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tv   ABC7 News on KOFY 7PM  KOFY  October 4, 2016 7:00pm-8:01pm PDT

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>> welcome to "beyond the headlines." i'm cheryl jennings. we have a special roundtable edition today, focusing on our bay area's asian-pacific american community. according to the library of congress, the term "asian-pacific" encompasses all of the asian continent, as well as the pacific islands of melanesia, micronesia, and polynesia. the people and cultures of this region have added significantly to the rich diversity of the bay area. the u.s. census estimates, in 2013, asians and pacific islanders made up 20.8 million residents, or 6.4%. california had the largest population at almost 6.5 million, or more than 16% of the state. abc7's kristen sze is here now with leaders in our bay area's asian-pacific american community.
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>> thank you, cheryl. let's welcome today's guests. margaret abe-koga is a member of the san francisco regional water quality control board and district director for assembly member evan low. welcome. asha jadeja is highly respected as a venture capitalist, angel investor in more than a hundred silicon valley startups, closely affiliated with stanford university, and an active philanthropist. chris punongbayan is executive director of asian americans advancing justice, asian law caucus. thank you all for being here. now, this is meant to be a stimulating conversation, so feel free to jump in with your thoughts and ideas like you would with friends, because we are all friends here. all right? welcome. you know, cheryl cited the growing asian-american population in the u.s. this has historical basis, of course, in a very important piece of federal law that passed 50 years ago. so, chris, let's begin with you. how did the immigration and nationality act open the door for immigrants, specifically for asians? >> mm-hmm. so that law was really transformative for all immigrants but particularly from
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asia. prior to 1965, there were quotas sealing limits on immigrants from certain countries, but in 1965, the doors were opened wide. prior to 1965, there had only been 1.5 million immigrants from asia in almost the 150 years prior to that. since then, in the last 50 years, we've seen over 12 million immigrants come from asia, and this is all due to the 1965 act. >> all right, this is really for anyone to answer. how have asian-americans, the immigrants, fared culturally, financially, educationally? what do you think? >> i think it's a diverse community that we're talking about, so overall, i would say -- and i come from the south bay -- that we're at, i think, close to 30% now apis in santa clara county. and you'll see it in the tech world, in silicon valley. there are a lot of high-tech workers from -- of api descent. so they're definitely a part of
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the community and have made great strides. i think we've made advancements. i come from the political world, and we've seen those gains over the last 20 years where, back 20 years ago, there were maybe a handful of elected officials who were asian-american, and now we have 13 in the state legislature, 12 in congress. so, definitely, we've seen some big advancements. >> a little trivia here. margaret and i actually went to the same high school, where she was student-body president, i believe. and you made the leap to mountain view mayor at one point. so, a terrific role model for asian-americans, especially women, in government. okay, asha, what do you think? i mean, asian-americans certainly have made huge inroads in tech, silicon valley. >> they have. i think there is -- although, as margaret mentioned, i think there is a -- there's a difference in -- the asian-americans are a large -- sort of a large community. there's chinese americans, there is korean americans. and pacific islanders i don't think have made that much of an inroad as have maybe the indians, for example, in tech.
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i'm from india, originally, but what i see is that the asian-american population, in general, has made inroads in every regard, from college education to jobs in the tech industry to jobs in the creation of tech -- tech-industry jobs. and in venture capital, also, we see a lot of people of asian origin in positions of founding roles. so i think -- that has happened for sure, kristen. i think there might be a gap, though, between, i think, pacific islanders and some of the other groups of -- and i don't know how those numbers are, but i think i would like to see more of an inclusion of the pacific islanders, for example, into stem studies and stem education and in tech in general. >> but even within the asian-american community, there is a lot of economic diversity. there are still a lot of legal problems that the community faces. even with the recession, we've seen san francisco and the bay area really transform and
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rejuvenate, but many low-income asian-americans really haven't been able to experience the same vitalization. so, during that period of the recession, asian-americans were the fastest-growing group in poverty and not just in san francisco but in california. many asian-americans are still working very hard and not getting paid minimum wage or overtime in restaurants, in the caregiving industry, so there's still a lot of civil rights and legal struggles that the community is trying to overcome. >> well, chris, with the immigration reform president obama has embarked upon, is there something in there to help some of those asian-americans trapped in those low-paying jobs? >> mm-hmm. so, the last time we really saw congress and the president really try and take on immigration reform was two years ago. it stalled out because of the depolarization in congress, so the president did take affirmative steps last november to try and create more opportunities for the 11 million undocumented americans who are here. there are over 1 million undocumented asian-americans who would stand to benefit from some of the president's initiatives.
