Congressional Members Participate in Townhall with Asian American Fisherfolk

Nov 7, 2011

WASHINGTON, D.C.—Today, Congresswoman Judy Chu, Chair of the Congressional Asian Pacific American Caucus (CAPAC), Congressman Al Green, Chair of CAPAC’s Housing Taskforce, and Congressman Cedric Richmond of Louisiana’s 2nd District released the following statements after a recent townhall with Asian American fisherfolk in the Gulf Coast who were impacted by the BP oil spill:

Congresswoman Judy Chu: “The stories we heard at Saturday’s townhall made it clear that even 18 months after the Deepwater Horizon explosion, we are still a long way from making the Gulf Coast whole again. An estimated one third of shrimping boats in the Gulf were Vietnamese American owned and operated, and one in five Southeast Asian Americans in the region worked in the seafood processing industry. Now many of these same workers are suffering huge economic setbacks because of an oil spill that occurred through no fault of their own and has fundamentally changed the ecosystem they depend on.

“The Asian American community has faced continuous setbacks throughout the claims processes, including language barriers, failure to acknowledge subsistence claims, and pressure to accept premature final settlements far lower than their actual damages. CAPAC is fully committed to working with Congressman Cedric Richmond and the Gulf Coast fisherfolk to ensure that these issues are addressed and that they receive fair compensation for all that they have endured.”

Congressman Al Green: “The Gulf Coast oil spill has left too many fisherfolk with unresolved lawful claims. We are committed to helping them.”

Congressman Cedric Richmond: “This town hall was important and timely because people shouldn’t have to languish while waiting for their claim to be processed. I will continue to pressure the GCCF to ensure that payments are fair and quick. The slow pace is forcing people to settle for payments much less than they deserve. Many people at the town hall and in our community told me: ‘I had no choice but to except the quick pay option.  It was either quick pay or don’t feed my family.’ It doesn’t have to and must not be that way.”

The townhall meeting was held at Sarah T. Reed High School in New Orleans, LA. The event was hosted by Mary Queen of Vietnam Community Development Corporation, the Japanese American Citizens League, and Vietnamese American Young Leaders Association in cooperation with the Congressional Asian Pacific American Caucus (CAPAC) and the office of Congressman Cedric Richmond (LA-2).

 

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The Congressional Asian Pacific American Caucus (CAPAC) is comprised of Members of Congress of Asian and Pacific Islander descent and members who have a strong dedication to promoting the well-being of the Asian American and Pacific Islander (AAPI) community. Currently Chaired by Congresswoman Judy Chu, CAPAC has been addressing the needs of the AAPI community in all areas of American life since it was founded in 1994.