Posts tagged with "chinese american"

Jul 2

ETS and College Board apologizes for racially & culturally insensitive T-shirts

Jul 1

What the New Labor Movement Can Learn From the Death of Vincent Chin

By Son Chau

“It’s because of you we’re out of work!” That was the accusation shouted by the two laid-off, white workers of Detroit’s dissipating auto industry, before they proceeded to beat to death a young, Chinese American man by the name of Vincent Chin – who they had mistaken as Japanese –with a baseball bat.   

This year marks the 32nd anniversary of Vincent Chin’s death.  The fact that the hate crime involved racialized violence among working-class men reminds me that we have work to do in building cross-cultural/racial working-class solidarity and representative institutional leadership in our movement for both economic and racial justice.

On the Left, organization is integral to social movements and progressive reforms.  But organization, without a multicultural lens and leadership, is bound to flounder – if not dissolve – especially in an increasingly racially, ethnically, and sexually diverse society.

On June 12th, Professor Kent Wong of the UCLA Labor Center came to the Santa Clara Valley Labor Center, for Working Partnerships USA’s Social Innovators Speaker Series event and echoed the importance of multiculturalism and internationalism.  He spoke on the concept of the New Labor Movement, which he proclaims must be inclusive of a new working class in the changing demographics and nature of the workforce and work itself.

He explored the notion of transcending national boundaries, just as corporations have expanded across borders, in order to evolve and adapt our workers’ movement in today’s changing global economy.  The U.S. Labor Movement, ever since its emergence during the industrial period, has championed workers’ rights and safe workplaces domestically.  However, it has often times deviated from the internationalism that orthodox Communists and Leftists historically advocated.  In these times, as Kent Wong emphasized, we must move beyond the vestige of Cold War politics, dogmatic nationalism/patriotism, and advance our thinking and practice across lines of difference, in order for today’s working class to adapt and overcome exploitation.

As Professor Frank Wu wrote in a New York Times article reflecting on Chin’s death, “social change (can arise) from tragic violence.”  And, indeed it did, as Asian Americans across the nation mobilized across lines of ethnicity addressing pan-Asian American civil rights.  They faced down the wave of anti-Asian sentiment permeating the media that propagated racial divisions among the working class – which historically have been a part of a “divide and conquer” strategy for the owning class to maintain their power and control over workers.

Unfortunately despite the concerted, organized efforts to address racial inequities, the men who murdered Vincent Chin ended up not spending a day in jail for their crime. This historical fact continues to haunt Asian American communities and act as a driving force for pan-ethnic solidarity for Asian Americans fighting for racial justice.

To reflect on this “tragic violence,” in light of redefining our movement, is to recognize that racial justice in the U.S. cannot be divorced from workers’ struggle both domestically and internationally.  Had the U.S. Labor Movement in the early ‘80s adopted an internationalist, multiculturalist framework, perhaps the laid-off white working-class men would have pinpointed the cause of their being laid off not on the nation of Japan or Japanese people but rather those who ultimately make the decisions – often driven by profit logic – on the movement of capital.

While the 1%  have power over the direction of multi-national corporations, we, as a movement, have power as a diverse class – as the majority – to not only address the perils of capital and necessity for equity in the workplace and society, but also the importance of movement building alongside all marginalized people to combat all forms of oppression.

Son Chau is the Grants Administrator for Working Partnerships USA and a social justice advocate.

On June 19, 1982, a young Chinese American man named Vincent Chin was brutally beaten to death in Detroit, Michigan. Vincent had been at his bachelor party with friends at a local suburban bar when Chrysler superintendent Ronald Ebens and his stepson Michael Nitz insulted Vincent: “It’s because of you little motherfuckers that we’re out of work.” Ebens and Nitz were found guilty of manslaughter and charged three years of probation, a $3,000 fine, and $780 in court fees without spending a day in jail.
The murder of Vincent Chin became a pivotal point for the Asian American community and is often considered to be the beginning of the pan-Asian civil rights movement. 
#NeverForget how the justice system failed us. Never forget the name #VincentChin.

On June 19, 1982, a young Chinese American man named Vincent Chin was brutally beaten to death in Detroit, Michigan. Vincent had been at his bachelor party with friends at a local suburban bar when Chrysler superintendent Ronald Ebens and his stepson Michael Nitz insulted Vincent: “It’s because of you little motherfuckers that we’re out of work.” Ebens and Nitz were found guilty of manslaughter and charged three years of probation, a $3,000 fine, and $780 in court fees without spending a day in jail.

The murder of Vincent Chin became a pivotal point for the Asian American community and is often considered to be the beginning of the pan-Asian civil rights movement. 

#NeverForget how the justice system failed us. Never forget the name #VincentChin.

Elderly man beaten to death in East Village attack

May 5

Why the ‘Fresh Off the Boat’ TV Series Could Change the Game: Jeff Yang

Tweet @ABCNetwork to show your support for the show and to keep it alive!

