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Press Releases

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  • Wed, May 08, 2019 12:00 AM | Anonymous

    Contact: Cecil Fong
    OCA-Greater Houston Chapter
    Phone: (832) 758-2442

    May 8, 2019


    (Houston, Texas) May 8, 2019 - The OCA-Greater Houston Chapter calls upon MD Anderson Cancer Center (MD Anderson) to address community concerns that the investigations estimated to have affected at least 10 ethnic Chinese researchers lacked transparency and due process, thereby also lowering morale of colleagues.

    “The process was not transparent,” said Cecil Fong, OCA-Greater Houston Chapter President. “Everyone was kept in the dark.”

    Without any background understanding of the investigations, rumors circulated in the community, causing a sense of uncertainty and anxiety, said chapter member Helen Shih. Shih, a former faculty member at MD Anderson, still has colleagues in the cancer center.

    “If the scientists had been informed and consulted in the process, they would feel that the environment is much more inclusive and supportive rather than one that leaves them exposed and vulnerable,” Shih added.

    Fong also pointed out that “there was no avenue for grievances or appeal. … “You didn’t know the investigation process.” In the vacuum, Fong said that he felt that “the scientists were presumed guilty.”

    According to Science magazine, the scientists who are under investigations have been unable to go to work for months, leaving projects under jeopardy of being transferred or funding being recalled. Fong said that the researchers did not know when they would be able to return, or whether they had to look for another job.

    “It’s not the way to treat your highly valued scientists, said Fong. “They are all established scientists even prior to coming to MD Anderson. They brought MD Anderson research funding. They are very good performers.”

    The chapter recognizes that there are FBI concerns about foreign influence in sensitive technologies which prompted the National Institute of Health to send a letter to its 10,000 grantees. At the same time, MD Anderson has discretion over the means to enforce agency rules and to protect the reputation of a group of scientists whose backgrounds naturally bring them into contact with their country of origin when the institution encourages overseas collaborations. According to Science, no one at MD Anderson has been charged with a federal crime.

    Shih believes that MD Anderson can “re-establish a healthy and transparent environment while advancing scientific collaboration” as long as the process is improved upon.

    # # #

    Established in 1979, the OCA-Greater Houston Chapter (OCA-GH),, is the lead organization in Houston that serves the Asian American community. The chapter carries out programs/initiatives that advance four main goals: to advocate for social justice, equal opportunity and fair treatment; to promote civic participation, education, and leadership; to advance coalitions and community building; and to foster cultural heritage. Its parent organization, OCA-Asian American Advocates (formerly the “Organization of Chinese Americans”),, is headquartered in Washington, D.C. and networks 100+ chapters and college affiliates.

  • Thu, December 13, 2018 6:11 PM | Anonymous


    OCA Calls for Administration to Preserve MOU with Vietnam

    13 December 2018
    Contact: Thu Nguyen | Senior Communications Associate
    202.223.5500 |

    Washington, DC – OCA – Asian Pacific American Advocates condemns the Trump Administration’s reinterpretation of a 2008 agreement signed by the Bush Administration that bars the deportation of Vietnamese people who arrived in the United States before July 12, 1995.

    The Trump Administration had first reinterpreted this agreement in 2017 and began deporting Vietnamese immigrants, then pulled back from this effort in August of 2018. Despite being recognized by all, the Administration is back on track with its intent to deport Vietnamese refugees as they enter talks with the Embassy of Vietnam. If the memorandum is modified, thousands of Vietnamese Americans will be immediately subject to deportation. Some of which are children of those who fought with American and South Vietnamese forces during the war, seen as the opposition to the current regime in Hanoi.

    “It is deplorable and inhumane to force refugees of war to return toa country they originally fled from, creating a displaced, stateless population,” said Vicki Shu, OCA Vice President of Public Affairs. “The United States has a moral imperative to honor these asylum seekers who sought freedom and a chance to build a productive, new and better life here. This is an egregious policy that mirrors the disturbing trend of anti-immigrant proposals. OCA calls on the Administration to reconsider their interpretation of the agreement with humanity and stop the deportation of war refugees that include Vietnamese, Cambodian, Laotian, and other Southeast Asian communities.”