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at the same time, families are still being torn apart because of misguided enforcement efforts on the immigration front. so a lot of progress still needs to be made on behalf of the community. >> absolutely. i think even in the indian community, i notice, that a lot of times, families are torn apart -- right? -- because of h-1b visa gaps and families are stuck in india, where the spouses might be working here. so there is a lot of that going on. so the general perception that the indian-american population is kind of playing sort of a significant role in tech is -- you're right about that. it's good, but there is a huge segment below, which is still struggling with the issue of sort of families all over the world. >> are there enough services available, margaret? >> i think the key is that, within the api umbrella, we are not -- we're not a monolithic group. we are diverse. and so we cover the spectrum. and so it's great -- yes, some people have been able to succeed -- but we have to
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continue to look at who else can we help, who else can we bring up to continue to get our entire community to a sufficient level? >> all right, those are some great points. we are just getting the conversation started, if you're just joining us. right now, we're gonna take a short break, but please stay with us for more of our conversation about our asian-pacific american community. they prey on our children, spending billions.
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>> welcome back. i'm kristen zse, in for cheryl jennings for this special edition of "beyond the headlines," focusing on the bay area's asian-pacific american community. in the last two decades, there's been a great deal of change in the way asian-americans view ourselves and the way society at large views asian-americans. one sign is the popular new abc sitcom "fresh off the boat," about a chinese-american family's fish-out-of-water story in florida. >> jessica, i figured it out. >> dad, how come i have to start school on a wednesday? >> that's a great question. go to school.
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go, go, go, go. i was blow-drying my hair, and i figured it out, how the restaurant can attract bigger crowds. >> how? >> i need to hire a white host. instead of people coming in and seeing a chinese face and saying, "huh? i thought this was an all-white steakhouse," they see a white face and say, "oh, hello, white friend. i am comfortable." see? exactly. not welcoming. that's why no to your face and yes to the white face. nice, happy white face, like bill pullman. >> [ chuckles ] >> actor randall park, who plays the dad, louis, there, expressing that perhaps an asian face won't sell as a restaurant host, kind of ironic because this show is actually about an asian-american family, and it's selling quite well to a general audience. chris, let's begin with you. what does that say about the acceptance and assimilation of asian-americans today? >> you know, and i think what's great about the show is that it's really offering a full, human experience of an asian-american family on mainstream media. prior images in previous periods
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were really flat, one-dimensional stereotypes, and so i think the show really, through humor, is able to poke fun at ourselves. but, also, i think, the stereotypes that do exist in american society against asian-americans -- and other communities, too -- it's a great cracking open of the nut to talk about race issues. >> yeah, want to get back to that. but, margaret, you know, when we grew up in the san mateo area, "fresh off the boat" -- f.o.b. -- was a bad term. you don't want to be called that. i mean, you were foreign, you were different, you were strange, you were not cool. what does it say that the connotation has changed so much with that phrase? >> absolutely. i think it says that our community has arrived. we really have become a part of the mainstream. and i was thinking about the last program before this, "all-american girl"... >> margaret cho, yeah. >> ...and that was what you were talking about -- the one-dimensional stereotypes. and "fresh off the boat" is -- it's refreshing because it does -- it's multi-dimensional. it picks fun at us as asian-americans but also the mainstream community, and i
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think that's what the message is is that we are all a part of the same community now. >> that's right. i mean, you might have the tiger mom, but she's gonna relent and let her kids do the school play, or you have the kids who are straight-a students but they're not your typical nerds. they also have girlfriends who bring them soda. asha, what do you think? i know you are very anti-the tiger mom. tell me about your philosophy there. >> so, i believe, actually, as a mom of a 9-year-old right now, and our children are classmates, is that i feel that if children are left to learn by themselves, a self-driven learning -- i'm actually now quite a bit in the field of education and non-formal learning now in my philanthropic work, and there, i believe, that if a child is allowed to learn by themselves in a small peer group, rather than in an institutional learning, that they're clearly much better off picking up what's important to them and thereby sticking with learning and having the love of learning that they would normally not have if they were sort of forced to do stem kind of stuff all the time. >> well, how could a typical parent give their child that kind of experience?
