authority the federal government could have over local jurisdictions. "The Executive Order uses coercive means in an attempt to force states and local jurisdictions to honor civil detainer requests, which are voluntary 'requests' precisely because the federal government cannot command states to comply with them under the Tenth Amendment," it reads.
Orrick's decision follows on other injunctions issued by federal judges in Washington, California, and Hawaii that have called into question the constitutionality of the president's other executive order pertaining to those traveling or immigrating from seven Muslim-majority countries. Last month, Federal Judge Derrick Watson of Hawaii further blocked the president's revised version of the same order.