    OCA – Asian Pacific American Advocates is a national organization of community advocates dedicated to the social, political, and economic well-being of Asian Pacific American Islanders (AAPI’s.)

  • Wed, March 14, 2018 6:02 PM | Anonymous

    Asian American Leaders Blast Federal Court Ruling
    Upholding Anti-Immigrant/Anti-Sanctuary City Law in Texas SB4

    Yesterday the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit issued a decision upholding Texas’s anti-immigrant/ anti-sanctuary city law (SB4).  The law is one of the harshest anti-immigrant state laws passed since Trump took office. Several Texas cities filed a lawsuit, in City of El Cenizo v. Texas, to block the implementation.  

    OCA-Greater Houston Chapter and the National Queer Asian Pacific Islander Alliance, along with LGBT Asian groups in Texas submitted an amicus (“friend of the court”) brief to illustrate the impact the law would have on Asian Americans, lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) people, and immigrants.  The brief was developed with the pro bono assistance of Reed Smith LLP.  Brief is here:

    In yesterday’s decision, the court unanimously affirmed nearly all of the provisions of the law. 

    Glenn D. Magpantay, NQAPIA Executive Director, said, “We are outraged by the decision!  Texas SB 4 will subject Asian Americans, LGBT people, and Latinos to illegal profiling about their immigration status by local law enforcement.” 

    Debbie Chen of OCA Greater Houston Chapter, noted that “Asian Americans are the fastest growing immigrant group in Texas. The Asian population is growing at twice the rate of the Hispanic population.  Large metro areas like Dallas and Houston are experiencing particularly rapid growth of Asian Americans, and each has a significant number of undocumented Asian American immigrants.”  

    The profiling and harassment of the Asian population is not a new phenomenon in the United States.  The Chinese Exclusion Act of 1882 was the first law ever enacted to permanently exclude a specific ethnic group from immigrating to the United States based on race.  During World War II, American of Japanese ancestry were interned in concentration camps.  Texas SB 4 echoes this shameful era of U.S. bans on Chinese immigrants and internment of Japanese-American citizens.  

    Koomah of The Collective of Houston Asian Americans (CHAA), said, “Asian Americans are the largest group of immigrants (both documented and undocumented) coming to the US. Undocumented LGBTQi immigrants are also disproportionately Asian. Furthermore, SB 4 would subject Latinx, Asian Americans, Muslims, and LGBTQi people who are already ethnic, racial, religious, gender and/or sexual minorities, to even further discrimination and harassment through discriminatory stops and unlimited questioning by police, regardless of their actual immigration status.” 

    Moreover, many LGBT immigrants come from Asian countries that criminalize homosexuality. SB4 increases the likelihood that they could be forced to return to countries and face persecution. 

    OCA-Greater Houston and NQAPIA published an op-ed further illustrating the impact of SB4 on Asian Americans in Texas at  

    The decision is expected to be appealed and the organizations are looking to be involved in that suit.  Magpantay further said, “We will fight this all the way up to the U.S. Supreme Court.” 

    More information about Texas SB 4 is available here:


    # # #


    Established in 1979, the OCA-Greater Houston Chapter (OCA-GH) is one of the OCA’s (formerly the “Organization of Chinese Americans”) 100+ chapters and college affiliates, with a long track record of programs/initiatives that work to advance 4 main goals: to advocate for social justice, equal opportunity and fair treatment; to promote civic participation, education, and leadership; to advance coalitions and community building; and to foster cultural heritage. 

    The National Queer Asian Pacific Islander Alliance (NQAPIA) is a nationwide federation of LGBT Asian American, South Asian, Southeast Asian, and Pacific Islander (API) organizations. We seek to build the organizational capacity of local LGBT API groups, develop leadership, and expand collaborations to better challenges anti-LGBT bias and racism.