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>> i think the best way is -- we are used to this, kristen, because we see schools in our lives which allow children to be who they are and allow them to be sort of, you know, pick and choose what they want to learn and self-drive the learning. the way, i think, the larger part of the community can do that is that, for the first time, we have so much information and course work available online. so let your children learn a lot of these things that they're learning in -- it's boring in the classroom setting. learn it at their own pace, individually, and then let classroom learning sort of enrich that learning, that individual learning. so i think that's probably the best way to do it, which is to really leverage the online tools for individual learning. >> mm-hmm. there is a class issue there with that, too, right? 'cause, i mean, the difficulty of giving that -- bridging that digital divide and giving that access to everybody... >> mm-hmm. that's not a privilege that all -- within the asian-american community or the american community -- are not able to fully take advantage of. so there are a lot of efforts, i think, to bridge that digital divide to create more
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opportunity in education and other fields that would really help people realize the american dream and achieve their full potential. >> okay. here's another question for you, chris, and it's -- i don't mind if this is a little sexist, because you're a man, so this question is going to you. an asian-american man, to see the character, louis, the father in "fresh off the boat" -- and, also, abc has a new show, "dr. ken," coming out this fall -- what is it like to see images of yourself in mainstream media now? >> mm-hmm. i think it's a great thing. i grew up in massachusetts. we were the only asian-american family -- probably the only family of color in the whole town i grew up in, so the show has a lot of relatability, and i think that's important for many asian-americans who are still living in relative ethnic isolation to see positive images in the mainstream -- helps a lot with self-esteem. it helps a lot with feelings of belonging. >> you agree with that, margaret? >> absolutely. i think role models play a really big role in giving folks
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that feeling that they can achieve this, too. and i just want to acknowledge you, because i remember in high school, you wanted to be a newscaster, and here you are, and you really have been a trailblazer, and it's been great to see folks like you in the media. >> thank you. you know what? i had great mentors. i think that is something very important to point out, too, is, whatever your chosen career is something you're interested in. how easy is it to find a mentor, and what is our responsibility to become mentors to the younger generation? >> i think that we in the bay area are really lucky to be in the bay area, because here, in silicon valley, the culture is that of mentoring young startups and young entrepreneurs, and we see a lot of that around us. so even we don't know a mentor immediately close to us, it's very easy to ask somebody to help us, to introduce us to a mentor. and i see this a lot, because when i go back to india, i find that there's almost no mentorship. so here, when i compare that, i feel like, "oh, my god. this is..." all of us have access to so many good mentors, and i think that's something we can leverage easily.
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i find that, even in east paolo alto, where we're doing a little bit of work, to find -- for young students to find mentors from stanford is easier than i ever imagined now. so it's something that -- it's crucial. it's sort of the dna of the valley. the reason the valley is so successful, i think, is part -- successful in innovation -- is because of this whole notion of giving back selflessly and unconditionally by the mentors. >> all right, margaret, asha, chris, we have a lot more to talk about, but right now, we do need to take another short break. we'll be back with more from our a.p.a. community leaders with interesting conversation. we'll be right back. ♪ ♪
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>> welcome back to "beyond the headlines." i'm kristen zse with a special edition, talking with leaders in the bay area's asian-pacific american community. now, i want to focus a little bit on the engagement and connectedness in this final segment. for a long time, asian-americans had been seen as keeping to themselves, you know, putting their heads down and doing hard work, but not really connecting to the society at large or other groups. to what extent do you think that has evolved, really, in government, maybe, in networking, in our philanthropic or nonprofit ventures? asha, how about we start with you? >> sure. i think it has evolved significantly over the last 20 years that i've seen this
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population. and by asian-american, i mean pretty much all the nationalities that we can think of right now. i feel that one of the largest, one of the sort of the most significant forces in our lifetime, of course, has been the internet, which has been a unifying force -- right? -- which sort of shows us role models of how other asians, like yourself -- or even for an immigrant -- like yourself might have achieved some level of visibility and success and giving back, actually. so, in my own personal work, a lot of my philanthropic activities are actually modeled after some of my other senior sort of indian colleagues in venture capital who, in giving back significantly for the last 25 years, and i model a lot of my activity after their work. and i see a lot of this happening right now. >> so, i know you find it very important to support emerging entrepreneurs and girls in particular, right? can you talk about how that became a mission for you? >> well, part of this is because i have two daughters, but i also go back and forth to india quite a lot, and i see the difference in the level of, you know -- that level of sort of freedom and success that women have here
