Mission, Vision & Values

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We mobilize policy, programs, and partnerships to prepare, promote and empower Rhode Island’s Southeast Asian students for educational and career success.

Southeast Asians (SEA)—specifically Cambodians, Hmong, Laotians and Vietnamese—are among the most economically disadvantaged people in the United States and struggle from long-term poverty, language and literacy issues, and post-traumatic stress disorders associated with their forced migration to the United States. SEA students also experience poverty, cultural tensions, and language barriers which hinder their educational and academic success; these educational experiences are often overshadowed by the aggregation of educational attainment data. To learn more about ARISE's "Three Reasons for Action," explore our Fact Sheet.   


We envision a Southeast Asian community that is healthy, thriving, and able to reach its full potential by being engaged and socially responsible members of their communities. 


We believe all people should have equal access to opportunities in education, regardless of their ethnicity, social class, gender, sexual orientation, physical and mental disabilities, and background.

We believe that educational practices, policies, and programs should help to eliminate the inequality that occurs when biased or unfair policies, programs, or practices contribute to a lack of equity in educational performance and results.

We believe that every student can realize and reach success and their full potential, gaining skills and core competencies that are important in their holistic development as revolutionary thinkers and doers.

Although an impressive number of Americans whose ancestors are from Cambodia, Laos, and Vietnam (‘Southeast Asian Americans’) have achieved tremendous success in education, a disproportionate number have found it difficult to succeed academically. Yet their difficulties are largely invisible to policymakers, who tend to look only to the aggregate data on Asian Americans—data that suggest that, as one large undifferentiated group, Asian Americans are doing quite well. They are considered to be doing so well, in fact, that they are called the “model minority.” For example, in 2000, 25.2% of Asian Americans aged 25 and over held bachelor’s degrees or higher, compared with 15.5% of Americans overall. In contrast, among the various Southeast Asian American groups, the percentage with bachelor’s degrees ranged from 5.9% to 14.8%—proportions that more closely resemble those of African Americans, Hispanics, and Native Americans, than those of Asian Americans in aggregate.
— The Future of Children, Princeton-Brookings