  • Tue, October 31, 2017 6:32 PM | Anonymous

    October 31, 2017

    Dear Mr. Rob Manfred:

    We are extremely disappointed in Yuli Gurriel’s show of bad sportsmanship when he made a racist gesture and uttered a racial slur against LA Dodgers’ Yu Darvish. Not only was this offensive to Mr. Darvish, but also to the many Asian baseball fans watching across the nation and worldwide. The MLB should have suspended Mr. Gurriel immediately for Game Five during the World Series. As such, the MLB should place a heavier fine on Mr. Gurriel and the Astros, as well as future immediate suspension for any racial slur or gesture against a player.

    Although Mr. Gurriel publicly apologized after the game, it took 18 hours before there was an announcement that he would be suspended for five games without pay in the 2018 season. This sentence seems cosmetic and further insults the Asian and Asian American community.

    The gesture of slanted eyes has historically been used to demonize and ostracize Asians, and it is the responsibility of an individual player, a team, and the MLB to make sure that this is understood – just as it is understood that it is, under any circumstances, appropriate to use the “n” word. Though we understand that Mr. Gurriel may not have thought the word he uttered, “chinito,” was a racial slur due to cultural differences, he knew that his hand gesture was wrong.

    The MLB punishes players for sins against baseball and sins against the greater society, and racism should not be exempt. The MLB must show that it will not tolerate discrimination, racism and slurs by both members of the MLB and baseball fans alike.

    Many members of the Asian American community agree that the MLB has not done enough in reprimanding Mr. Gurriel and the Astros. We believe that can begin with stronger discipline such as an additional fine to the Astros next season and thorough diversity training. Please feel free to contact Thu Nguyen at (202) 223-5500 ext. 119 or at


    OCA – Asian Pacific American Advocates


  • Wed, August 30, 2017 4:46 PM | Anonymous

    Texas SB4’s Impact on Asian Americans – Why We Should Care

    On Friday, September 1, Texas Senate Bill 4 is scheduled to go into effect. Last May, Texas Governor Greg Abbott signed one of the most rigorous anti-immigrant laws passed since Trump took office. It would allow racial profiling and subject ethnic and racial minorities to unlimited questioning about their immigration status — all by local law enforcement officials with little or no training in immigration law.

    As part of its prohibition against so-called “sanctuary cities,” the bill would also levy heavy penalties against local officials who don’t comply with federal immigration authorities, including up to a $25,500 daily fine, misdemeanor charges, and loss of elected or appointed office.

    The pushback against the bill was clear and rapid: Just one day after the bill was signed into law, city and county officials in Texas, along with the League of United Latin American Citizens, filed a lawsuit against both the Governor and State Attorney General Ken Paxton.

    Since then, the four largest cities in Texas – Houston, San Antonio, Dallas, and Austin – have joined the lawsuit, along with other cities and organizations throughout Texas. Other related lawsuits are also pending. Several national civil rights groups, labor unions, and legal experts have condemned the law, arguing that it would violate the U.S. Constitution by impeding free speech and equal protection.

    But as is often the case when it comes to mainstream portrayals of immigration issues in the U.S., Asian Americans seem to be missing — or at least standing by the sidelines.

    What’s At Stake

    Asians Americans are the fastest-growing racial minority group in the country. We also form the largest segment of documented and undocumented immigrants coming to the U.S. One million Asian Americans are undocumented. In Texas, 44% of the state’s population is Latinx, Asian American, or Arab American.

    It is also important to note that there is an estimated 263,000 LGBTQ API immigrants, of which nearly 40,000 are undocumented. Studies have found the LGBT undocumented immigrant population to be disproportionately Asian.

    Texas SB 4 would equally subject both Latinx and Asian Americans, and LGBT people who are ethnic and racial minorities, to illegal profiling regarding immigration status.

