MN8

MN8

Minnesota, focused on immigrants/refugees, abolition, and power building, serving Cambodian, Vietnamese, Hmong, Laotian, Southeast Asians

About the Organization:

MN8 fights for the liberation of Southeast Asian communities. We fight to keep families together by ending detention and deportation. We are a political home for Southeast Asians to build collective power, create systemic change, and work towards a shared future where our communities can heal and thrive for generations to come. We believe change is possible when movements are built rooted in love, restoration, and healing.

organizational budget

$500,000 - $1 million

existence for

6-10 years

The Issue:

Over 17,000 Southeast Asians have received final orders of removal since 2002. This means over 17,000 families would be separated and thousands more are living in fear, hopelessness, and heavy surveillance. The failed immigration and refugee resettlement program continues to re-traumatize Southeast Asian communities and puts us in an endless cycle of violence, terror, and family separation. Southeast Asian deportation is rooted within larger systemic issues of carceralism, militarism, and imperialism.

Southeast Asians experience a violent displacement-to-detention-to-deportation pipeline that has deep roots back to harm enacted during the era of wars in Southeast Asia, including re-education camps, mass bombings, and gas poisoning. Over 3 million people were displaced and resettled into underfunded and over-policed neighborhoods, struggling with poverty and violence. In these neighborhoods, the police targeted, profiled, and criminalized community members, leading them to be incarcerated. Even after completing their time and taking steps to restore their lives, the U.S. has continued to weaponize and scale up the state violence machine through ICE. When individuals are detained and deported, they face a cruel double punishment and life sentence of forced family separation, isolation, and displacement. Southeast Asians are often re-traumatized with the same violence enacted on them during the era of wars, leading to lifetimes of trauma and harm.

We have seen more cases since 2016, where many individuals have been  silently deported, with no pathways to return. Anti-Asian violence and hate has always existed and targets our communities in ways that isolate and divide us. As Asian Americans, we are often harmed by misleading generalizations about the needs and experiences of Asian Americans. Our narratives of displacement, detention, and deportation are often mis-told and weaponized against us by labeling impacted individuals as criminals, gang-affiliated, and disposable. This dominant narrative of good vs. bad immigrants often leads to the dehumanization of individuals, taking advantage of the incomplete narratives of detention and deportation. Impacted individuals often live their lives in shadows, discouraged from sharing their experiences out of fear. Not only is their freedom taken from them, but so are their stories, voices, and humanity.

The Solution:

As we work to free our Southeast Asian communities, we move with the understanding that the path to liberation must be holistic and address intersectional oppression. Our vision is for sustainable, deep-rooted change that allows Southeast Asian communities to thrive independently with abundant access to resources and support.

MN8 focuses on four core pillars that drive our work:

1) Community Organizing

  • We lean on powerful community-centered spaces, led by the voices and leadership of those most impacted. We believe movements and solutions must be people-centered and know our collective organizing power is enough to change worlds.
  • We proactively build our world but also prepare our communities to protect, defend, and take care of one another in times of crisis

2) Advocacy

  • We dream of ending oppressive systems and imagine new realities without these systems. We give ourselves permission to take principled risks and create solutions outside of the status quo. We want deep-rooted solutions that end the cycles of violence by abolishing oppressive systems.

3) Community Care + Healing

  • Movement and organizing work includes intentional spaces for healing, wellness, and care. The SEA diaspora has been wracked by a heartbreaking history of war, genocide, family separation, and other forms of violence. The experience of detention and deportation is retraumatizing.
  • We hold space to celebrate each other’s presence, spend time experiencing unapologetic Southeast Asian joy, and remind each other of our value and worthiness. Existing is enough.
  • We dream of providing holistic support that is sustainable beyond imaginary borders. We have not forgotten about our beloved community members who have been deported. We  fight for their freedom and right to return despite transnational challenges.

4) Power Building

  • We draw power from intergenerational spaces of connection, healing, and organizing. There’s invaluable wisdom and possibilities across generations. We lean into our roots, into the resilience and dreams of our ancestors. Our movement must be big enough for all of us.
  • We reclaim our narratives and build spacious platforms where our stories can be shared in care, rawness, and truth. We believe our stories are important and hold healing and transformation power.

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