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versus that in india. i mean, here we think it's bad. to see other countries, you know, suddenly, it's a glaring difference. and so, as a mother of two daughters, for me, it is absolutely crucial that a lot of my work, going forward, is gonna be in the field of learning and the girl child. and the reason the girl child is because it just -- you know, it is very clear now that the r.o.i. -- the return on investment -- on a dollar spent on a girl's education has an almost tenfold return on investment. and so that is -- i mean, those numbers are pretty clear now, so that's part of the reason why i have a focus there. >> yeah. i mean, we absolutely need to lift up girls and women out of poverty and give them opportunities. chris, i know your organization has done work to really help some of the ladies who work in the dim sum industry or nail salon industry. can you tell us a little bit about the efforts there? >> right. so, there is still a lot of inequality and discrimination in the workforce for many asian-americans, and asian-american women still feel a heavy burden -- or, a heavy barrier into achieving equality
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in the workplace. so, in nail salons, in restaurants, caregivers for the sick and elderly, there is a lot of income inequality, and there is a lot of labor problems, where people are not able to fully actualize their labor rights because of problems with employers understanding what their obligations are, problems with immigration status for many of the workers. so we advocate actively for community members to realize their rights so that their work is treated equally, as every other americans is. >> well, it is hard to speak up, isn't it? number one, if you don't know the language, and, number two, when you do fear immigration issues -- deportation, things like that. >> yeah, it's a major barrier, and so that's why we do need strong community organizations. we need to develop a lot of the community's leaders to be outspoken, so it's not just coming from nonprofits, it's not just coming from elected officials. it's coming from corporations, as well. with those three sectors working in synch, we can really raise the floor for everyone.
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>> and it is important for asian-americans and women, in general, to really get engaged civically, in government. and, margaret, you've been trying to do that. and talk about the importance of that. >> absolutely. it's the idea of having your voice heard. my parents were immigrants. they didn't speak the language, and i translated for them when i was young. and i saw what you miss out on when you're not able to speak up, and so that's what drove me to get involved in the political process and public service. we have a community, we have definitely distinct needs and interests, and so it's important for us to be there and to be a part of that conversation as decisions are made. >> okay. but a girl might be watching you now, thinking, "that's great. but how do i get started? how do you just get into politics and become an elected official?" >> well, it's definitely, as we were talking about -- mentorship. i think that is really important. and there are a lot of programs now that there weren't before -- internship programs for
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asian-americans specifically to get involved in community service and public service. so you can do that in high school or even younger and definitely into college. and so those are great ways to get a glimpse of what this whole world is like. >> yeah. and in your capacity as mountain view mayor in the past, how did you try to give more opportunities to give children access? >> yeah, so, mountain view -- we do have a population of the poor. 50% of our kids in our public schools -- >> it's easy to forget that when you have google based there. >> absolutely. and most people think we all live in mansions, but that's really not the case. and so i was trying to maximize their resources, so partnerships with the schools and the cities. and so we were the city side. when we don't get involved in it, maybe the school curriculum. but we can offer after-school programs, homework centers. one of my biggest joys of my time on the city council was that we opened a teen center in a neighborhood that's been
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considered less advantaged. and so those are the opportunities that we have and that we can maximize. >> you know, i think acting locally is important. acting globally is important, as well, asha. we've got about one more minute, but i'd love to hear about how you brought the makerfaire, which we've all been to here and love, to india and africa, as well, right? >> yes. i started out, actually, supporting an entrepreneur who had wanted to take it to cairo, in egypt, and we just ended up funding it, actually. we're not really hands-on. but later on, and once i saw the success of makerfaire in africa and how it spread to all other countries, i said, "let me try it out -- let me try and see if i can have a similar one in india." and i did that in my city, ahmedabad. it has taken off like crazy. it's now in multiple other cities now. and i'm just delighted that we have that whole maker community that is coming together globally now. because whether you're based in the u.s. or in india, a maker is a maker, and people who are interested in sort of technology and using technology for creating tools, it's a very similar mind-set, and people
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connect with that over the internet now. so i think it's a really rich community that's coming together. >> all right. asha, thank you very much, and to you, margaret, and to you, chris, as well. we explored very interesting ideas, based on your expertise and passions. thank you for spending the time today. >> thank you so much. >> hope you had fun. >> lovely. enjoyed it. >> excellent. well, hopefully, these conversations will spur others and use it as a starting point and a trigger for discussions all year round beyond this asian-pacific american heritage month. we hope you enjoyed the program. now back to you, cheryl. >> thank you, kristen. for more information about today's program, just go to our website, we're also on facebook at abc7communityaffairs. and follow me on twitter @cherylabc7. i'm cheryl jennings. thanks for joining us. have a great week.
