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Donate Here: http://bit.ly/TNPdonate

It’s the last few days of our campaign and we’ve raised $8,950 of our $11,500 goal!

An ambitious anonymous donor is willing to match up to $2,000 of all donations of $20+ that come in on Tuesday and Wednesday: that’s between 12:01am Tue and 11:59pm Wed! They want to see if we cancomplete the campaign early! If you haven’t given yet, now is the time!

Donate: http://bit.ly/TNPdonate

If you’ve already given, you can participate in the challenge, but you’ll help us so much more by sharing and getting folks to do the same! We’ll only make it if you help us broaden the base!

Our matching donor’s challenge is trying to get everyone who has NOT yet donated to donate now!

We’re gonna make it yet in these last couple of days, so thank you to everyone who has given, shared, and supported us in Keeping TN Free!

——-

Now in its 16th season, Tuesday Night Cafe is the oldest still-going Asian American-run open mic series in the nation, and continues to be of the longest running free public arts series in downtown Los Angeles. Cultivating a supportive space featuring new original work by Asian American artists, Tuesday Night Project (the presenting organization of TNC) builds–and is built by–each individual that touches it in the spirit of art + community. Thank you for being a part of Tuesday Night Project. Your support has gotten us to where we are today and drives us to continue forward.

It’s once again time that we ask for your help! This year, we’re asking you to help us reach our goal of $11,500.

Donate online now:
http://bit.ly/TNPdonate

***Why?***

When you support Tuesday Night Project, you are joining a legacy of community members who have fought to create space for Asian American/Pacific Islander stories in Los Angeles.

Although Tuesday Night Project’s programs are free to the public and run by a devoted volunteer staff, your valuable contributions will go directly towards our hard operational costs, including (but not limited to):

- necessary sound engineering at every show
- crucial maintenance of our equipment and supplies (our gear is getting old!)
- food to fuel our staff, artists, and volunteers at our shows and meetings
- digitizing/making available (for free) our staggering 15+ year of shows (that’s well over 450 hours of footage!)
- the many other costs that it takes to fund our shows, our workshops, our planning, and our tour!
- the launch of our new programming outside of Tuesday Night Café!

***How?***

Every donation —from $5 to $500— gets us closer to our goal of $11,500!

You can donate online now:
http://bit.ly/TNPdonate

Prefer to give in person? At our shows staff members will be equipped with Square, so that you can donate using your credit card at Tuesday Night Cafe!

Have you already given? Looking for other ways to contribute?

You can contribute a story or testimonial and share with our families, friends, and community!

Tell us why you love Tuesday Night Project and why folks should support the space! Post photos, thoughts, memories, and hopes on your favorite social media platforms (Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Tumblr, Vine, etc.) with the hashtag #KeepTNfree and a link to www.tuesdaynightproject.org!

Once again, from the Tuesday Night Project Family:

Thank you.

18mr:

Tomorrow at 4:30 PST/7:30 PST!
Load up the film here.
Join us on Twitter here.

18mr:

Tomorrow at 4:30 PST/7:30 PST!

Load up the film here.

Join us on Twitter here.

Our Story: A Movement of UndocuAPIs

Join us for this 4-part series that showcases the stories of undocumented Asian and Pacific Islanders.

Of the 11 million undocumented residents of the United States, about 10% are API. 250,000 APIs have been deported out of a total 2 million deportations under the Obama administration. It is time to take action!

Our Story offers a look into the stories of API immigrants through a panel and screenings of:
1. Why We Rise by Raise: Revolutionizing Asian American Immigrant Stories on the East Coast
2. Return to Sender by Studio Revolt
3. Us by Seth Ronquillo

Save the dates for Our Story!
Wednesday, July 30, 6-8PM at East Los Angeles College (Foyer Room in Ingalls Auditorium)
Monday, August 4, 6-8PM at Pilipino Workers Center (PWC)
Monday, August 11, 6-8PM at UTLA
Wednesday, August 27, 6-8PM at Asian Americans Advancing Justice - Los Angeles

RSVP: http://bit.ly/APIstories

Hope to see you at one of these events!

[event page location will be updated for each event]

When minor characters who are also ethnic minorities start talking among themselves in their native tongues, they sometimes take advantage of their invisibility to say things. Sometimes they break the Fourth Wall and start ranting about the movie director. Sometimes, they spout random obscenities or natter about their lousy lunch. It’s all in not-English, so whatever they say doesn’t matter! And the actual translations of their lines can be a secret source of hilarity in films where actors are instructed to use a Gratuitous Foreign Language (GFL) in order to make a scene sound more authentic. When some Native Americans cast in Westerns were told to speak their own language to add some authenticity, these actors took the opportunity to crudely editorialize about their director, which allegedly resulted in Native American audiences (in)explicably cracking up laughing during scenes that were meant to be dramatic.