Fred Ho, Saxophonist, Composer and Radical Activist, Dies at 56

Help Asian Americans Reclaim our History in the Building of the Transcontinental Railroad!

This historic photograph captured the ceremony celebrating the completion of the transcontinental railroad, which united east and west coasts of this country by a land route for the first time; yet, the thousands of Chinese Americans who helped build the railroad were conspicuously absent. Photo credit: Wikipedia

On May 10th of this year, the transcontinental railroad will be 145 years old. On that day in 1869, track laid by Union Pacific Railroad and Central Pacific Railroad companies finally connected, and insodoing created a railway that spanned 1,928 miles. For the first time in American history, it was possible to travel from coast-to-coast without sailing around the North American continent.

It is estimated that as many as 12,000 Chinese American labourers helped build the transcontinental railroad, predominantly on the West Coast. Working for a fraction of the pay of their non-Asian White counterparts, Chinese “coolie” labourers were assigned some of the most dangerous tasks, including blasting away rocks that lay in the path of the track. Unknown numbers of Chinese American men lost their lives in the course of laying the railroad. This was in part because of ongoing anti-Asian racism among the work crews; White labourers viewed their Chinese American colleagues with disdain,calling them “midgets”, “effeminate” and “monkeys”. Nonetheless, Chinese American labourers participated in the construction of virtually every railroad track on the West coast built during that era.

Yet, when the railroad was completed on May 10th, 1869, an event commemorated in a historical photograph that showed actual railroad workers crowded around the final spike as it is hammered into the ground, Chinese American labourers were left out of the photograph. They were literally erased from history.

Every year on May 10th, that historic photograph is re-created by the park officials who maintain the national park commemorating the site of the Golden Spike ceremony. And every year, park officials refuse to make any specific effort to make the Asian American community visible in the photograph recreation.

Corky Lee has been documenting the Asian American Movement's protest actions and historic moments for over the last 40 years.

Corky Lee has been documenting the Asian American Movement’s protest actions and historic moments for over the last 40 years.

This year, acclaimed Asian American photographer and historian, Corky Lee — whose iconic black-and-white photographs have documented some of the most landmark moments in the political history of Asian America — is organizing a “flashmob” style event to correct the historic wrong of that 1869 Golden Spike Ceremony photograph.

On Saturday, May 10th at 9:30am, Corky is inviting Asian Americans to join him at the Golden Spike National Historic Site in Tremonton, Utah (group transportation is being organized from Salt Lake City). He is hoping to get at least 145 Asian Americans to join him in recreating that historic photograph, but this time with the faces of Asian America front and center!

If you are 1) Asian American, and 2) able to get to Utah on May 10th, I urge you to please come out and help him in making this important project happen! Please help challenge the erasure of Asian Americans from the history of the transcontinental railroad.

Please join (and share)this Facebook Event page to help get the word out.

And, if you are able to make it to Utah on May 10th, please contact Ze Xiao (zxiao [at] slco [dot] org), who is coordinating transportation to the Golden Spike site for Corky’s photograph.

Facebook event here!

Justice for Kang Wong: Pack the Courts 3/12

NYC Folks: In January, Mr. Kang Wong, an 84-year old Chinese American, was injured and hospitalized after being stopped by police for allegedly jaywalking. Mr. Kang Wong has since been charged with disorderly conduct, resisting arrest, and obstruction of government administration. 

We need your support to pack the courts for his hearing on Wednesday, March 12 (tomorrow). We demand all his charges be dropped and the City and NYPD be held accountable! To RSVP, e-mail Ruben at ran@caaav.org.

Justice for Kang Wong: Pack the Courts Action:
Date: Wednesday, March 12 at 9:00 AM, Press Conference Proceeding the Court Hearing (10:45 AM)
Location: Criminal Court, 100 Centre Street, Courtroom AR1, Manhattan

On January 19, 2014, 84-year old Mr. Wong was hospitalized and in need of stitches to his head after he was stopped by the police for allegedly jaywalking.  On that day, Mr. Wong was returning home from Chinatown, crossing the intersection at Broadway and 96th Street as he has always done for years.  However, this time when he crossed the street, an officer asked him for his ID.  Mr. Wong gave the officer his ID, but had no idea why the officer was holding onto his ID and he wanted it back.  Mr. Wong speaks Cantonese and he was confused because he speaks limited English and there was no officer on the scene who spoke Cantonese.  The precinct recently began to crack down on jaywalking after three pedestrian fatalities occurred in that area, but Mr. Wong was unaware of the crackdown.  The incident escalated, Mr. Wong suffered head injuries and the police officers handcuffed him.  He has since been charged with resisting arrest, disorderly conduct, and obstruction of government administration.