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new from jack in the box. >> abc7 presents "beyond the headlines," with cheryl jennings. >> welcome to "beyond the headlines." i'm cheryl jennings. we're always so inspired when we find california connections changing the world. we met a number of them over the past few months and want to bring you their stories. they're people who are working to make a difference, whether it's the arts, architecture, or agriculture. we had the rare opportunity to meet the new young minister of agriculture in afghanistan. he graduated from cal state, east bay in hayward. minister assadullah zamir visited uc davis as part of a nationwide tour to learn about the best practices to take home to his country. it is a huge honor to welcome minister assadullah zamir. he is the minister of agriculture, irrigation & livestock, or mail for short. and you're in charge of everything there.
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>> well, agriculture is life. it's the backbone of our economy. it's a huge responsibility for me. >> it is a h-- and you're the youngest member of president ghani's cabinet. >> that's right. >> so no pressure at all. >> well, that added responsibility because 75% of our population are youth, age 30 or below. >> 75%? >> 75% of our population. >> wow. >> so that added responsibility that i have to do well. >> yes, lot of pressure. so, because you're working with agriculture -- and i know that afghanistan is 80% agricultural -- and just because of all the wars and war problems in your country, you have a long way to go. >> and agriculture is the solution. >> mm-hmm. >> without investing in agriculture, we'll not be able to have long-term stability. like you said, agriculture is the backbone of our economy. 80% is engaged in agriculture, so that's the only way to go ahead with.
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traditionally, in the past, for centuries, we have been involved with agriculture. and used to be, in the 1970s, we were exporting 70% of the world's raisin. so we have that potential. we need to look at it, how we can get to that target we were producing back then. >> i want to come back to agriculture, but i know that we have some connections in common. you went to cal state, east bay, and you were there when a man named dr. "mo" qayoumi was the president of cal state, east bay. he went to san jose state, and now he is the [laughing] chief advisor to president ghani. so you are now working with the man who was the president of the college you attended. >> yeah, i didn't -- i never thought that would happen, but it's great. he's a great man. and now we work on a number of project together. >> what are some of those projects? >> mainly irrigation. >> irrigation -- california's going through a drought. i know afghanistan has had some terrible droughts. >> well, that's what brought me back here, learning from the
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experience of what california is going through. they have done a lot of research, universities out here -- uc davis. we have been visiting the research stations of uc -- the kind of seeds or the saplings or the different technology that are used here, how we can adopt it to the situation in afghanistan, how we can transfer some of the technology back then. then we come to the fresno. here we were talking with the research stations. they are working mainly on pistachios. >> pistachios in fresno. >> yes. and likely, in afghanistan, we have wild pistachio. we have hoards of pistachio, so trying to see how we can become a main exporter. we have a project with uc davis, washington state, texas a&m together, that they are working with extension programs in afghanistan. their extension officers are working out with the ministry. so they will be the key partner
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of us to let them know how we can adopt some of those technology. at the same time, we'll be sending some of our students, our government employee, to learn and work in these research stations. our researcher will come here to learn the new technology -- at the same time, to see how we can adopt it to the context of afghanistan, where we are suffering from the lack of electricity, other issues. >> i think so many people have an image of afghanistan as a violent place where the only thing that's grown are poppies and the drug trade. >> people are engaged -- they have a life out there. they go to school, our girls going to school. our kids are going to school. we have hospitals, we -- and majority of people are engaged with agriculture. they grow some of the best product in the world -- organic. i was engaged indirectly with the roots of peace, that they were working with a company, exporting some of our product, fresh and dried fruit mainly -- it's famous, afghanistan is famous -- to india.