- Minorities can be marginalized in film, but not silenced. (via salon)

Join #MyInternetIs and tweet about why Net Neutrality and internet freedom is important! July 31 at 12PM EST/9AM PST

Vanessa Teck from projectavaorg, Reappropriate, and I will be trying to trend #MyInternetIs on Thursday at 9AM PST/12PM EST to discuss why Net Neutrality and a free internet is important. We’ll be tweeting with the hashtag #MyInternetIs!

ie #MyInternetIs a free library on all the information I was never taught in schools.

#MyInternetIs an open discussion space where I learn and grow from folks I would have otherwise never met.

We’d love for you all to join us!

#AAPI groups OCA & JACL join other major civil rights orgs against net neutrality

The fight over net neutrality — which has been brewing for awhile — came to a head this year after a federal appeals court struck down the Federal Communications Commission’s Open Internet Order …

net-neutrality-blocked

The fight over net neutrality — which has been brewing for awhile — came to a head this year after a federal appeals court struck down the Federal Communications Commission’s Open Internet Order of 2010 in January of this year. The appeals court ruling essentially deregulated the nation’s industry of internet providers, but gave the FCC the option to write new regulations. Within weeks, the FCC had voted to open themselves up to a 4-month comment period, and then to develop new rules governing the internet.

These events have been seen by net neutrality advocates as a momentous opportunity to establish federal regulations over the distribution of the internet that ensures it is equally accessible to all users.

But, last week, the nation’s largest coalition of civil rights organizations — the National Minority Organizations collective — submitted a joint letter to the FCC in support of deregulation of major internet providers, and apparently against the option favoured by the net neutrality movement.

So, what is the fight really about?

The fight over net neutrality is really over the degree to which internet service providers (ISP) can generate extra revenue by monetizing content access. One major point of contention is a practice called “paid prioritization”: ISPs creating paid internet “fast lanes” that produce high download speeds for some content in exchange for money from the content provider.

One of the most compelling pieces of evidence showing that major ISPs are already engaging in paid prioritization is in this widely-shared graph. It shows changes in average download speed of Netflix content through Comcast ISPs: download speeds were relatively stable until Comcast and Netflix entered into negotiations late last year. During that four-month period, download speeds dropped substantially. Weeks after a direct connection contract was signed, average download speeds for Netflix streaming on Comcast increased by 150%.

Evidence that Comcast and other major ISPs designate some content to internet "fast lanes".Evidence that Comcast and other major ISPs designate some content to internet “fast lanes”.

The increase in speed after direct connection is less relevant than the sudden slow-down prior to the signing of the agreement, which suggests that Comcast was effectively regulating users’ Netflix content access as a negotiation tactic.

Net neutrality advocates are troubled by graphs like this one. They argue that ISPs should not have the power to promote, or limit, any form of internet access based on the kind of content that is being accessed.

These net neutrality advocates favour reclassifying ISPs as “common carriers”, which would have them falling under “Title II” of the Communications Act of 1934 (an act that has itself been amended and updated to reflect more modern technology). Title II contains existing regulations — outlined in several pages’ worth of rules — that would disallow a practice like paid prioritization, under the reasoning that common carriers are creating a  communications infrastructure, and therefore should not have a say over the content of the communication they provide. Title II further establishes regulations to ensure that common carriers can not discriminate by disproportionately applying charges that favour some users over others.

But major ISPs are against Title II reclassification for obvious reasons: it would place strict regulations on how these ISPs can operate, and specifically how they can pad their bottom lines by controlling download speeds.

The US currently ranks 20th in the world when it comes to average internet download speeds.The US currently ranks 20th in the world when it comes to average internet download speeds.

Instead of strong federal regulation, major ISPs favour an FCC ruling that would have them fall under Section 706 of the 1996 Telecommunications Act, a vague proclamation two paragraphs long that focuses on limited federal regulation in order to “promote competition”. While the FCC would have the ability to intervene in situations where they are acting to “remove barriers to infrastructure investment”, they would be largely powerless to stop practices like paid prioritization. Basically, the FCC would exist only to help ISPs increase the size of their customer base, and nothing more.

