FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
March 2, 2022
Elaine Sanchez Wilson
Director of Communications and Development
WASHINGTON, DC – Last night, President Biden presented his State of the Union address, outlining a vision for America that includes humanitarian support for Ukraine, investment in mental health services, support for eldercare and Pell Grants, and increased access to COVID-19 vaccines, testing, and treatments. Quyên Đinh, Executive Director of SEARAC, shares the following response:
“President Biden’s vision for America is in stark contrast to the previous Administration, which actively undermined the health and wellbeing of Southeast Asian Americans. In particular, the President’s emphasis on parity between physical and mental health would help Southeast Asians who continue to struggle with trauma from the war, the ensuing generational trauma that lingers in our communities, and mental harm from increased anti-Asian violence. Holistic, well-funded health resources for Southeast Asian Americans that address the concerns of all community members – from increased access to mental health services for students, to support for older adults and those who are care for them – are essential to our community’s success in society, especially as we navigate the twin pandemics of COVID-19 and anti-Asian hate.
While we welcome the President’s vision, we urge him to ensure that all members of our communities are included in his plan. Any immigration reform effort must restore due process protections back to immigrants and refugees facing removal. Including provisions from bills like the New Way Forward Act would go a long way towards restoring humanity back into our immigration system. Additionally, though we support continued investment in Historically Black Colleges and Universities, we also urge the President to commit to increasing financial support for Asian American, Native American, and Pacific Islander Serving Institutions and other Minority Institutions.
Lastly, we are heartened that the President is committed to providing humanitarian aid to Ukraine. As refugees and the children of refugees, we understand the horror that many Ukrainians currently face and urge the Administration to take additional action to ensure that those seeking refuge in our country are allowed access. The focus on Ukraine is understandable and necessary, but the west’s sole sympathy to European nations at the expense of numerous humanitarian crises across the globe reveals striking biases in our political system and media coverage. We demand equitable attention to violence, struggle, genocide, and crises throughout the world.
SEARAC remains committed to working with the Biden-Harris Administration to ensure that Southeast Asian Americans and other refugee, underserved, and disenfranchised communities remain centered in the President’s plan.