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india is a major market for us. with 1.2 billion populations, whatever we send is gonna be sold out there. when i was talking back to the farmer, i'd say, "no matter how much you produce, it's going to be sold." but we have to work on some of those standards, on the packaging, on the certification. for the past 12 years, a lot of good things has happened, and we need to talk more about the reality on the ground. and the reality on the ground is a lot of focus on the positive aspect, not so much on the insecurity or the poppy cultivation. a very small number of people are growing poppy, while majority is growing agriculture. so what we have to focus is agriculture. if we get that as our prime focus, we'll be able to change the views that are out there. >> all right. minister, thank you. >> thank you very much. >> pleasure to meet you. thank you, and best wishes for a successful trip. coming up next -- the devastating syrian refugee crisis and a look at how the international relief agency care
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is helping. also -- a look back at how care began during the biggest humanitarian crisis in history at the time.
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>> i was one of the very first care package recipients. and having just grown up and not having had any food, we were just emaciated -- i mean really thin. >> renate senter remembers the first care packages of powdered eggs, corned beef, and fruit preserves she received as a young german refugee, at the end of world war ii, as if they were manna from heaven. >> when i came home to my mother and showed her this, i said, "the americans did this!" it just left such an imprint, how americans can do this to the enemy. you know, i just said, "wow!" >> for a $10 donation to care back in december 1945, americans could buy and ship boxes of surplus army rations to postwar europe, that could feed 10 people during one of the greatest humanitarian crises of the 20th century. >> [ sobbing ]
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>> flash forward to the greatest refugee crisis in europe and the middle east since world war ii -- more than 4 million displaced people and counting, the majority of them without any source of income, living on their own, outside of traditional refugee camps, and it's winter. >> this could be described as the new care package. it's an electronic voucher. >> the food vouchers work like any other debit card, but have a monthly limit per family and can only be used to buy food, hygiene, and household essentials. it's faster, better, and cheaper for delivering essential food and clothing than shipping, storing, and delivering actual care packages. >> these two families are new arrival from syria. >> care's relief workers in turkey -- many of them syrian refugees themselves -- make sure the voucher cards get to the neediest. care is also giving families a one-time winterization voucher card to buy heaters and coats and blankets to get them through this winter. >> so, by giving the voucher
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rather than giving a set kit of in-kind donations, it enables the family to choose what's right for them. >> these food vouchers started off with a value of $30 a month per person, until a shortfall of international funding forced the u.n. to twitter nearly a quarter million refugees that their vouchers were being cut off. today in turkey, this voucher is worth about $18 a month per person. that means 60¢ a day for food. >> like the original, these new care packages still depend on public donations. on the turkey/syria border, mike cerre reporting for abc news. >> abc7 has done a lot of work with care international, especially reporting on refugee situations around the world, and the heartbreaking images of syrian refugees has been going on for some time, and we want to talk more about this with the new president of care. so joining me right now in the studio is michelle nunn. michelle, thank you so much for being here. >> thank you for the opportunity. >> i have to get right to syria because that is a crisis you're dealing with right now, and the
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numbers are staggering. >> yeah. the numbers are staggering, and i'm not sure even that the public recognizes -- first of all, you think about there are 12 million people in syria that are in need of humanitarian assistance and support. there are 4 million refugees outside of syria, living primarily in jordan and lebanon and turkey. and so there's an enormous need for international organizations like care and the larger global community to help supply support for shelter, for food, for education, the most basic necessities, to allow people to continue and to start to rebuild their lives. >> one of the things i remember when i was in kosovo with care in 1999 and 2001 were huge refugee camps with thousands of people in them. and they were clean, and they were well-organized, and it was a great structure for people who had no place to go. but that is completely different now with this group of refugees. the model is changing. >> the model is changing. there still are camps, and care is active in supporting those
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camps, but 80% of the refugees are actually living outside of the camps. they're living in local communities. and you can imagine the responsibility that this brings to a country like jordan, where 1 out of every 10 people living in jordan now is a refugee. in lebanon, it's one out of every four. so it would be the equivalent, for instance, in jordan, if 32 million people from canada came into the united states. so we need to think about how are we providing the support to enable these people -- most of whom actually want to stay in that region -- to, again, have the capacity to rebuild their lives there. >> because of the paris attacks, a lot of people -- not everyone -- are saying, "we don't want any syrian refugees in this country." people are so afraid that one might be a terrorist, so what do you say to that? >> well, i first of all tell people what they may not know, which is that it takes up to two years to move through the system of all of the security checks that enable people to become
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officially refugees coming to the united states. and we've only engaged, you know, maybe a little over a thousand syrian refugees in america to date. and so i think people keeping in mind that there are really strong, again, security measures that we are already taking to ensure we're safeguarding the american public, but we also have to understand that these are the most -- america is taking the most vulnerable of the refugees. so many of these refugees -- women and children. and they themselves are fleeing violence. so we encourage people to go to the website, to visit, and that is a way for you to get a full sort of sense of the breadth and depth of care's work. >> thank you so much. thank you for the work you're doing. >> thank you for your support. >> in just a moment, we'll meet an israeli doctor on the front lines of the syrian refugee crisis. she and her team were literally pulling children out of the water as boats from syria tried to land on the shores of greece. they prey on our children, spending billions.