Last week, the National Minority Organization (NMO) — a coalition of over 40 of the nation’s most prominent civil rights groups — bizarrely came out in favour of the Section 706 option, and against Title II reclassification. Alongside respected organizations like the NAACP and Rev. Jesse Jackson’s Rainbow/PUSH, NMO includes some of the nation’s largest and oldest Asian American political groups, includingOCA — Asian Pacific American Advocates, (formerly Organization of Chinese Americans), the Japanese American Citizens League (JACL) and the Asian Pacific American Institute for Congressional Studies (APAICS) — as well as the Council of Korean Americans and the Asian/Pacific Islander American Chamber of Commerce & Entrepreneurship.

In their letter to the FCC last week, NMO rightfully notes that “access to broadband, adoption, and digital literacy are critical civil rights issues” and further provides ample evidence that while internet use is high among some minority communities, many impoverished areas that are typically populated by people of colour remain under-served. NMO further notes that in this age, digital access is critical for promoting education and upward economic mobility. Where we do not disagree is when the NMO writes:

Without broadband access, low income and middle-class Americans — and particularly people of color — cannot gain new skills, secure good jobs, obtain a quality education, participate in our civic dialogue, or obtain greater access to healthcare through telehealth technologies.

It is exactly this reasoning that leads me to conclude that ISPs should not be permitted to continue their role as our digital gatekeepers. Internet access is indeed critical for full contemporary citizenship; therefore, NMO’s reasoning is exactly what leads me to the conclusion that ISPs should be treated like common carriers:companies whose mission it is to provide a necessary service to the general public without discrimination because that service is of widespread benefit to all citizens, and who do so under federal license and regulation.

Yet, despite arguing that broadband access is a civil right, NMO finds itself somehow arguing in favour of a system that permits (and indeed encourages) discriminatory internet access, and where users are subject to the capitalist whims of corporate ISPs.

net-neutrality-comic

NMO argues that Title II reclassification will harm market competition, which they argue will in turn hurt broadband adoption by underserved minority communities. Notably, however, this latter assertion is almost completely uncited in a letter that is otherwise funky with footnotes; instead this statement amounts to broad and largely baseless hand-waving:

Overly burdensome regulations treating broadband as a public utility (31) would institutionalize second class digital citizenship, needlessly delaying the digital inclusion goals sought by communities of color. This result would harm both consumers of color and minority entrepreneurs, for whom the Internet has been their easiest path to entry to bring new content to their communities and the nation.

NMO’s concerns over the effect of Title II on the cost of broadband adoption rates strikes me as particularly odd: classification of telephone service providers as common carriers has not appeared to significantly hamper phone access (or minority entrepreneurship) for the country’s communities of colour.

Instead, NMO argues that ISPs should fall under Section 706-mediated deregulation, coupled with vague “consumer protections” and a “presumption against paid prioritization” (the latter of which they also argue in a footnote is largely a non-issue). While this is laudable sentiment, Section 706 offers no legal clout whereby the FCC could a priori prevent ISPs from employing discriminatory practices. Instead, NMO offers a solution for how paid prioritization practices would be discouraged under Section 706: yet, their solution involves after-the-fact relief and punishment, and appears to place the burden for identification and correction of any such practices squarely on the consumer. It is, in essence, a system that would allow ISPs to do whatever discriminatory thing they think they could get away with.

This bizarre anti-net neutrality stance by the nation’s top minority and civil rights organizations is troublesome to me, particularly because their reasoning regarding the right of citizens to digital access as outlined in the first half of the letter seems to deviate so sharply in rationale from their pro-big business prescriptions. These are organizations that have historically stood against discriminatory business practices in defense of minority interests. How did these esteemed civil rights organizations get to their anti-net neutrality position?

Republic Report suggests that it might all have something to do with how these large non-profits derive funding. It’s no secret that major non-profit groups like the OCA are backed by major corporate sponsors, and that this sponsorship relationship can lead to some questionable practices. Last year, three OCA summer interns — including the incredible Juliet Shen of Fascinasians and Vanessa Teck of ProjectAVA — were fired for speaking out against Wal-mart’s employment practices; Walmart is a major backer of the group’s national conference (recently Shen and Teck offered a retrospective on the fiasco that is worth a read).

Three of these OCA 2013 summer interns were fired for speaking out against Walmart's employment practices.Three of these OCA 2013 summer interns were fired for speaking out against Walmart’s employment practices. Walmart is a major corporate sponsor of OCA.