    Texas Senate Bill 4 would subject both Asian Americans and Latinxs to discriminatory stops and interrogation about their immigration status, even for people who have not been charged with any crime. If this law is allowed to go into effect, it stands without question that our community members will be caught in the crossfire.

    We’ve Seen this Before

    The parallels between today’s immigration struggles and the history of Asians people in America run deep. Asian Americans have endured unjust profiling by law enforcement because of our race, over the years and today.

    The Chinese Exclusion Act of 1882, later made permanent in 1902, was the first law ever enacted to permanently exclude a specific ethnic group from immigrating to the United States based on race and also excluded Chinese immigrants from applying for US citizenship and essentially legalized racial discrimination. The Japanese American internment during World War II stemmed more from racism and prejudice than from any calculated analysis of security threats. The traumatic experiences and memories of internment continue to shape the fabric of Japanese and Asian American consciousness today. Texas was home to three of those internment camps.

    Our South Asian community members have faced intensified scrutiny and profiling since 9/11 and, more recently, since the election of Trump. These encounters, interrogations, and attacks are often driven by Islamophobia and motivated by blanket perceptions of all South Asian people as Muslim. This kind of everyday profiling happens at airports, on public streets, in gated communities, and on the subway.

    The targeting of Chinese American scientists forms another dimension of racial profiling in America: Wen Ho Lee, Xiaoxing Xi, Sherry Chen, Guoqing Cao, and Shuyu Li, among others, were all accused of espionage, only to have their charges dropped with little or no explanation. Even so, the consequences of having been accused of spying reverberated in these individuals’ lives long after the government had moved on.

    As Asian Americans, we must take a stand against Texas Senate Bill 4, because our collective histories demonstrate that no one should be singled out and discriminated against merely for looking Latinx, gay, Asian, queer, Muslim, or trans.

    We Can Win

    OCA-GH stands strongly against SB4 and organized an AAPI advocacy Day during this recent State Legislature for members to speak with their representatives on this issue and our members urged to the Houston City Council to join the lawsuit against the state. OCA-GH supported the joint community press conference on the negative impact of SB4 on the Texas economy and families and continues to hold community education forums on the impact of SB4.

    NQAPIA organized its Texas member groups and several more from throughout the South to write letters immediately after Texas’ governor signed Senate Bill 4 into law. Our coalition of LGBTQ API organizations hand-wrote 50 letters to the Harris County sheriff, the Houston mayor and police chief, and the city’s council members. We urged these officials to sue the state so as to block the law from taking effect, and we thanked them for taking a stand against the bill.

    The following month, the Houston City Council voted to join one of the pending lawsuits against the bill.

    Our voices as matter. We can make a difference. The first step is to educate yourself. (You can read up on the details of Texas Senate Bill 4 here, and there’s a know-your-rights breakdown here.) Then — whether it be in the form of a handwritten letter, a phone call, a protest, or a rally — show up and hold space in solidarity with our immigrant family.

    The writers: Deborah Y. Chen is the Civic Engagement Programs Director of OCA-Asian Pacific American Advocates Greater Houston Chapter, and Glenn D. Magpantay is the Executive Director of the National Queer Asian Pacific Islander Alliance (NQAPIA).

    Reposted from Huffington Post

  • Sat, August 26, 2017 12:00 AM | Anonymous

    26 August 2017
    Contact: Thu Nguyen | Communications Associate
    202.223.5500 |

    Washington, D.C. – OCA – Asian Pacific American Advocates condemns President Trump’s directive to ban transgender military service members. 

    Last night, President Trump issued a memorandum directing the Departments of Defense and Homeland Security to ban transgender military personnel from serving. The decision to remove already serving transgender individuals from the military is left to Defense Secretary Jim Mattis.  The policy also restricts access to important medical treatment for transgender individuals currently in the armed forces.

    “It is unconscionable for President Trump to further reinforce state sanctioned discrimination against the transgender community. Despite the historic and ongoing hatred and violence many transgender individuals face, they still love and cherish our freedom and our democracy enough to put their lives on the line for us,” said Vicki Shu, OCA National Vice President of Public Affairs.

