Co-Founder, Asian American Federal Employees for Non-Discrimination
Aryani Ong is Co-Founder, Asian American Federal Employees for Non-Discrimination (AAFEN). AAFEN calls for reforms to safeguard the civil rights and civil liberties of AAPI federal employees who face discrimination due to unfair suspicions cast on their loyalties and based on their race, ethnicity and national origin. Previous to AAFEN, she organized and spoke at community forums on the impact of U.S. policies on Chinese Americans, several with the FBI and U.S. Attorney’s offices around the country; served on the community advisory group to the U.S. Department of Energy Task Force Against Profiling during the Dr. Wen Ho Lee case; and, represented the U.S. before the UN Committee for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination in Geneva. As a civil rights activist, attorney and consultant, Aryani has worked with all the leading national Asian American organizations. Specifically, she focuses on the intersection of national security and civil rights; hate crimes; diversity, equity and inclusion; and, civic participation.
Aryani is speaking at
Flooding the U.S. news in recent years has been an intense focus on the newly designated strategic competitor, the People’s Republic of China (PRC). Highlighted topics run the gamut: investigations of scientists and researchers; unprecedented numbers of proposed laws; and campaign ads competing to look tough on China. Charged to focus on domestic policy only, OCA has and continues to address the impact of certain government actions on Asian Americans – a civil rights concern. Included is calling out messaging by elected officials and public figures and news media that crosses the appropriate line on race and politics. But it’s proven to be challenging terrain. Asian American advocates run into the age-old problem of the perpetual foreigner stereotype. When they call for fair and equal treatment for Asian Americans like other Americans, their views are misinterpreted as playing for the other side. So how can Asian Americans navigate a conversation that skates the fictional line between foreign and domestic policy and distinguishes between governments and peoples, Asians and Asian Americans or systemic racism and bias? Speakers who have published, spoken or advocated on this matter will give critiques of public messaging and offer talking points guidance to audience members.
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