by Eri Kameyama
My plane from Dallas, Texas to Baltimore/Washington DC was stopped at Birmingham, Alabama with some passengers getting off at Birmingham and others getting on for DC when I saw my friend posted on his facebook the Pew Research Center’s publication titled “The Rise of Asian Americans.” As soon as I saw the title, I thought, “uh oh. I hope it isn’t as bad as I think it’ll be…”
As I skimmed through the graphs and data presented in this article on my tiny iPhone screen, showing Asian Americans as being successful, happy, non-discriminated, and progressing in America, I felt myself wanting to yell and go off on a rant right then and there to someone, anyone, about how problematic this depiction of our communities was.
I had just completed my duties as a teacher’s assistant for a course taught at UCLA called “Contemporary Asian American and Pacific Islander Communities” where we read articles like Claire Jean Kim’s Racial Triangulation, which illuminated how Asian Americans were valorized above the “falling behind African Americans” and yet kept ostracized from civic engagement through the idea of “perpetual foreigner.” We also learned that as Asian Americans who are in this “racial middle,” we could either choose to blend into and conform with white-American oppressive systems, being the so-called “racial bourgeoisie” or we can fight alongside our black and brown brothers and sisters in seeking social justice (Mari Matsuda, We Will Not Be Used.) We learned that the model minority myth IS a myth and does more harm than good to our communities.
So when I saw the Pew report, these theories and ways of understanding the unjust world came flooding back, as if giving me a reality check saying “You aren’t free from educating, yet!” The way that the data was presented turned a blind-eye towards all the disparities that many Asian Americans face still today. Where are the voices of all the low income families whose children are even working multiple jobs to support their education? What about the immigrants who lost everything they had worked for in the LA Riots, 20 years ago, losing hope in the American Dream and had to thus re-immigrate to Korea? How can we be sure that having an Asian face is or is not helping us get jobs in this land?
I challenge you to look critically at the data presented. What are these numbers really hiding? What voices are being ignored? What is our role, as Asian Americans, in demanding a fair representation of our communities, identities, feelings and aspirations in the United States?
By Marissa Kitazawa
A couple of weeks ago, I had the privilege and honor of attending the JACL/OCA Leadership Conference held in Washington DC. This was an amazing opportunity for me to meet other activist and community organizers, learn about pertinent issues affecting the AAPI community and discuss proactive ways to create change for the future.
The 2012 JACL Collegiate Washington, D.C. Leadership Conference is an intensive three-day leadership development program that introduces Asian Pacific American student leaders to the national policy-making arena. Participants will be briefed on legislative issues affecting the Asian Pacific American community and examine the role Asian Pacific American civil rights organizations play in affecting public policy in the nation’s capital. They will also have the chance to meet and work with student leaders representing colleges and universities from throughout the country and learn ways to effectively address issues and create positive social change on their own campuses and beyond.
by, Craig Ishii
2010 and 2011 have seen a multitude of companies and organizations changing their logos. We’ve seen some successful examples like Union Bank….. and some not so successful examples…. like the gap, who actually ended up keeping their original logo after the feedback they received from the online community.
By Stacy Toyota
For those of you who don’t know, the JACL Pacific Southwest District office will be moving this week! We’ll be moving from our current home in the Japanese American Cultural and Community Center to the Pacific Citizen office. Even though their office is still down the street, this still requires us to pack up all of our stuff and have movers come pick all of our stuff up. Continue reading
By Craig Ishii
We have some exciting news to share everyone! On 1/22 (Saturday) we’re going to be holding quite the event here at the Japanese American Cultural and Community Center.
Each year our District carries out a number of programs, we advocate on behalf of Japanese Americans along with many many other things that just keep busy with things to do.
We’re coordinating a day to tell you all about it. Come join us at our 2011 General Meeting!
Date: Saturday, 1/22/2011
244 S. San Pedro St.
Los Angeles, CA 90012
Please RSVP for the general meeting and/or the chapter seminar with firstname.lastname@example.org
It’s very important that the JACL continue to support our chapters and provide them with the tools they need to succeed. SO, chapter members, join us at our Healthy Chapters Seminar immediately following the General Meeting.
With JACL 2011 Convention right around the corner we want to get our volunteers up to speed and into gear to help us make this one of the best conventions in the history of JACL! That is also following the General Meeting.