The Unified Asian Communities

Thomas Ling Photo | Joseph Shaw

The Unified Asian Communities (UAC) was launched in January 2021 with the goal of unifying and empowering Asian communities. The executive leadership team of five people includes Thomas Ling, President; Theresa Kim, Vice President and Director of Legal Resources; Amy Shea, Chief Strategy Officer; Thuy Sullivan, Director of School Relations; and 

Cong Bui, Director of Education Programs. UAC is fiscally sponsored by the Maine Immigrant Rights Coalition(MIRC). The leadership team is guided by the questions: “What are the needs?” and “How can we meet them?” Almost 17,000 people claim an Asian identity in Maine, including interracial families and individuals, and all are automatically included in UAC, which maintains a listserve. 

Since their founding, the group has provided services to over 500 people. These services have included efforts to get the community vaccinated; publishing a hate crime booklet with advice on safety; delivering community baskets; helping with paperwork relating to immigration, health insurance, the emergency rental assistance program, and other benefit applications – particularly for older people who might have limited English proficiency; and workshops and trainings on mental health and wellness, including a health roundtable with Maine Center for Disease Control and Prevention Director Dr. Nirav Shah. 

A current concern is an anticipated rise in deportations of Cambodians, which had accelerated under former President Donald Trump, but slowed significantly because of COVID-19. Fear of deportation and of the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement, known as ICE, means some people avoid doing simple, everyday things like attending appointments. Another concern is the rise in hate crimes against Asian Americans. 

Contact: [email protected]