Southeast Asian youth = Terrorists in Providence, RI!??

Our SEAsian friends from Providence RI have recently been attacked by the racist wife of the governor who thinks all brown people are terrorists. Here is their press release. All power to the Providence Youth Student Movement!


For immediate release: Wednesday, February 6
Contact: Kohei Ishihara, kohei@prysm.us (401) 419-5713
Davide Gnoato, davide@prysm.us (401) 383-7450

Youth invite Governor and family, public and press to tour their HQ to learn about Southeast Asian community, the impact of translator layoffs and budget cuts

Today, youth and young adults will gather at the offices of the Providence Youth Student Movement (PrYSM), located at 807 Broad St (the RI Indian Council building). The gathering will feature a brief press conference in the 1st floor meeting space (enter through side door). Then, everyone will be invited for refreshments and a tour of the small but colorful PrYSM offices on the dormer level, where teenagers and young adults gather for self-led GED classes, support groups, education and organizing on issues affecting their lives and families.

Yesterday, the Governor's office released a statement (which has not been provided to PrYSM) insisting that Sue Carcieri did not mean to compare the youth to Bhutto's assassins, despite her direct statement, and that she was upset that her husband was accused of bias. However, Tam Nguyen, one of the youth referred to by Carcieri, had merely said that the the policy was racist, noting that youth are forced to leave school to provide translation for parents in the absence of state services, as quoted in the Providence Journal on December 12:

Taking away interpreters from our community is not going to solve the state's financial crisis; it's going to create another financial crisis in my community, as elders lose their benefits and connections to state services," he said.

Many times, Nguyen said, "my friends have had to skip school just to take their parents to the doctor's office or to the DMV [Division of Motor Vehicles]. The problem is, we are skipping school and the problem is, we are not even professionally trained — we should not take up the state's responsibilities."

The press conference will feature youth labeled by these remarks asking for an apology and inviting the Carcieris to a meeting in their community; an update on the translator lay-offs and explanation of the legal right to translation services in the school system and human services; and the launch of a sign-on statement uniting communities, individuals and political leaders against budget cuts that primarily harm immigrant and poor families.

"We are a group of youth and young adults who mentor each other, and we have nothing to hide," said Davide Gnoato, a PrYSM member, "And that's why we invite the Carcieris into our office and our community to learn about our experiences, and the impact of the Governor's cuts on our families."

Moderated by Kohei Ishihara, Executive Director of PrYSM, the press conference will include:
Steve Brown, Executive Director of RI ACLU, who is pursuing a civil rights complaint in support of translation services
Tam Nguyen, one of the PrYSM Youth Organizers referred to in Sue Carcieri's comments
Pirom Ting, member of Youth In Action, supporting the rights of youth to speak for ourselves
Marilyn Soum, the daughter of Molly Soum, who is a laid-off translator and past President of the RI Cambodian Society

In November, the state laid off all the Southeast Asian translators who served as critical liaisons to families of Cambodian, Vietnamese, Lao and Hmong origin in Rhode Island. Southeast Asian youth spoke at a December press conference on behalf of the Providence Youth and Student Movement (PrYSM), opposing the lay-offs.

On Sunday, January 27, columnist M. Charles Bakst of the Providence Journal interviewed gubernatorial wife Sue Carcieri, who said her spouse would be "rewarding bad behavior" if he met with the youth to learn more about their concerns. Shockingly, she then went on to compare these youth of color to terrorists, saying: "First of all, I think they have mentors who are much older than them who are training them up. You know — how those terrorists have kids blow up, you know, Benazir Bhutto and so forth? You think the kids thought of it? I don't think so."(http://www.projo.com/news/politics/content/SE_BAKST_COLUMN_27_01-27-08_4C8NNUS_v30.1238517.html)

PrYSM is a grass roots non-profit youth-led organization whose vision is to end all forms of violence, whether they come from the self, the community, or from institutions and systems. We organize for social change to foster the process of healing and dialogue, build support and love for those who are isolated and marginalized, and build power in our community

International Press Coverage of this ridiculous situation:


RI Students Seek Apology from wife of governor, The Boston Globe


Asian Students seek apology from US governor’s wife



Asian students seek apology from U.S. governor’s wife for suicide bomber comment.



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