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March / April 2009

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March / April 2009


BY JERRY YAMAMOTO, CHAIR


MA-1-95 Language-Translated DVA Benefits Materials
: A significant number of Vietnam-era veterans are of Hispanic descent, and Spanish is their first or primary language. VVA continues its support for distribution by the VA of materials outlining benefits, programs, and adjudication guides in Spanish as well as in other appropriate languages. Recommendation: Continue the resolution.

MA-2-95 Minority Affairs Coverage in The VVA Veteran: Minority affairs issues are an important part of the lifeblood of VVA’s membership. Regular minority affairs features in The VVA Veteran should be continued. Recommendation: Continue the resolution.

MA-3-95 Asian-American and Pacific Islander Veterans: VVA is dedicated to fair and equitable treatment for all veterans. A significant number of Vietnam-era veterans are of Asian-American and Pacific Islander heritage. In 1987, the delegates at VVA’s National Convention called on the VA to create an Asian-American veterans working group within its Advisory Committee on Readjustment of Vietnam Veterans. VVA still supports the creation of a VA Asian-American and Pacific Islander working group and requests that a study be conducted by the VA on the social and psychological effects of military service on Asian-American and Pacific Islander veterans during and after the Vietnam War. Recommendation: Continue the resolution, but combine it with MA-8-97.

MA-4-95 Native American and Alaskan Natives: VVA recommended at its fourth National Convention the placement of a person qualified in Native American law in the VA Office of General Counsel. Additionally, the delegates supported the development of personnel orientation and recruitment outreach to tribal reservations, as well as consideration for alternative models of health care delivery on the reservations. The appointment of a qualified Native American to the position of assistant to the Secretary of Veterans Affairs was also supported. Recommendation: Retire this resolution as part of it has been met with the recent appointment of a qualified Native American as an Assistant to the Secretary of Veteran Affairs. The second part calling for the appointment of the position in the Office of the VA Counsel has not been met.

MA-5-95 Foreign National Vietnam Veterans Immigration: Because of an anomaly in U.S. immigration laws, Vietnam veterans who are foreign nationals may be barred from entry into the United States owing to disabilities incurred during military service in the U.S. armed forces. VVA supports legislation to permit free entry into the United States by 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. Recommendation: Continue the resolution.

MA-6-95 Involvement by Minority Veterans Welcomed in VVA: 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. Recommendation: Continue the resolution.

MA-7-97 Puerto Rican Veterans and U.S. Virgin Islanders: Puerto Rican and U.S. Virgin Islander veteran populations are disproportionately large, but only a small percentage has been able to use VA services because of budget cuts. VVA renews its commitment to a continuum of health care and VA services for Puerto Ricans and U.S. Virgin Islanders and their families, and to increase awareness of the availability of these services. Recommendation: Continue the resolution. VVA made two recent trips to Puerto Rico to investigate the deplorable conditions at the San Juan VA Medical Center and made appropriate recommendations to the former VA Secretary for construction of a new hospital.

MA-8-97 Recognition of the Services and Sacrifices made by the Veterans of the Territory of Guam and U.S. Pacific Islanders: There are some 8,000 veterans of Guam who have served in the armed forces of the United States in World War II, the Korean War, the Vietnam War, and the Persian Gulf War. The programs and services available to the veterans of Guam are severely limited in comparison to their comrades on the U.S. mainland. VVA recognizes the contributions made by the veterans of Guam and strongly supports the improvement of veterans’ benefits and health care to veterans of Guam and other U.S. Pacific Islanders. Recommendation: Continue the resolution, but combine it with MA-3-97.

MA-9-97 Awareness and Sensitivity to Racial, Cultural, and Gender-Related Equity Issues: There is a need for awareness and sensitivity to racial, cultural, and gender-related equity issues in American society. VVA will promote Diversity Forums and Seminars at all levels, especially during the National Leadership Conferences and National Conventions. Recommendation: Continue the resolution.

MA-10-03 Self-Determination for Puerto Rico: The U.S. Constitution promises equal protection under the law to all U.S. citizens, yet the island’s current political status treats veterans and other U.S. citizens in Puerto Rico differently than citizens residing in the fifty states. The time has come to empower Puerto Rican men and women who have served in the armed forces of the United States, and their fellow Puerto Ricans, to make a decision regarding their island’s political destiny.

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 so Puerto Ricans can make an informed decision regarding the island’s future. Recommendation: Continue the resolution.

MA-11-03 U.S. Montagnard Veterans: We must assess whether proper treatment has been accorded to indigenous peoples who fought with us in Vietnam and who now reside in America, and to seek redress as appropriate. These people receive no benefits or health care comparable to the benefits, services, and care accorded to American veterans. It is our moral duty not to abandon those who fought at our side. VVA requests 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. Recommendation: Continue the resolution.


The Minority Affairs Committee: Jerry Yamamoto, Chair; Connie Steers, Vice Chair. Members: Tom Meinhardt, Dave Simmons, Paul E. Crowell, Jr., Norm Hawkins, Joe Jenkins, Joe Jennings, James Maddox, Marshall Mudge, Virgie Hibbler, Jorge Pedroza, Pete Petersen, Max Nelson, Johnny Gipson, Roosevelt Ward, and Ric Davidge. Advisors: Rena Duncan (AVVA), Ed Chow, Francisco Ivarra, and Jack Devine. Staff Liaison: Joe Wynn.

 

 

 

 

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