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John Cho (x)
The only Asians I remember seeing on mainstream TV when I was a kid were Sulu on Star Trek, nameless Asians loading trucks in the background or dying on MASH (which was all about funny lovable white US Americans waging war on Asians), and the “ancient Chinese secret” Calgon laundry detergent commercial.
Was the same when I was a kid. That moment of seeing George Takei not being overly-stereotyped when I was a kid was a powerful one. I think the only place I had really seen other Asians on the screen was finding the rare (because I was a kid in mountains, far from the rest of the community) movie that had Asians in it. Unfortunately, a lot of those were the “white guy learns martial arts, beats up Asians because ‘Merika” type movies. Which, of course was not TV. They were still the “Asian other” just as in MASH backdrops. Anyway, what I’m trying to say is that Sulu always has a special place in my heart. Star Trek helped me get through some bad emotional spaces as a kid, and I think part of what made it welcoming was having POC, especially George Takei ( since I’m JA too, and the other Asian American actors who came later), represented on screen in positive and whole characters, with names instead of “Solider #1, Henchman #4, Ninja #18”.
May is APA Heritage Month Confirm Sri Srinivasan to the DC Circuit! There are only two Asian Pacific Americans currently serving on the Federal Appellate Courts. If confirmed, Srinivasan will be the first South Asian American on the U.S. Court of Appeals in American history.
Srinivasan is eminently qualified. A graduate of Stanford University (law school, business school, and undergraduate degrees), he is the current Principal Deputy Solicitor General of the United States and has argued 25 cases in the U.S. Supreme Court. The American Bar Association rated Srinivasan “unanimously well-qualified,” its highest rating.
Srinivasan has lived the American Dream. Srinivasan was born in Chandigarh, India and immigrated to the United States with his parents and two younger sisters as a child, later becoming a naturalized citizen. He was raised in Lawrence, Kansas, where his father was a professor of mathematics at the University of Kansas, and his mother taught at the Kansas City Art Institute and later worked at the University of Kansas in the Computer Science Department.
Srinivasan has bi-partisan support. Srinivasan was voted out of the Senate Judiciary Committee with unanimous bi-partisan support. Former high-level officials from the Solicitor General’s office—six of them Democrats, six of them Republicans—issued a letter in support Srinivasan’s nomination.
Help Sri Srinivasan Today!
Sri Srinivasan was UNANIMOUSLY voted out of the Senate Judiciary Committee on May 16th and is now eligible to receive a Senate vote for confirmation. You can help confirm him by asking Senators Reid and McConnell to schedule a confirmation vote.
Calls should be made to both Senator Reid and Senator McConnell.
When you call tell the senate staffer:
“Hello. My name is _____________. May is APA Heritage Month. As an Asian Pacific American, I would like the Senator to schedule a vote in May for Sri Srinivasan, nominee for the DC Circuit and vote to confirm him.”
The senate staffer will ask where you live. Provide that information and say Thank You.
In sixth grade Mrs. Walker
slapped the back of my head
and made me stand in the corner
for not knowing the difference
between persimmon and precision.
How to choose
persimmons. This is precision.
Ripe ones are soft and brown-spotted.
Sniff the bottoms. The sweet one
will be fragrant. How to eat:
put the knife away, lay down newspaper.
Peel the skin tenderly, not to tear the meat.
Chew the skin, suck it,
and swallow. Now, eat
the meat of the fruit,
all of it, to the heart.
Donna undresses, her stomach is white.
In the yard, dewy and shivering
with crickets, we lie naked,
I teach her Chinese.
Crickets: chiu chiu. Dew: I’ve forgotten.
Naked: I’ve forgotten.
Ni, wo: you and me.
I part her legs,
remember to tell her
she is beautiful as the moon.
that got me into trouble were
fight and fright, wren and yarn.
Fight was what I did when I was frightened,
Fright was what I felt when I was fighting.
Wrens are small, plain birds,
yarn is what one knits with.
Wrens are soft as yarn.
My mother made birds out of yarn.
I loved to watch her tie the stuff;
a bird, a rabbit, a wee man.
Mrs. Walker brought a persimmon to class
and cut it up
so everyone could taste
a Chinese apple. Knowing
it wasn’t ripe or sweet, I didn’t eat
but watched the other faces.
My mother said every persimmon has a sun
inside, something golden, glowing,
warm as my face.
Once, in the cellar, I found two wrapped in newspaper,
forgotten and not yet ripe.
I took them and set both on my bedroom windowsill,
where each morning a cardinal
sang, The sun, the sun.
he was going blind,
my father sat up all one night
waiting for a song, a ghost.
I gave him the persimmons,
swelled, heavy as sadness,
and sweet as love.
This year, in the muddy lighting
of my parents’ cellar, I rummage, looking
for something I lost.
My father sits on the tired, wooden stairs,
black cane between his knees,
hand over hand, gripping the handle.
He’s so happy that I’ve come home.
I ask how his eyes are, a stupid question.
All gone, he answers.
Under some blankets, I find a box.
Inside the box I find three scrolls.
I sit beside him and untie
three paintings by my father:
Hibiscus leaf and a white flower.
Two cats preening.
Two persimmons, so full they want to drop from the cloth.
He raises both hands to touch the cloth,
asks, Which is this?
This is persimmons, Father.
Oh, the feel of the wolftail on the silk,
the strength, the tense
precision in the wrist.
I painted them hundreds of times
eyes closed. These I painted blind.
Some things never leave a person:
scent of the hair of one you love,
the texture of persimmons,
in your palm, the ripe weight.
Rep. Judy Chu, Chair of the Congressional APA Caucus, today in Politico
Senator Patrick Leahy has suggested today might be the last day of the Senate Judiciary Committee markup process. If there were ever a time to call a Senator and tell them to stand up for reunification for all kinds of families, it’s now.
I don’t usually bother y’all with this kind of thing, but this is a golden opportunity to move Senators like Schumer (D-NY) and Feinstein (D-CA) who have been waffling on some of these issues in the right direction.
Watch the livestream of the CIR Markup here
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