VOLUME 28 NO. 9 | FEBRUARY 21 - 27, 2009


Census gains momentum with 4,000 new hires

Last updated 2-19-09 at 12:47 p.m.
Gov. Gregoire with community members and media at the signing of a proclamation for the 2010 Census on Jan. 22. Photo provided by the U.S. Census Bureau.

On Jan. 22, Gov. Chris Gregoire showed her support for the 2010 Census with a ceremonial signing of a proclamation.

Gregoire was pleased when Census Regional Director Ralph Lee said he would be hiring 4,000 temporary employees this year and 15,000 more next year. “I should have put that in my stimulus package,” Gregoire quipped.

A goal of the 2010 Census is to make sure all communities are counted and represented. An accurate count ensures that the government aid and funds are proportionally and appropriately given out to the communities that need it most.
A group typically underrepresented is immigrants because of inaccurate information.

The census does not ask for income data or citizenship status. (end)

For more information or to apply for a position with the census, visit www.census.gov/rosea/www/emply.html.


Supreme Court upholds gender discrimination rights

Last updated 2-19-09 at 12:48 p.m.

The United States Supreme Court in Fitzgerald v. Barnstable School Committee unanimously upheld the ability of students and parents to sue individuals, cities, and governments for gender discrimination and sexual harassment.

In the case, a kindergarten girl on a school bus experienced severe and pervasive sexual harassment by a third-grade boy. The parents of the kindergarten girl filed a federal lawsuit against the school district claiming that it was deliberately indifferent to the harassment.

“This is a great victory to ensure that students who experience gender discrimination have every available legal option to pursue justice,” said Karen K. Narasaki, the president and executive director of the Asian American Justice Center.

“We have seen an increase in harassment against Asian American students with school systems taking no action to address the matter. We hope that this ruling puts those school districts on notice that gender discrimination and sexual harassment is a serious matter,” she said.

The Asian American Justice Center is a national organization dedicated to defending and advancing the civil and human rights of Asian Americans. (end)

For more information, visit www.advancingequality.org/litigation_briefs.


City invests more than $1.6 million in arts, heritage, and culture

Last updated 2-19-09 at 12:49 p.m.

The Office of Arts & Cultural Affairs announced that it will invest more than $1.6 million in 2009 to Seattle-based arts, heritage, and cultural organizations through the Civic Partners program.

The program will provide a two-year funding commitment to 133 organizations with allocations being made annually in 2009 and 2010. During the 2007 and 2008 cycle, there were funding commitments to 117 organizations.

The Civic Partners program aims to strengthen Seattle’s cultural ecosystem by helping to sustain established organizations with predictable funding. The program also recognizes and fosters small and emerging organizations. The funding will support organizations’ core programs and operations, aid in planning and attracting other supporters, and help underwrite public access to a wide variety of quality arts and cultural opportunities. (end)

For a complete list of funded organizations for 2009 and 2010, visit www.seattle.gov/arts/funding/org_partners.asp.


Immigrants, refugees, and advocates don’t let the cold bog them down

Last updated 2-19-09 at 12:53 p.m.
Jesus Rodriguez (left) and Vicki Akasura (right) are two of 1,500 people who converged on the steps of Washington state’s capitol on Refugee and Immigrant Legislative Day. Though hit with an unexpected blast of snow on Feb. 10, they were still all smiles.Photo provided by Refugee Women's Alliance.

On Feb. 10, unexpected snow froze the steps of Washington state’s capitol. However, community members from the greater-Seattle area did not let the weather deter them from making their voice heard.

This year was the third annual Washington state Refugee and Immigrant Legislative Day. Twenty-six buses were used to transport the 1,500 immigrants, refugees, and advocates to Olympia, which was a big increase from the year before.

More than 43 nationalities and 40 community organizations were represented that day.

As the economy declines, many nonprofits worry about funding for programs. Founded in 1985, the Refugee Women’s Alliance (ReWA) is a multi-ethnic, community-based organization that provides comprehensive services to refugee and immigrant women and families in the Puget Sound area.

Someireh Amirfaiz, the executive director of ReWA said, “The fact that 1,500 people came together for one cause — it is a testimony to their commitment and courage to make a difference in their own lives and to be a voice for others.

The most touching part of the event for me was when three of the participants took the microphone and shared with their fellow refugees and immigrants their thoughts about the legislative day and their struggles.”

“The snowy weather was a challenge during the rally,” she admitted. “But everyone gathered on the steps of the capitol, holding the signs and enthusiastically listening to our speakers.”

 “It was amazing,” she said. (end)


OCA presses Disney star for apology over racist gestures

Last updated 2-19-09 at 1:20 p.m.

On Feb. 2, a personal photograph of Disney Channel celebrity Miley Cyrus making slant eye poses with her friends was leaked onto the Internet. The Organization of Chinese Americans (OCA) issued a statement on Feb. 3, which stated that it hoped Cyrus would apologize to the APA community.

On Feb. 5, Cyrus released a statement on her blog: “I’ve also been told there are some people upset about some pictures taken of me with friends making goofy faces! Well, I’m sorry if those people looked at those pics and took them wrong and out of context!”

OCA went on record saying that Cyrus’ statement was not really an apology, so the media continued to press for an apology.

On Feb. 9, Cyrus released an official apology on her Web site: “I have learned a valuable lesson from this and know that sometimes my actions can be unintentionally hurtful. I know everything is a part of God’s ultimate plan, and mistakes happen so that eventually I will become the woman He aspires me to be.”

Founded in 1973 as the Organization of Chinese Americans, OCA aims to embrace the hopes and aspirations of Asian Pacific Americans in the United States. OCA is engaged in organizing more than 80 chapters and college affiliates across the nation to develop both leadership and community involvement. (end)


Journalism summer workshop looking for applicants

Last updated 2-19-09 at 1:21 p.m.

Seattle University is currently recruiting students for their summer journalism workshop, which is free to high school students. The workshop is a great opportunity for students to hone their writing skills and gain experience in a future career path. In addition, scholarships are also given out at the end of the workshop.

For 2009, the workshop is accepting 13 writers and two photojournalists. It will operate from June 19–26. (end)

To apply for the workshop, visit www.seattleu.edu/jsw. Applications must be postmarked by April 6. Students should submit their application as early as possible for a stronger consideration.



IN THE NATION

NYC garment workers win $600,000

Report: More than 100,000 deportees had children in U.S.


WORLD NEWS

Jolie's refugee comment stirs debate

Malaysian king calls for racial unity

Khmer Rouge genocide trial opens in Cambodia

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