SEARAC is proud to host over 20 workshops led by and for Southeast Asian American community members at this year’s summit.

Check out a sneak peek of the exciting breakout sessions and impressive presenters slated for Moving Mountains 2019!

More workshop previews coming soon!


Reproductive Justice 101: Why AAPIs Need Intersectional Gender Justice

Presented by: Jaclyn Dean, National Asian Pacific American Women’s Forum

The movement for women's and reproductive rights have consistently excluded the voices of women of color, including AAPI women. In this workshop, participants will learn about the reproductive justice framework and explore how it allows AAPIs, especially Southeast Asians, to take up space in social justice movements so that we have the agency and autonomy to make decisions about our bodies, our families, and our communities. Participants will walk through a timeline of AAPIs in the US and reflect on themes of reproductive freedom or oppression and apply this lens to viewing current issues in reproductive health, immigration, and economic justice more intersectionally.

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Living History: Storytelling as Survival (for the Second Generation SEAA)

Presented by: Janit Saechao

Whose stories do we carry with us? How have these stories shaped our own personal narrative?

Collectively, we’ll connect with the power of our own stories through creative writing and storytelling. This workshop will hold space to unpack our intersectional Southeast Asian American identities by deepening our understanding of self in community. We will explore the ways that our lives have been shaped in the aftermath of our inherited refugee histories while reflecting on the threads of our individual narratives within the broader fabric of their peoples' stories of survival.

The purpose of this workshop is to offer participants a chance to practice transforming our respective narratives into various forms of story using traditional and contemporary methods including individual reflection, creative writing and group story sharing. Additionally, there will be supplemental reading material and resources offered. This workshop is best suited for those identifying as second-generation and beyond.

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Criminal Records and the Right to Move Forward

Presented by: Peggy Stevenson

When people learn about expungement law and related opportunities, they can envision ways their communities can move beyond mistakes of the past. People are generally unaware of their legal rights to clear criminal convictions from their records and reduce felonies to misdemeanors. Clearing one’s record opens doors to employment, housing, educational, family and other opportunities. Reducing felonies and misdemeanors can help with immigration.

Led by an attorney with decades of experience providing information to some of the most vulnerable communities, the sessions are accessible, transformative, and empowering. Engaging and interactive exercises help people see how the law is applied. People will learn of possibilities to increase creation of and access to legal services directed toward record clearance. Possible models of legal service delivery can be explored to meet needs. Through workshop presentation and related written materials, participants can evaluate and discuss strategies and potential implementation of expanding access to record clearance services.

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Fighting for the Schools Our Students Deserve

Presented by: Monica Thammarath, National Education ASSOCIATION


There is a movement sweeping the nation to fight back against corporate backed privatization of public education and fight for great public schools in every neighborhood. In this workshop, we will share about how UTLA, the second largest union in the nation, and OEA, an urban local of 3,000 members, both organized for powerful strikes this past year that changed the framing around public education and provide examples of how educators, parents, students, and community are successfully working together to build the schools their students deserve.. We will discuss the broader educational justice movement sweeping the nation, the importance of AAPIs and SEAAs in the movement, and explain why we are all LA and Oakland. Participants will be able to start thinking about the schools their students deserve, be inspired to work with a diverse coalition to build power for those schools, and realize that only by working in our broader movement of all stakeholders can we win concrete things like the Schools and Communities First Initiative for our communities.

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Interrogating Internalized Racial Oppression Within the Southeast Asian/Southeast Asian American Community

Presented by: Soukprida Phetmisy, Chingcha Vang, & amnat chittaphong

As aspiring anti-racist and anti-bias equity leaders, we must be able to pull a mirror on ourselves and interrogate the ways in which we may, unintentionally or not, be perpetuating social structures, beliefs, and values that uphold white supremacy and the race construct. By unpacking our understanding of Internalized Racial Oppression (IRO), defined as a complex, multi-generational socialization process in which People of Color learn to accept, believe, and live out negative, and often inferior, societal definitions of self (Crossroads AntiRacism), through our own unique lens, we start to move toward a place of resilience and healing, while also deepening our analysis of structural racism. Together in this session, we will: 

●      Explore how IRO shows up in our lives (particularly as Southeast Asian/Southeast Asian Americans within the broader AANHPI community) via chalk talk of images

●      Come to a collective understanding of IRO via readings and conversation

●      Engage in reflection and dialogue around how IRO impacts our work as equity leaders, and what we must do about it

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TRIGGERED: Owning Your Healing Through Radical Storytelling

Presented by: Susan Lieu

Something happens and you feel overwhelming emotion -- you’ve been triggered. While traumatic events can catapult purpose, they can also create blockages with the self and others if not addressed. Radical Storytelling is a vehicle to disempower past traumas by facing and reclaiming them in a supportive environment. Performance Artist Susan Lieu will role model Radical Storytelling with an excerpt of her solo show 140 LBS: HOW BEAUTY KILLED MY MOTHER. After the performance, Susan will teach body movement exercises to ground the storytellers, share a feedback framework, and create space for SEARAC participants to reclaim their stories in small groups.