Comcast is vocally lobbying against Title II reclassification of ISPs. OCA named Comcast / NBC Universal its winner of the “Outstanding Corporate Partner Award” last year. Comcast was also a major Gold-level sponsor of JACL’s 2014 convention. The NAACP is sponsored by a number of major corporations, including but not limited to Comcast (as well as the nation’s largest for-profit university, University of Phoenix, which employs predatory lending practices predominantly against people of colour).

While I won’t go so far as to say that Comcast and other major ISPs have purchased the nation’s top civil rights organizations with its corporate sponsorships, it is also not unreasonable to conclude that these non-profit organizations — which rely on corporate support to stay afloat — are financially positioned in such a way that they cannot or will not speak out against the corporate interests of their backers. Non-profits of this size are not solvent on small donor money alone; but their acceptance of corporate money leaves them in an ethical quandry, and can result in a situation like this one: several major civil rights organizations have partnered with large internet service providers to protect the same predatory business practices that victimize their very own marginalized, oppressed and disenfranchised constituents. We clearly need to re-examine our current system of supporting non-profit organizations, and how their civil rights goals can become compromised in the unending fight to avoid bankruptcy.

In the end, there is some room to disagree on the topic of net neutrality when it comes to Title II reclassification vs. Section 706, particularly in terms of how increased FCC regulation of ISPs might increase operational costs that can potentially discourage minority small businesses. Even net neutrality advocates will agree that Title II reclassification is a practical, but imperfect, solution. But, the arguments provided by NMO in their FCC letter offered no logical basis for the discrepancies between their assertion that internet access is a civil right and their conclusion that strict federal protection of this civil right is unwarranted —  a conclusion favoured by at least one of their shared corporate backers. I think the critical need for widespread, fair and neutral internet access as a protected basic civil right of the digital age far outweighs any possible risk of a small amount of increased costs to select entrepreneurs.

To that end, I fail to understand how we can permit a system wherein the major civil rights organizations that we trust to advocate on behalf of those civil rights can find themselves accepting corporate money that clearly arrives with at least some “strings attached”.

(Note: If anyone from any of the organizations cited in this post reads this and wants to offer any additional explanation about their position against Title II reclassification and specifically how this option would hurt people of colour, I would be happy to work with that person to publish it as a counter-point to this article.)

18mr:

Eid Mubarak!

[Dhaka, Bangladesh; Shanghai, China, Mogadishu, Somalia; al-Haram al-Sharif, Jerusalem; Peshawar, Pakistan; Mumbai, India]

Chinatown Beautification Day 2014

A Little about Us

Chinatown Youth Initiatives is a non-profit organization dedicated to empowering New York City Youth with the knowledge and skills to address the needs of Chinatown, Asian Americans and other underrepresented communities. One of the events that we host to achieve these goals is CYI’s annual Chinatown Beautification Day! What began as a mission to address the concerns of the negligence of post 9/11’s Lower East Side has since then evolved into a two part event that brings youth from all around the city to participate in a unique learning experience. During the first day of the event, volunteers will be able to participate in a conference where qualified facilitators will lead them through a variety of workshops. The workshops will vary in content, but topics such as environmentalism, sustainability, hate crimes, and Asian-American politics are all fair game. These discussions encourage active contributions, and are designed to give the participants a chance to voice their opinions and to learn from each other.

 The second part of the event gives the volunteers a chance to go out onto the streets of Chinatown armed with brooms, dustpans, and garbage bags. This part of the event not only shows the Chinatown community that we really care, but will also act as a message, telling the people who traverse Chinatown to remember to take care of the community.

Our Goals(why we need money)

All donations will go to support the Chinatown Beautification Day Clean-up and Conference.

Chinatown Beautification Day Clean-up:

Your donations will make this whole day possible. Donations will go directly to providing supplies and resources to over a hundred students as they spend the day cleaning up the streets of Chinatown and making their message of community responsibility felt throughout New York City. 

Chinatown Beautification Day Conference:

Every year, 100+ high school students from all five boroughs come join the participants of CYI in a full day conference exploring ideas of identity, leadership, and engagement in the Asian American community. The flavor of every workshop Your donations will provide for food, speaker honorariums, and all the other resources that make this event a success. Help us provide a unique learning experience for NYC youth.

The Impact

So in case you’re still on the fence about why you should support us, these are the highlights:

1. We are bringing together over 300 youth to help clean up one of NYC’s most iconic areas.

2. We are engaging youth in a series of workshops that teach things you would probably never learn in school… for free!

3. We are creating an environment to help inspire and foster future leaders.

What else are you waiting for? Donate today and help make these goals a reality and this year’s CBD the best one yet!

