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MINORITY AFFAIRS COMMITTEE REPORT
The Status of Resolutions

BY JERRY YAMAMOTO, CHAIR
The Minority Affairs Committee has eleven Convention Resolutions. Each is critical to the mission of the committee, which is to identify and develop programs of awareness of, and interest to, minority veterans. We also seek to expand the membership of minorities in Vietnam Veterans of America.

VVA continues to monitor the activities of the Department of Veterans Affairs and its treatment of, and assistance to, minority veterans and their families.
Some Resolutions (MA-3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, and 11) recognize and invite the participation of minority veterans groups. Congress has had a lengthy hearing and several laws were introduced in 2007 that are consistent with the intent of Resolution MA-10.

Since December 2006, in conjunction with MA-7, VVA has made two investigatory trips to the San Juan VA Medical Center and VA Cemetery. VVA has conveyed its concerns about the deteriorating conditions of the hospital to the VA Secretary and to the House and Senate Veterans’ Affairs Committees.

MA-1-95 Language-Translated DVA Benefits Materials: Resolved, That: Vietnam Veterans of America continues its support for distribution by the DVA of materials outlining benefits, programs, and adjudication guides in Spanish as well as in other appropriate languages.

MA-2-95 Minority Affairs Coverage in The VVA Veteran: Resolved, That: VVA continues production of a regular minority affairs feature in addition to the quarterly report focusing on various minority groups in The VVA Veteran, with the understanding that such articles are to be both educational and informative.

MA-3-95 Asian American and Pacific Islander Veterans: Resolved, That: VVA continues its support for the creation of an Asian-American and Pacific Islander working group within the DVA. VVA further requests a study to be conducted by the DVA on the social and psychological effects of military service on Asian-American and Pacific Islander veterans during and after the Vietnam War.

MA-4-95 Native American and Alaskan Natives: Resolved, That: VVA continues its support for improved services to Native American and Alaskan Native veterans and their families and to increase the awareness of the availability of services, and furthermore, VVA shall seek legislation for appropriations for the support of the Native American position in the DVA Office of General Counsel.

MA-5-95 Foreign National Vietnam Veterans Immigration: Resolved, That: VVA supports legislation to permit free entry into the United States of any foreign nationals who served in the U.S. armed forces and who are Vietnam veterans seeking medical care for service-related disabilities, regardless of length of service. This legislation should also give disabled foreign-national Vietnam veterans eligibility for naturalization irrespective of the 24-month period required for naturalization status.

MA-6-95 Involvement by Minority Veterans Welcomed in VVA: Resolved, That: VVA continues its commitment to minority affairs programs by encouraging all veterans to become involved at all levels of the organization, and that VVA work more closely with other minority veterans organizations. VVA will devote appropriate staff and resources to continue a long-range, comprehensive Minority Affairs program directed at recruiting, education, and involvement. The Minority Affairs Committee will monitor the plan outline adopted by the Board of Directors.

MA-7-97 Puerto Rican Veterans and U.S. Virgin Islanders: Resolved, That: Vietnam Veterans of America renews its commitment to the continuum of health care and VA services for Puerto Rican and U.S. Virgin Islanders and their families, and to increase awareness of the availability of these services.

MA-8-97 Recognition of the Services and Sacrifices Made by the Veterans of the Territory of Guam and U.S. Pacific Islanders: Resolved, That: Vietnam Veterans of America recognizes the contributions made by the veterans of Guam, and commends and salutes the Vietnam veterans of Guam for their courageous and gallant contributions during the Vietnam War. Furthermore, VVA strongly supports the improvement of veterans’ benefits and health care provided to veterans of Guam and other U.S. Pacific Islanders.

MA-9-97 Awareness and Sensitivity to Racial, Cultural, and Gender-Related Equity Issues: Resolved, That: VVA will promote active Diversity Forums and Seminar training programs at all levels of VVA, especially during the times that the National Leadership Conferences and National Convention are held.

MA-10-03 Self-Determination for Puerto Rico: Resolved, That: VVA supports legislation whereby the U.S. Congress would define the political status options available to U.S. citizens of Puerto Rico and authorize a plebiscite to provide an opportunity for Puerto Ricans to make an informed decision regarding the island’s future.

MA-11-03 U.S. Montagnard Veterans: Resolved, That: VVA request that the Government Affairs Committee, with the active cooperation of the other appropriate VVA National Committees, conduct a thorough study and formal report of the state of these comrades-in-arms and their families. Said report shall be furnished to the National Board of Directors no later than the Spring 2004 meeting of the Board of Directors for appropriate action and advocacy with Congress and the Executive Branch to assist these people, as appropriate, to secure some proper measure of justice.

Committee members: Jerry Yamamoto, Chair; Connie Steers, Vice Chair; Paul Crowell, Ric Davidge, Johnny Gipson, Norm Hawkins, Virgie Hibbler, Joe Jenkins, Joe Jennings, Tom Meinhardt, Marshall Mudge, Max Nelson, Jorge Pedroza, Felix “Pete” Peterson, Dave Simmons, Roosevelt Ward; Special Advisers: Ed Chow, Herberto Colon, Francisco Ivarra, Nancy Nix, Joe Wynn.

 

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