Sakhi provides insight to The White House

Sakhi joins other community based orgnaizations to offer valuable input to the White House Initiative on Asian American Pacific Islanders

On April 8, 2011 Sakhi met with The White House Initiative on Asian American Pacific Islanders team to inform the Initiative’s efforts to understand the critical issues facing AAPIs face in the United States today.

Held at the Ms. Foundation’s office in Brooklyn, the meeting brought Sakhi together with advocates and representatives from other women’s anti-violence agencies and civil rights organizations such as the New York Asian Women’s Center, Chhaya CDC, the Asian American Legal Defense and Education Fund as well as representatives from other marginalized community based groups.

The round table meeting offered community organizations the opportunity to express critical issues, while allowing the Initiative to gather recommendations on how the federal agencies can better meet the community’s needs. “On the whole, AAPI community advocates and organizations are working tirelessly to meet the needs of the local communities, yet are largely unaware of the federal resources available to support their work” said Ms. Miya Saika Chen; the Initiatives Community Engagement Advisor.

During the roundtable, advocates educated the Initiative about a variety of issues, including, for example, about single mothers who are survivors of domestic abuse and living with friends and thus being undercounted in homelessness numbers, and women workers in the service industry who are working longer hours for less pay.

Sethu Nair, Sakhi’s Outreach & Media Advocate raised concerns about the critical issue of langauge access.  Over the past 21 years, Sakhi has been on the forefront of policy and advocacy work to ensure that survivors of violence have acess to information they need. In many federal agencies important documents and rights manuals are still only printed in English and Spanish. There is a great need for documents translated in Asian languages. “In New York City and other such cities with large immigrant populations the availability of language accessible services often determine for example, whether a survivor of domestic violence can fight for child custody, articulate that her life is in danger, advocate for safe shelter space and demand her rights,” said Ms. Nair.

The WHIAPPI team asserted that their goal is to gather all feedback and use it to inform national efforts to improve the lives of Asian American women. “Women’s issues are near and dear to the Initiative’s heart and we fully intend to raise the issues you all shared with our colleagues within the White House and with the various agencies” said Ms. Kiran Ahuja; Director of the Initiative.