An Open Letter to the Asian American Community

874 Harvard Students:

November 11, 2019

To the Asian American “Community,”

Today was the walkout and rally to defend all immigrants along with the DACA and TPS programs that have been under constant attack by the current administration. 

The Asian American Womxn’s Association (AAWA) co-organized this event with Act on a Dream, an organization that pours immense labor into advocating for immigrants’ and undocu+ rights, both on campus and beyond. Many organizations across the university also contributed to the walkout by co-sponsoring and students from across the College and the graduate schools chose to actively show their support in a conscious walkout from class. 

During the planning process, active efforts were made to reach out to the Asian American organizations at the college, including Asian American Association (AAA), Chinese Students Association (CSA), Harvard Korean Association (HKA), Taskforce for Asian and Pacific American Studies (TAPAS), South Asian Association (SAA), South Asian Women’s Collective (SAWC), Harvard Vietnamese Association (HVA), Harvard Philippine Forum (HPF), Khmer Student Association (KSA), Asian American Brotherhood (AAB), and South Asian Men’s Collective (SAMC). Of these organizations, only TAPAS, HPF, and KSA co-sponsored the walkout.

The majority of organizations contacted did not respond to AAWA’s co-sponsorship request, and the few that did delivered the disappointing news that there was not enough support for immigrant rights on their board. This is not without consequence. In doing so, you have outed yourselves as non-safe spaces for undocu+ people within the Asian American community.

This response is unacceptable, and quite frankly, extremely disappointing. There are about 1.7 million Asian undocumented immigrants in the United States. This number represents 1 out of every 6 undocumented immigrants in this country, and also means that 1 out of every 7 Asian immigrants is undocumented. ICE raids and deportations on Southeast Asian refugee communities have ramped up since 2017. Of the estimated 35,000 intercountry adoptees without citizenship, 20,000 are Korean Americans. Many of your Asian American peers, staff, co-workers, tutors, professors, and friends on campus are among those impacted, as well as our friends and families beyond these gates.