2019 was a year of struggle and strength for immigrants and people of color.
Across the country, the Trump Administration continued its relentless attack against the safety, civil rights, and basic dignity of our most vulnerable community members. At CAA, in our milestone 50th year, we remained resilient and steadfast, and did our part to resist and move forward on several fronts. This included major successes at the local and state levels to uphold sanctuary policies, expand socio-economic opportunities, and defend civil rights for all our communities.
Your ardent support has made our #MovementForward possible this year.
CAA Confronts Anti-Immigrant Policies with Strength and Resolve
We at CAA are immensely proud of our grassroots work to provide Chinese immigrant families with leadership and updated information on immigration policies and proposals that directly affect them.
This year, our Immigrants Rights program reached more than 5,600 community members through workshops, trainings, and activities held in Chinatown and across San Francisco. We organized advocacy against dangerous Trump proposals to expand public charge definitions, to increase naturalization fees, and further escalate ICE raids. We managed Chinese language ICE rapid response and general immigration hotlines, and completed a photography/storytelling project featuring Chinese immigrant narratives.
And we successfully saved Immigrant Parent and Non-Citizen Voting from City budget cuts, led a Chinese language school board candidates forum, and won better State policies and funding for workforce development and legal resources for immigrant community members.
Limited-English Jobseekers Depend on CAA in Changing Economy
Through residential displacement and higher costs of living, the booming Bay Area tech economy continue to exacerbate many growing inequities facing CAA’s low-income, working class, and limited-English proficient (LEP) constituents.
In this environment, CAA’s Economic Justice staff helped 105 LEP jobseekers gain employment in primarily union jobs. We launched weekly computer lab services at our Chinatown office where we provide computer and internet access, assistance with digital literacy, and support with online job applications. We reached job seekers across the city including through monthly workshops at Excelsior Works in San Francisco’s Supervisorial District 11, and are concluding another successful Hotel Vocation Training program to prepare and place LEP community members into sustainable jobs.
A Key Victory for Affirmative Action and Education Equity
CAA remains committed to expanding quality educational opportunities for all marginalized communities, and throughout 2019, our staff participated on panels and led workshops to discuss the importance of diversity, inclusion, and equity in all aspects of public higher education.
Given the public interest in the Students for Fair Admissions v. Harvard case, we highlighted the need to preserve race conscious programs as a powerful tool to address systemic discrimination wherever it exists, and applauded the October court ruling in that case, which protects affirmative action in most higher education settings. Of course, the fight is much bigger than Harvard. Ultimately, our push is to restore high-quality and free public higher education for all those who wish to pursue it, and to ensure its relevance especially for those who have been historically disadvantaged and oppressed.
CAA Pushes to Redefine Community Safety and Justice
All communities deserve safety and justice, and this past year CAA continued to step up to address two different but related problems.
In San Francisco, we began supporting members of the Huang family when their grandmother was the victim of a violent assault. We co-organized fundraising to cover medical and other costs, and worked with the family and others to seek healing and explore long-term, culturally-competent solutions that bring diverse communities together. This work has only grown as more groups and individuals ask us to address the community trauma and violence that threatens to divide the City in a way that doesn’t exacerbate racism in the criminal justice system.
On the other hand, CAA continues to field increasing requests for assistance from members of our academic, science, and technology who are being targeted by federal law enforcement agencies. At the heart of these requests is the reality that deteriorating US-China relations has led to national security scapegoating of ethnic Chinese in America. These community members deserve to be safe from racial profiling and the abuses of law enforcement.
Time for a Complete Count
Since its founding, CAA has mobilized the community to participate in every decennial Census. With the 2020 survey around the corner, and heightened challenges relating to privacy, government mistrust, digital access, and language access, CAA has been leading the way in San Francisco and California to ensure resources are there for community-based organizations to help ensure a complete count.
In addition to successful State budget advocacy for Census outreach and education, in San Francisco, CAA is providing training and technical assistance to the City and community-based organizations, and bringing on a new team of grassroots Outreach Specialists to assist with neighborhood and digital Census outreach.
Chinese Digital Engagement
Though our civil rights values endure, our strategies continue to evolve. 2019 was a major year of planning to launch what will be in 2020 CAA’s most robust Chinese language digital engagement strategy. With the support of new partners, this effort will help shape public discourse and get more accurate information about key policy concerns into Chinese language social media spaces in the San Francisco Bay area and beyond!
CAA50 A Major Success!
Through a year of social justice struggles and successes, we also celebrated our 50th anniversary year. We held board and staff alumni reunion events, and organized town halls and discussions on issues including representation in media journalism, higher education advocacy, Chinese digital engagement, and community safety and justice. These gatherings offered multigenerational insights and perspectives to inspire our movement forward for our next 50 years.
And we were delighted to celebrate our 50th birthday with more than 600 of our closest allies and supporters at our Celebration of Justice gala where we were privileged to give special recognition to our CAA founders and our partners within Asian Americans for Civil Rights and Equality!