Homemaking: Building a SEAAsterScholars Collective

Presented by: Varaxy Yi, Jacqueline Mac, Vanessa Na, & Latana Thaviseth

How do we make a home in spaces not built for us? We are Southeast Asian American (SEAA) womxn in higher education and members of the SEAAster Scholars Collective and we commit to advancing scholarship about, with, for, and by SEAA communities. The Collective is our home. In this session, we share the ways we facilitated communication and connection despite physical distance, leveraged higher education resources to conduct research together, and supported each other as fellow SEAAs. Join us in dialogue to share experiences and strategies to build other collectives across your networks. Let’s build with and for each other.

Participants will (1) gain an understanding of how the concepts of homemaking can be used to elevate and center the experiences of research with SEAAs; (2) challenge and interrogate the spiritual, psychological, and physical structures that inhibit collectivism in higher education; and (3) develop an action plan for building collectivistic spaces that align with their cultural values in various contexts.

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Nonfiction Storytelling in Social Justice Movements

Presented by: Lan Nguyen

How are our community’s stories told, and how do these storytelling methods impact our movement work? As a case study, filmmaker Lan Nguyen will provide workshop attendees with a special sneek peak of her upcoming documentary Fighting For Family, which chronicles the journey of a Montagnard family separated by deportation and fighting for reunification. Following the screening, workshop participants will discuss how cultural production can be utilized to mobilize communities. Attendees will participate in the process of brainstorming ideas for their own nonfiction storytelling projects to accompany their movement work.

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The Power of Youth Leadership & Youth Organizing

Presented by: Alliance of Rhode island Southeast Asians for education (ARISE)

Chanda Womack, Rosey Ok, Ngan Nguyen, Salimatou Kaba, Jeny Daniels-Savin, & Ger Lee

As an educational justice organization who center the voices of young people, we believe in the vital importance of their development in leading the change they want to see in their communities. Our session will focus on building and sustaining youth power, session attendees will hear directly from youth about their work and be witness to what intergenerational and multi-racial leadership & organizing looks like.

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When We Fight, We Win: Southeast Asian Deportation Organizing in Northern California

Presented by: Nate Tan, Ny Nourn, Anoop Prasad, & Rhummanee Hang


Pel Yeung Brachhang, Yeung Chhneah! When We Fight, We Win! Hear from impacted family members and organizers from Advancing Justice-Asian Law Caucus, Center for Empowering Refugees and Immigrants (CERI), and Asian Prisoner Support Committee on their successful fight to prevent their loved ones’ deportations to Cambodia.

There will be a moderated panel discussion featuring family members, organizers, and individuals who have faced deportation. The session will also include a presentation on APSC’s Hope is Contagious project, a multimedia project featuring original illustrations by artist Natalie Bui, photographs from actions, and interview quotes from the Khmer anti-deportation movement (Many Uch, Ny Nourn, Peejay Ai, Montha Chum, Jenny Srey, Anoop Prasad, and family members impacted by deportation in the recent round of ICE raids in the Cambodian community).

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Making “Cents” Out of Advocacy: A Guide to California Budget Advocacy

Presented by: Catherina Nou, Michelle Nguyen, Yong Hee Eo Salas

Passing a budget is one of the most important functions of the State Legislature, but the process is also one of the most confusing for advocates. Participants of this workshop will gain an understanding of the California budget process and the roles advocates have in shaping it.  Participants will learn key budget dates and deadlines, effective budget messaging, and strategic advocacy tips.

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Building Muscle Memory for Healing Justice

Presented by: Jaq Nguyen Victor

Dig & Demand is a grassroots program that flips the script on the mainstream Western model of mental health through critical literacy skills and embodied play interventions. Want a taste of what the 5-month cohort intensive offers? Say goodbye to education that is only accessible to activist scholars. Say goodbye to therapy that acts like bodies are dangerous or irrelevant for trauma recovery. In Dig & Demand, we will demystify academic concepts, like “hermeneutical injustice.” We will also play, not just to talk about buzzwords for healing, like “vulnerability” or “liberation,” but in order to build muscle memory for living these concepts.

The purpose of this workshop is to learn key concepts of mental health and political literacy from the Dig & Demand curriculum, as well as bringing those concepts to life in playful, accessible, and practical ways. There are many people who believe collective healing or critical theory is not for them. The Southeast Asian community deserves not only to get their healing justice needs met, but to have opportunities that feel compelling, safe, and genuine enough to even discover what those needs are.


