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Tony Lu

Your Questions   1 | 2 6 Questions

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Question: You talk about your individual and collective journey "from living without really being conscious of the world around us, into a life where we began to understand ourselves and our community in the context of history and what is happening in the world." What's your process for training other young people to advocate for their own communities?

CAAAV: We train young people to learn about the struggles, histories and cultures of their communities and other communities of color. We lead structured discussions where we challenge each other to question our perceptions and how we think about the world. We learn how to listen to others' perspectives and evaluate them in the context of our community.

Question: I've heard recently that the U.S. has started a quiet campaign to deport Cambodian refugees. What is CAAAV doing on this issue? How can people get involved?

CAAAV: We here in the Chinatown Justice Project of CAAAV do not work on the issue of Cambodian repatriation. However, in response to the repatriation agreement between Cambodia and the United States, CAAAV has formed the Khmer Freedom Campaign. We have asked the members of the Khmer Freedom Campaign to answer your question. Here is their response:

We at CAAAV are taking this moment to respond back to your question concerning the recent and hot topic in the Cambodian communityDEPORTATION.

What are we at CAAAV doing around Cambodian deportation? Well, this is a very good question. As you may know, CAAAV does organizing in low-income Asian communities in NYC. One project of CAAAV works directly with Southeast Asians (mainly Cambodian and Vietnamese) in the Bronx. The issue of repatriation (a fancy word for deportation) is a very serious issue for us. We feel that the deportation agreement between the U.S. and Cambodia is unjust and is a direct attack on our community. To date (in just mere months since the agreement was signed), thirty-seven Cambodian people have been deported, including an 80-year-old grandfather.

Locally, CAAAV held community education events about deportation and how it affects the community in NYC and we are preparing to launch a public awareness campaign. Nationally, CAAAV is working with Southeast Asian communities from different parts of the countryfrom Long Beach (CA), the largest Cambodian population in the U.S., to Lowell (MA), the largest Cambodian population on the East Coast, to Oakland (CA), Madison (WI), Providence (RI), and Philly. The Southeast Asian Freedom Network (as the network is called) seeks to mobilize the Southeast Asian community to oppose deportation. One of the first actions we took was the National Day of Action on November 7th and 8th, where simultaneous actions/demonstrations from different cities took place on the same day. The main objective was to highlight the secret agreement between the US and Cambodia, and the extreme consequences (deportation) of this agreement.

This communication between different community groups is a continuous process, and we hope to bring a national attention and a national strategy to the injustice of deportation and poverty. If you know someone being deported (or family members who are concerned about someone they know), please feel free to call us at (718) 220-7391 x 16.

How can you get involved? The most important thing you can do is to get Southeast Asian (Cambodian, Vietnamese, Laotian) individuals or groups in contact with CAAAV, so that we can link them to our national network. Even if they themselves are not in immediate danger of deportation, the chances are very high that someone in their immediate community is at risk (and may not even know it). By contacting us, we can help them find potential deportees in their immediate community, and provide those deportees with much-needed legal and organizational support. The other way you can help is through financial support. CAAAV is a non-profit 501(c)(3), and we need as much help as we can get. Again, if you have any questions call us at (718) 220-7391 x 16.

We thank you for all your thoughtful questions. We would like to invite everyone in the New York City area to our film screening at 7:00 PM on Friday, December 13th at 184 Eldridge Street in Manhattan to learn more about the struggles we face.

Want to read more? Check out CAAAV's answers to P.O.V.'s 6 questions, the same 6 we asked all of the featured guests.

about CAAAV and the Chinatown Justice Project


CAAAV: Organizing Asian Communities is a community organization in New York City. Our mission is to build the power of Asian immigrants in New York City to combat racist violence, which includes economic exploitation, environmental racism, poverty, and state violence.


Learn more about gentrification and struggle in Chinatown, in this article from The Village Voice:
Chinatown Factory Faces Eviction


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Luis J. RodriguezLUIS J. RODRIGUEZ



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