    “There are 1.4 million trans adults in the United States. Fifty-six percent of Asian American Pacific Islander trans individuals have attempted suicide largely due to the harassment and hate they face. For the President to completely take away their option to choose to protect their country only serves to dehumanize an already marginalized population. We remain committed to working with our partners to combat this and any other attacks on the LGBTQ community,” concluded Shu.

    Earlier this month at the OCA National Convention, the OCA National Board passed a resolution further resolving to support the LGBTQ+ community.

    OCA – Asian Pacific American Advocates is a national organization of community advocates dedicated to improving the social, political, and economic well-being of Asian American Pacific Islanders (AAPIs). 

    OCA – Asian Pacific American Advocates | 202-223-5500 |

  • Fri, August 25, 2017 12:00 AM | Anonymous

    25 August 2017
    CONTACT:  Thu Nguyen | Communications Associate
    202.223.5500 |

    WASHINGTON, D.C. – OCA – Asian Pacific American Advocates responds to the Axios’ report that President Trump is “seriously considering ending DACA”:

    “There are over 800,000 DACA recipients, over 16,000 of whom are AAPI. Repealing DACA would bring irreparable harm to the Asian American and Pacific Islander community,” said Vicki Shu, OCA Vice President of Public Affairs. “In the past, President Trump has expressed sympathy for DACA recipients and those eligible for DACA. We urge the President to continue to protect the DACA program. OCA remains committed to advocating for a pathway to citizenship. Until that happens, OCA will keep pushing the President to keep the program alive, and we will advocate for passage of the bi-partisan supported DREAM Act in Congress.”

    Click HERE to read OCA’s previous release regarding the fifth anniversary of DACA.

    OCA – Asian Pacific American Advocates is a national organization of community advocates dedicated to improving the social, political, and economic well-being of Asian American Pacific Islanders (AAPIs).

    OCA – Asian Pacific American Advocates | 202-223-5500 |

  • Wed, August 16, 2017 6:01 PM | Anonymous


    August 16, 2017

    HCAH Contact:
    Eesha Pandit
    tel: 281-772-1307


    The Houston Coalition Against Hate (HCAH) joins many other communities around the country in condemning the message of white supremacist groups this past weekend in Charlottesville, Virginia, and the violence that they engendered.

    We join the many voices around the nation in denouncing the hatred we saw on display, recognizing that this tragedy is not an isolated incident, but rather the manifestation of centuries of systemic violence, racism, and anti-Semitism in this country. We send our condolences to the families of Heather Heyer, Jay Cullen and Berke M. M. Bates, and we hold in our hearts those who were injured while standing up to injustice.

    What happened in Charlottesville can serve as a teachable moment for Houston’s residents and leaders. As residents of one of the most diverse cities in the nation, we are proud of our city and our country’s diversity. At times like these, we must speak up, call out, and stand united against cruelty, bigotry and hate. We know that Houston is stronger when all of our communities feel safe in the expression of their unique ethnic and cultural backgrounds and we are committed to ensuring that Houston is an inclusive and welcoming city.

    The Houston Coalition Against Hate is a network of community-based organizations in Houston that have come together to collectively address incidents of bias, hate, discrimination and violence against Houstonians because of their religion, race/ethnicity, gender, disability, age, sexual orientation, gender identity/expression, and immigration status.


    Alliance for Compassion and Tolerance
    American Civil Liberties Union of Texas
    Anti-Defamation League - Southwest Region
    The Asia Society
    Catholic Charities of the Archdiocese of Galveston Houston
    The Chinese Community Center
    Council on American Islamic Relations - Texas
    Daya, Inc.
    Holocaust Museum Houston
    Houston Endowment
    Houston GLBT Political Caucus
    Houston Immigration Legal Services Collaborative
    Interfaith Ministries for Greater Houston
    The Montrose Center
    OCA-Greater Houston
    The Rothko Chapel
    Stardust Fund
    The Simmons Foundation
    Texas Organizing Project
    United We Dream - Houston
    University of Houston Graduate College of Social Work

  • Sat, May 06, 2017 12:00 AM | Anonymous

    OCA–Wisconsin and Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett at the signing ceremony for a proclamation observing the anniversary of the Chinese Exclusion Act.

