National Council of Asian Pacific Americans (NCAPA), Southeast Asia Resource Action Center (SEARAC), and Asian Pacific American Labor Alliance (APALA) Launch #AAPI4SentencingReform
Three months ago today, the Senate Judiciary Committee reported the Sentencing Reform and Corrections Act (S. 2123) on a strong bipartisan vote, which NCAPA supported. The full Senate has not yet considered this legislation, so NCAPA, SEARAC, and APALA are launching #AAPI4SentencingReform, a social media effort to encourage Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders who support this bill to tell their Senators to do the same.
The centerpiece is a letter that constituents can send their Senators, discussing the impact of criminal justice reform on the AAPI community and urging prompt consideration of S. 2123.
Christopher Kang, NCAPA national director: “We have launched this effort to mobilize support for the bipartisan Sentencing Reform and Corrections Act, but also to educate—both inside and outside the AAPI community—how criminal justice reform impacts us and why we support it, including in solidarity with our fellow communities of color. We urge the Senate to consider this important legislation as soon as possible.”
Quyên Dinh, SEARAC executive director and NCAPA executive committee Chair: "SEARAC supports the Sentencing Reform and Corrections Act, which would greatly address the over-criminalization of many Southeast Asian Americans, and urges the Senate to consider and pass it as quickly as possible. While this legislation is an important first step, those struggling with the legacies of war and trauma must also be given a second chance to reunite with their families and heal, and we believe a system of restorative justice for all must address the prison to deportation pipeline as well."
Gregory Cendana, APALA executive director and NCAPA executive committee member: "Through organizing efforts across the country, Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders—and all people of color—are all coming together, exposing the school to prison to deportation pipeline and demanding action from our elected officials. APALA urges the Senate to pass the Sentencing Reform and Corrections Act without any further delay. This legislation is a step in the right direction in our efforts to end mass criminalization in our communities. "
Today’s initiative builds on our recent work, including a meeting last month with White House officials to specifically discuss the AAPI experiences, concerns, and priorities in reforming the criminal justice system. This meeting, convened by NCAPA, was attended by NCAPA members SEARAC, APALA, Asian Americans Advancing Justice | AAJC, National Korean American Service & Education Consortium (NAKASEC), and OCA - Asian Pacific American Advocates, as well as Asian Americans Advancing Justice-Los Angeles (AAAJ-LA), Asian Prisoner Support Committee (APSC), and National Education Association (NEA).
Last month, AAAJ-LA, APALA, APSC, NEA, and SEARAC also released the groundbreaking report Asian Americans & Pacific Islanders Behind Bars and held a Congressional briefing, in which Representatives Judy Chu, Chair of the Congressional Asian Pacific American Caucus, and Bobby Scott, Ranking Member of the Committee on Education and the Workforce, also made remarks. Discussing the impact of mass incarceration and mass criminalization within the AAPI community, this policy report was created after a historic convening held in June 2015 inside the walls of San Quentin State Prison that connected more than 100 leaders with actively incarcerated AAPI prisoners. The report was written in collaboration with prisoners enrolled in an APSC transformation and racial healing program called Restoring Our Original True Selves (ROOTS) and offered a number of policy recommendations that would better serve the incarcerated AAPI community, including the implementation of culturally competent programs, reformation of sentencing laws, reinstitution of Pell grants to fund prisoners’ college educations, repeal of the 1996 Illegal Immigration Reform and Immigrant Responsibility Act, and the creation of a prison-to-jobs pipeline.
Based in Washington, D.C., the National Council of Asian Pacific Americans is a coalition of 35 national Asian Pacific American organizations that serves to represent the interests of Asian American, Native Hawaiian, and Pacific Islander (AANHPI) communities and to provide a national voice for our communities’ concerns. Our communities are the fastest growing racial/ethnic group in the United States, currently making up approximately six percent of the population.