Family Caregiving in Southeast Asian American Communities

Presented by: Jenna McDavid, Jannette Diep, Quyen Dinh, & Vattana Peong

Our research has taught us that very little is known about family caregivers in communities of color, LGBT communities, and American Indian/Alaska Native communities. Limited data disaggregation means that even less information is available about Southeast Asian American caregivers. The Diverse Elders Coalition (DEC) collected more than 1200 surveys from people caring for diverse older adults, including more than 200 surveys from SEAA caregivers, and spoke to family caregivers in a series of nationwide focus groups. Join the DEC and several of SEARAC's community-based partners to learn more about our findings and what we can do to better meet the needs of caregivers in our communities.

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Connecting SEAs: An Inspiring Lesson from the Pacific Northwest

Presented by: Sam Le, Ay Saechao, & Tony Vo

Learn how a small group of passionate Southeast Asian Americans in Washington State started a movement to catapult Southeast Asian Americans from invisibility to a socio-political powerhouse, resulting in the passage of Washington State House Bill 1541 and institutional change in the education system. This session focuses on how anyone of us can make a transform the system through collective visioning, community building, empowerment, and strategic cultivation of allies.

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Immigration Reform: A New Way Forward

Presented by: Kham Moua

The 1996 immigration laws are directly responsible for the deportation of thousands of Southeast Asian Americans. Join the SEARAC team to learn more about immigration reform nationally and how you can get involved in a new campaign effort to repeal these laws. Participants can expect to also learn how to phonebank their networks, culminating in a large group phonebank to their elected officials and networks in support of new legislation.

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Within the Family: When Sexual Violence Happens…

Presented by: PhenG Thao

Sexual violence happens in the family. Many families do not know how to navigate when this happens -- as community leaders, service providers and community organizers what is your role to help these families. This roundtable will explore how prevalent sexual violence happens in the home and how the family and individual who have experienced sexual violence, including the person who caused the harm, pave ways to re-connect and reconcile once sexual violence happens within the family.

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Being Seen and Heard: The Inclusion of Southeast Asian Students in Higher Education - Assertion of Our Communities for Greater Equity and Success

Presented by: Matthew mock, leni tran, & Stephanie Phan

This will be a unique forum bringing together some diverse voices among Southeast Asian students including some who are immigrant or refugee, some who are bi-racial, some quite acculturated, some included, some marginalized even in higher education. Through their own narratives we will hear some of their reflections, struggles as well as triumphs in pursuit of educational success. In addition to actual presenters describing their experiences there will be narratives presented via films and national media materials.

Central issues such as intra-Asian diversity and complexity, the role of family, immigrant versus refugee status, acculturation, assimilation on campus, culture shock, generational influences, historical trauma, familial pressures for success, the continued “model minority” myth, racism and discrimination as they impact Asian identity at universities will be used as bases for presentation and audience dialogue. Ongoing cultural barriers of stigma and shame in help-seeking for emotional, physical and educational success may also be examined. Southeast Asian success on university campuses extends beyond academics to social, emotional, psychological, physical and familial health. A case for addressing the multiple, complex needs of Southeast Asian university and college students will be summarized. Finally, successful strategies for continued greater inclusion of diversity among Southeast Asian students and future professionals will be explored. Recommendations for academic support and success, policymakers, community advocates and more will be made.

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Getting Out the Southeast Asian Vote!

Presented by: amy horn, Cha Vang, & Timmy Lu

Workshop participants will explore the practice of building community power through electoral and community organizing. By combining voter outreach with deep year-round organizing, community groups have been successful at winning progressive policy, expanding the electorate, and empowering Southeast Asian communities. Presenters from Hmong Innovating Politics and Khmer Girls in Action will share best practices of engaging Southeast Asian voters and community members in the electoral process, the important role of young people, and how voting builds on the legacy of Black liberation struggles and multiracial social justice movements.


Organizing to Oppose Public Charge: How the One Nation Movement Mobilized Southeast Asian American Voices

Presented by: Thu Quach & Hamida Yusufzai

This summer, the Trump Administration finalized harmful "public charge" regulation forcing immigrant communities to make the impossible choice between their immigration status and critical (and oftentimes life-saving) benefits for their families and children. In response to this, a community of Asian American leaders through the One Nation movement came together to mobilize opposition to this proposal through congressional advocacy, community education, and public outcry through rallies and actions. Join us to learn more about public charge rule, its impacts on the Southeast Asian and broader Asian American community, and the groundbreaking organizing and mobilization led by the One Nation movement.

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