Other Ways You Can Help

If you want to help in other ways, help us spread word of this event to anyone who may be interested in either donating or participating! All support and/or donations are appreciated!

#RealCourageIs by Jeannie Mai

Fox ‘s New Talk Show “The Real” and fashion correspondent for NBC’s Today Show. #Wearapist

‪#‎RealCourageIs‬

When I was 25 I had just moved to LA with little TV experience. I didn’t have an agent, so I was finding jobs for myself off the internet. I found a casting call in search of a spokesperson for a national branded campaign promoting healthy eating. I read the script and saw that it called for a fun personality and positive attitude. Duh…I was perfect. I got dolled up in my usual snazzy self and headed to the interview. Once I signed in and sat down, I noticed the entire room was filled with long legged, blond-haired, blue-eyed gorgeous models. After a few min the woman checking names in called me up to the front. She informed me, “Thanks for coming in today. Unfortunately, our client is looking for a specific look and type when it comes to the image of this spokesperson. Rather than let you waste your time here waiting, I thought best to let you know so you can be on your way.”

I looked around the (tiny) room and saw every blue eye shift and look away from me in embarrassment. My face got really hot.

"Well I don’t mind waiting if I can just get a chance to audition. I’m confident I’ve got what it takes."

The woman half smiled at me and said, “Oh I’m sure you do. You’re just not what they’re looking for. As you can see here our client is looking for a certain type of iconic face, and I’m pretty sure they haven’t called for any Asians.”

Now I was pissed. Before I could even think of a response, I saw the doors to the audition room open and a tall blond walk out. I grabbed my headshot off the desk and ran through the doors. The woman chased after me but I had already entered the audition room and faced the 3 serious looking executives. “Hi I’m Jeannie Mai and I’m here to audition for the part because I know I can bring you something different. You guys ready?” I didn’t wait for an answer and jumped in front of the camera set in the middle of the room. One of the exec guys stood up and pressed the record button, and I gave it my all. After I was done, I gave it to them two more times, in different, fun versions. I didn’t wait for a reaction. I put my headshot gently on their table, thanked them each for their time, and walked out.

I walked out that day realizing courage cannot exist without fear. Had I not felt afraid from the rejection and humiliation, I wouldn’t have revealed my true fighting self. I’ll never forget that.

By the way, I got a call that evening that I landed the part. This one time part then became a 2 year contract that lead to a house payment for my parents and an agent for myself. So remember ladies, you’ve already got wings. Now just fly.

http://bit.ly/RealCourageIsHere

The RealRealCouc

I hope you’ll forgive my shameless advertising attempt on your blog, but I’ve been a longtime follower of Fascinasians on my personal and I figured if your other followers are like me, they might find this to be of interest.
I’m working with a small startup called Backpack, which is not-for-profit service that connects travelers to shoppers to deliver goods overseas without the hassle and fees of international shipping. Backpack is the brainchild of brilliant young twenty-somethings, Fahim Aziz and Sakib Sauro, who have successfully launched the service in Bangledesh (so don’t worry, it works!) and are now looking to make it even bigger and better. 
If any of you are like me and frequently travel between home country #1 and home country #2 (and home country #3 and home country #4), it’s a good way to earn a quick buck on the side. And if not, it’s still a great way to get products from other countries that are pricey to import or otherwise impossible to find where you are. I encourage you all to check it out! It’s free to sign up and free to use.
https://backpackbang.com/home

I hope you’ll forgive my shameless advertising attempt on your blog, but I’ve been a longtime follower of Fascinasians on my personal and I figured if your other followers are like me, they might find this to be of interest.

I’m working with a small startup called Backpack, which is not-for-profit service that connects travelers to shoppers to deliver goods overseas without the hassle and fees of international shipping. Backpack is the brainchild of brilliant young twenty-somethings, Fahim Aziz and Sakib Sauro, who have successfully launched the service in Bangledesh (so don’t worry, it works!) and are now looking to make it even bigger and better. 

If any of you are like me and frequently travel between home country #1 and home country #2 (and home country #3 and home country #4), it’s a good way to earn a quick buck on the side. And if not, it’s still a great way to get products from other countries that are pricey to import or otherwise impossible to find where you are. I encourage you all to check it out! It’s free to sign up and free to use.

https://backpackbang.com/home