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>> my guests today are the consulate general of israel in san francisco, dr. andy david -- also dr. iris adler, a doctor and a leading member of an emergency medical team known as israaid. and i want to thank you both very much for being here. >> thank you, cheryl. >> and, dr. adler, i know that you have been working on the
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beaches in greece, helping syrian refugees. and you don't like that term "refugees." >> i don't like this term actually because, for me, they are not refugees. they are people that had to leave their homes because of the war that is going on there. and for us, they are peoples with names and faces and families and life stories and jobs they left behind. so this is how i see them, and this is how i would like other people to see them. >> you deployed twice, so how long were you working there? and tell us some of your stories. >> so, i was volunteering in greece for two times. the first time, i came back to israel actually, and, unfortunately, tragedies happen there on weekly basis. and the most devastating one happened on the 28th of october, when two boats started to sink at the same time and more than 70 people drowned. many of them were kids and babies because they're the ones who are not able to swim. and that occasion made me decide to go back for the second time.
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so i have been there for almost two month, and our team of israaid -- doctors and nurses and social workers -- are there for already six months now. >> wow. dr. david, you are on sort of a cross-country tour with your colleagues who are involved in israaid. what do you want people to know about what is israaid, and what is it doing? >> well, israaid, first and foremost, is a humanitarian assistance organization with israeli volunteers. they work all over the world, not just in greece, not just in europe, not just in the middle east, but also in japan and even in the united states with hurricane katrina in the past. they just represent the values that i feel very strongly for, and this is to help anyone in need and try to do the best they can. >> dr. adler, you have a number of doctors who rotate in and out of these programs. what was it like for you on the beaches? and can you describe it, that you would see these waves of
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people coming in literally on waves of water? >> so, i was in there in october, november, when we had between 7,000 to 10,000 people arriving a day. >> a day. >> a day. it's a huge amount of people, overwhelming, and we had to react. we were two teams of doctors and nurses, both jewish and arabs, christians and muslims from israel, working together. and we were basically one of the only teams that could speak fluent arabic with the people who are coming from the boats, which was very important. you have to understand that the journey is supposed to take one hour and a half, but, many times, it took longer, even six, seven, eight hours, because of the weather, because they were coming in the middle of the night, because of the high waves. they used to come extremely wet. many people suffered from hypothermia, from anxiety attacks, and we had to deal with it. and unfortunately, sometimes we had even worse cases when people were drowning, and we had to try and do something about it. >> i just can't even imagine.
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and here you have a multifaith group of doctors greeting syrians, and syrians are not taught good things about israelis. >> well, they think that we are their enemies, and we're not. we are their neighbors. and, hopefully, the work that iris was fortunate to do will help them understand that we are not their enemies and we can live together in the future. >> and certainly you're proving that. >> i have to say that we are an apolitical ngo, and it's important for us because, as andy mentioned, we are working in 19 countries around the world in israaid. and for us, working together, jews and arabs, was a very -- first of all, it's very normal for us because we are used to doing it in israel, but also being there on the beaches created such a great connection with these people. and i have to say that some of them were surprised at the beginning. we are working with the flag of israel on our shirt.
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they were surprised, but they were so happy and thankful, and we received such warm reactions and hugs, and we are still in touch with many of them till today, with families that we helped. so, for me, it was such an inspiring...experience. and, you know, we think that, in the middle of this horrible tragedy, it's also an opportunity to build bridges between people that normally would never meet. >> all right, we have a lot more to talk about. we have to take a break, but don't go away. our guests are going to remain here for the next segment, so stay with us. we'll be right back.