    WASHINGTON, D.C. - As the nation kicks off Asian Pacific American Heritage Month, OCA - Asian Pacific American Advocates and its chapters recognized the 135th anniversary of the Chinese Exclusion Act by supporting Day of Inclusion efforts nationwide.

    The Chinese Exclusion Act was signed into law by President Chester A. Arthur on May 6, 1882. This was the only law in American history to specifically exclude an ethnic group from entering the United States, as a result of decades of anti-Chinese sentiment where Chinese were blamed for unemployment and crime, the law also prohibited Chinese immigrants and their descendants from obtaining citizenship. This law remained in effect for over 60 years until it was finally overturned in 1943, and remains among the most shameful episodes in our nation's history. In 2012, a bipartisan Congressional Resolution formally expressed regret for the Chinese Exclusion Act.

    In observance of this anniversary, OCA chapters around the country led efforts to pass resolutions and proclamations observing the anniversary of the Chinese Exclusion Act in their local cities and counties. Cities that issued a resolution or proclamation include: Alameda, CA; Berkeley, CA; Cincinnati, OH; Milwaukee, WI; Pittsburgh, PA; Sacramento, CA; and Seattle, WA. This accompanies other resolutions in San Francisco, CA and Los Angeles, CA.

    OCA–Sacramento and Sacramento Mayor Darrell Steinberg at the signing ceremony for their proclamation on the Chinese Exclusion Act.

    "We are glad that our chapters have called upon their elected officials to openly state that exclusion was wrong then, and it is wrong now. As we celebrate our numerous achievements in this country, Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders must continue to remain steadfast in speaking out for inclusion of all members of our society, regardless of religion or national origin. Let this day be known as a Day of Inclusion, as a reminder that we can never fall back to exclusion," said Vicki Shu, Vice President of Public Affairs.

    Organizers will convene a Rally for Inclusion today in Portsmouth Square in the San Francisco Chinatown. For more information on the Rally for Inclusion in San Francisco, visit

    OCA–East Bay and the Alameda City Council at the signing ceremony for their city council resolution on the Chinese Exclusion Act.

    OCA – Asian Pacific American Advocates | 202-223-5500 |

  • Sun, April 16, 2017 12:00 AM | Anonymous

    From left: OCA CEO Ken Lee, Linda Lai, and Phil Choy at the 2009 OCA National Convention in San Francisco, CA

    WASHINGTON, D.C. - OCA - Asian Pacific American Advocates remembers the life of Phil Choy, an Asian American trailblazer in the historical field. 

    On March 16, 2017, Phil Choy, an esteemed Chinese American historian and architect, passed away. Among his many accomplishments, he taught the first ever collegiate level course on Chinese American history at San Francisco State University. He also submitted the case report for the designation of the Angel Island Immigration Station on the National Register of Historical Places. OCA honored Choy and his frequent collaborator Him Mark Lai with the Outstanding Citizen Achievement Award for their contributions at the 2009 OCA National Convention in San Francisco.

    "We offer our deepest condolences to the family and friends of Phil Choy. His pioneering work in teaching Chinese American history and advocating for the preservation of important historical sites like Angel Island helped bring light to the struggles of these early immigrants. A passionate advocate for his community, the impression he left on this world will live on long after he has gone from it," said Sharon Wong, OCA National President.

    From the Chinese Historical Society of America (CHSA):

    A memorial service for Philip Choy will be held Sunday April 23, 2017 at 1:00 pm on Treasure Island at the site of the 1939 Golden Gate International Exhibition (1 Avenue of the Palms). More details and a guestbook to sign can be found here.

    OCA – Asian Pacific American Advocates | 202-223-5500 |

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