more on the gulf spill and aapi communities

Here's a New York Times article on psychological stress and the mental well-being -- hopelessness, anxiety, stress, anger, depression and even suicidal thoughts -- of those whose lives and jobs have been most affected by the oil spill: Spill Takes Toll on Gulf Workers' Psyches.

And here's a blog post by Miya Saika Chen and Audrey Buehring of the White House Initiative on Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders, who were recently deployed to the Gulf Coast to assess the immediate needs of the Southeast Asian American community: The Impact of the Gulf Oil Spill on AAPI Communities.
We visited community centers, churches and temples in Alabama, Mississippi and Louisiana. We met with seafood processors, fishers, crabbers, shrimpers, oysterfolk and boat welders, many who have been working in these specialized trades for generations. Over meals, roundtable discussions and town hall meetings, we listened to people talk about their livelihoods, their deep connection to the sea, and the challenges they face as a result of the devastating oil spill.

In Irvington, Alabama, we spoke to a Thai American crabber who owns two boats and has lived in the United States for over 40 years. She and her workers set traps and catch crabs during the day, then make deliveries to restaurants and seafood processing plants in the evenings. She had invested in $17,000 worth of new traps in anticipation of the coming crab season. All of this has been lost since the oil spill began over seven weeks ago, and she's been unable to provide for her workers, nor for herself. During a town hall meeting with Vietnamese, Laotian, Thai and Cambodian Americans, she kindly smiled and said, "Just please put us to work. We are a proud people. We don't want to beg. We want to work."

In Biloxi, Mississippi, we heard from the daughter of a Vietnamese American fisherman, who, along with many of her peers, have galvanized a coalition of community groups in the area to organize bilingual community forums for Vietnamese American fishers. She told us, "Our families are falling apart. Our lives as we know it are gone. We will no longer get to eat the seafood our father and brother catch. We won't have the opportunity to come help with unloading the shrimp when their boats come in after two weeks out at sea. We won't have financial support from them because they can't do the work they have done for the past 20-30 years - catching shrimp, fish, crab, oysters. It is very sad to see our family members' careers as fishermen ending because of this BP oil spill disaster."
These are just some of the stories from the region -- stories of regular people struggling to live their lives, but finding themselves held down by circumstances and challenges beyond their control.

One of the most frustrating things seems to be the lack of awareness about available disaster recovery resources. But the Administration is trying to take steps to ensure support gets the right people. Read the rest of the post here. And visit aapi.gov to get updates and learn how you can get involved.

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