We are honored to be releasing a 3-episode special feature with SEARAC, also known as the Southeast Asian Resource Action Center. “SEARAC is a national civil rights organization that empowers Cambodian, Laotian, and Vietnamese American communities to create a socially just and equitable society. As representatives of the largest refugee community ever resettled in the United States, SEARAC stands together with other refugee communities, communities of color, and social justice movements in pursuit of social equity.” Each month from October to December 2018, Project Voice will be releasing an episode that highlights an important social justice issue that SEARAC is fighting for on behalf of Southeast Asian American families, students, and elders.
This month, our topic of discussion will be on our current government’s immigration policies. Oftentimes, the fight for immigrant justice does not uplift or highlight the behind the scenes organizing anchored by the wives, sisters, and community members of those facing deportation, today we are going to have SEARAC share a new resource created by and for families who have been directly impacted by unjust deportation policies. Particularly, this toolkit centers around the experience of the #ReleaseMN8 campaign in its rise to prominence since its creation in 2016. Katrina, SEARAC’s Director of National Policy, will be imparting us valuable findings from the Southeast Asian American Solidarity Toolkit: A Guide to Resisting Deportations and Detentions from The #ReleaseMN8 Campaign.
What is “#ReleaseMN8”?
“In August 2016, the families and supporters of eight Cambodian American men in Minnesota—collectively known as the MN8—decided to organize a campaign to fight the sudden detention and orders of deportation of their loved ones. The #ReleaseMN8 campaign wanted the men, all in their 30s and 40s, to return to the communities where they had faced and overcome countless difficulties in their lives. It also sought to inspire others to join the movement to restore human rights to all refugees and immigrants. The #ReleaseMN8 campaign went public in September 2016. The determination and commitment of the MN8, their families, and their supporters led to the eventual release of three of the eight men.”
Katrina is the Director of National Policy, leading and coordinating SEARAC’s national advocacy efforts promoting social justice and equity among Southeast Asian American communities. Prior to this role, she served as SEARAC’s Immigration Policy Manager for three years overseeing the organization’s immigration policy and racial healing work. Before coming to SEARAC, Katrina worked in the labor movement for six years at the American Federation of Labor and Congress of Industrial Organizations (AFL-CIO). In 2011, she was elected to serve as DC chapter president of the Asian Pacific American Labor Alliance (APALA), the only national Asian American and Pacific Islander (AAPI) union membership organization. In this capacity, she led the chapter’s local advocacy campaigns and organizing work around immigrant workers’ rights, coordinated civic engagement programs for the 2012 elections, and strengthened local networks through extensive coalition building efforts. She also served on APALA’s National Executive Board and co-chaired the organization’s Young Leaders Council.
Katrina Dizon Mariategue holds a Master of Public Policy degree from the University of Maryland, College Park, where she also served as graduate coordinator at the Office of Multicultural Involvement and Community Advocacy to advise, mentor, and educate AAPI students on campus. In her free time, Katrina enjoys playing with her 2-year-old daughter, food tripping with her husband, binge watching shows on Netflix, and watching Broadway musicals.
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