We believe at FIRM that it is essential to work towards systems change through advocacy to change the root of problems instead of just serving the needs through programs alone. FIRM has been a trusted advocate for the refugee community for decades and will continue to be a voice for the voiceless as well as train residents to advocate for themselves. These are the advocacy programs we currently operate.
Building Healthy Communities (BHC): FIRM is a partner in the 10-year initiative of The California Endowment to create a healthier community for all. We are specifically involved in the Schools Action Team work around the Local Control Funding Formula and the Neighborhoods Action Team work to create more parks
in South Fresno. To learn more about the advocacy work of BHC, please click on the link or contact Simara Vongthondy, the BHC Laotian Advocate.
Project I Can: This work involves advocating for more opportunities for physical activity for Southeast Asian youth ages 0-8 in Fresno. FIRM is working hard in the areas of joint use agreements, bringing a playground to the campus that serves the refugee community and creating safer access to already developed resources. Please contact Zack Darrah for more information.
San Joaquin River Access Civic Engagement: This project focuses specifically on access to the River West property of the San Joaquin River. Affluent communities that overlook this property are attempting to make access to these lands much more difficult for communities such as the Southeast Asian community. This work is advocating for access that would allow for equitable access to all communities in Fresno.
Health Justice Network: The Health Justice Network (HJN) is a network of over 60 community-based organizations, health care providers, and small business groups throughout California that works to increase access to affordable, quality, and culturally and linguistically competent health care to the Asian American, Native Hawaiian, and Pacific Islander (AANH
PI) communities. HJN accomplishes this goal through outreach, education, enrollment, and advocacy. We represent the Southeast Asian community in this network and specifically focus on advocacy and enrollment with regards to Medi-Cal and the Affordable Care Act.
Housing Advocacy Project: After the Summerset Apartment crisis of 2015, FIRM is dedicated to housing advocacy in the refugee community of Fresno. We have two key programs that advocate for the refugee community to ensure that they have safe, healthy and standard housing in Fresno. Please contact FIRM Executive Director, Zack Darrah, if you have any questions or want to help with this work!