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>> we're continuing our conversation about the refugee crisis in syria that has spilled over many borders. we're talking with the consulate general of israel in san francisco, dr. andy david, and also dr. iris adler. she's a doctor and a leading member of an emergency medical team know as israaid. and, dr. david, the topic of syrian refugees has now become part of the debate both in this country and around the world because the refugees are spilling over to all sorts of borders. how is that changing the conversation? >> well, i think it's also important to know that many
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refugees are still in syria, internally displaced. and that problem is not solved yet, creating a safe zone over there. that should be the next step. those who are getting on the boats, maybe they're better off already, but there is a huge problem of child prostitution, for example, in the middle east among those refugees. many families lost their husbands, their fathers. the women and their daughters are helpless, are vulnerable. so there's so many troubles, so many problems over there that need to be dealt with. and the like-minded countries, i think, should contribute whatever they can to that problem. >> it seems as though israel is doing its part because you have stepped up with your israaid, and i know that there are other international teams -- including from america -- who are helping. you are there. you're on the front lines, on the beaches.
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you're delivering babies, i understand, too? >> we were helping with the delivery of a few babies over there, yes. >> wow. >> it's actually very exciting, and it's good to have some points of light in between of all these hard stories. >> i don't think people realize that the people who made it on the boats had to pay money to smugglers to get on those boats. >> they have to pay between $1,000 to $3,000 each, and this is an industry. people just think about 1 million refugees coming. each one is paying minimum of $1,000. >> and that's all they have. >> and, usually, that's all they have. they come with nothing. their bags were thrown to the water. they come only with their wet clothes on them, and they had to pay the money they had to get on this boat to try and get to a better life. >> so, now these refugees -- you were talking, dr. david, about how they're internally displaced and there are refugees in several states around syria.
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how does the world get compassion for these people? you know, what do we do? >> well, a lot of people do get compassionate about them. i'll talk about israel, for example. jordan has a huge problem with refugees -- over a million refugees in jordan. so israel is transferring more water to jordan -- in a very dry area, of course. so water is an asset, and israel is helping jordan just by delivering this water. israel has established a field hospital in the golan heights where injured syrians can come and get treated -- no questions asked. and after they're treated, they can go back. so many international organizations are working -- the red cross, other governments. so everybody's trying to do what they can. it is a big problem. >> it's overwhelming. >> it's overwhelming. >> you're talking about working with germany now because there are so many -- germany seems to be getting all the refugees, or certainly a high number of them. so the programs in germany, can you talk about that? >> so, as we said before, we are an humanitarian organization.
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we don't deal with the political questions. we are just seeing that there is a crisis, and we would like to help these people. and we now understand that the main problem is to help integrate 1 million refugees in germany. and we are starting a project that is going to last for a few years, probably, with the jewish community in germany and with the german government, to work in the refugee shelters across the country. and i think it's very important, first of all, to help treat them for their trauma and their ptsd -- they're suffering from major traumas, many of them -- and both on the educational parts to give these people hope and a way to integrate. >> and, dr. david, are you seeing any sort of partnership forming to help refugees internationally? >> well, i think it's too early to judge that, but certainly there are coalitions -- coalitions of like-minded, coalitions of organizations, of aid workers. and i think that also there is more collaboration now between the countries.
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between the e.u. and turkey, for example, there was an agreement that was signed very recently, and we'll still have to see how that works. but at the end of the day, these are people, they're families, it's about the individual, and individuals can help other individuals. so, when you think about a million people, people say, "okay, what can i do about that?" and it is overwhelming, but when we're knowing that there is a child and there is a woman and there is somebody's daughter over there, then every person can do something. >> all right. we are out of time. i wish that we could spend another half-hour talking about this. thank you for the work you're doing. >> thank you for having us. >> thank you so much for joining us. for more information about today's special program and resources where you live, just go to our website, we're also on facebook at abc7communityaffairs. and follow me on twitter @cherylabc7. i'm cheryl jennings. we'll see you next time. ♪
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so lame. all anyone's talking about is this election. it's ruining twitter. mandy, you should be excited. this will be your first time voting. i believe i speak for all of america when i say, let her sit this one out. so, i assume you're gonna be voting for the president?


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