  • We demand all charges be dropped against Mr. Wong.  There was no community notice of enforcing jaywalking tickets and there was no Cantonese interpreter provided by the NYPD.  Indeed, after the incident with Mr. Wong, the precinct has now begun leafleting to educate the community on the dangers of jaywalking rather than summarily issuing tickets and arresting people.
  • We demand the City work with communities to implement a more effective NYPD Language Access Plan and officers’ language access training.  According to the current NYPD’s Language Access Plan, “it is the policy of the New York Police Department to take reasonable steps to provide timely and meaningful access for Limited English Proficient persons.” No Cantonese interpreter was provided to Mr. Wong at the time of the initial police encounter or at the time of his arrest. With more than one million people living in New York City who are limited English proficient or do not speak English at all, an effective NYPD language access plan and officer training on language access are critical in communicating with the police.
  • We demand that the NYPD adopt measures to interact with all persons in a respectful, safe, and non-discriminatory manner.  Mr. Wong is an 84 year old man.  Issuing a jaywalking ticket should not have resulted in Mr. Wong being injured on the head requiring stitches with bruises on his body and being hand carried with officers holding on to arms and legs into the police van.  Even though Mr. Wong was visibly bleeding from his head, he was taken to the precinct before being sent to the hospital. Mr. Wong’s case is an example where the NYPD mishandles encounters and puts individuals at risk. Violating individual’s civil rights, using unwarranted physical force, and mishandling persons, particularly the elderly, can have serious ramifications, including death. Officers need to be held accountable for their actions and need training in especially dealing with vulnerable members of our community whether it be age, health, or other factors.
  • We demand that the NYPD examine “Broken Windows” policies that punish people for small violations like jaywalking, loitering, graffiti, homelessness on the subways rather than working with community members to address issues of public safety. Community members should be notified and consulted on changes in policing practices rather than being summarily punished for familiar actions such as jaywalking. Criminalization for small offenses can bar people’s access to housing, jobs, and social services. To build trust between the community and police, communities must be heard.

Organizations Working On This Statement:

Asian Americans for Equality
CAAAV Organizing Asian Communities
Hamilton-Madison House City Hall Senior Center
JACL- New York Chapter
OCA-NY Asian Pacific American Advocates

Jason Chu’s upcoming album MILLENIAL is set to drop February 7th. You may recognize him from his spoken word pieces on colorblindness or his work with Model Minority, but this album is where the real talent lies. I was lucky enough to snag a preview of his album, which I’ve reviewed here:
MILLENIAL not only touches on some difficult topics to discuss such as insecurity, self-harm, and mental health…it pulls you in head first and takes you along for the ride as Chu battles his demons.
"free", which is featured in the teaser video above, is also the album’s first song and immediatel y sets the stage for the most honest musical project of our day. Chu’s flow is smooth and fierce at once, most displayed in the second track "Oh Lord" and the sixth track "Shine With Me"
Chu talks porn addiction and objectification of women in "no angel", the fourth track, and breakups in "3AMLookingtYourPictures". His ability to transition from slow poetic tracks to the energetic and fast-paced songs is skillful and keeps you on your toes never knowing what’s coming next.
The album centers around "Red Lines" where Chu openly talks about his history with self-harm and cutting. As a former self-harmer myself, I really appreciated hearing and seeing similar experiences being talked about instead of hidden. Mental health is so often a taboo and silenced topic, and MILLENIAL is  an incredibly brave album where Jason Chu bares his soul to us. It’s meaningful, empathetic, and truly trouching.

Internship Grant Announcement

Research Grant for an undergraduate student intern to conduct population eye research in China

Dr. Shan Lin, Professor of the Department of Ophthalmology and the Asian Health Institute at the UCSF Medical Center, and Dr. Guofu Huang, chair of the Nanchang Eye Hospital Institute at the Nanchang University are jointly co-sponsoring this public health research position for eye diseases (glaucoma, cataracts, etc.) in China.
The grant recipient will station at the Nanchang University for 12 months, and will help to conduct the research under the guidance of Professor Guofu Huang, chair of the Nanchang Eye Hospital Institute at the Third Affiliated Hospital of Nanchang University, Jiangxi Province, P.R. China.

1. Over 18 years old
2. Currently an undergraduate or graduate student at an accredited university
3. Speaks Mandarin fluently, speaking Cantonese as an additional language will be an asset
4. Reads simplified Chinese
5. Types Chinese characters using the keyboard
Additionally, the applicant is preferred to have some research experience.

What the position offers to the successful applicant:
1. Salary: 42,000 Yuan (approx. $7000 US) per year (provided by China’s National Natural Science Foundation of China (Grant No.81260147))
2. Lodging: Free (provided for by the Nanchang University)
3. Airfare: An economy class round-trip air ticket will be provided to the successful grant recipient to fly from San Francisco to the nearest international airport to Nanchang in China (provided for by the Asian Health Institute)
4. Publication: Will be included as an author in publications related to the research conducted
5. Letters of recommendation for future academic /work applications

Deadline for application: Open now till January 1, 2014
Application format: Please send 3 items:
1. Application letter of interest which includes a statement about your future academic goals
2. Resume
3. Most recent grade report

Where to send application: Please email the 3 items to Dr. Shan Lin: “Lin, Shan” <LinS@vision.ucsf.edu> and Dr. Diana Lau: “Diana Lau” <diana.lau@ucsfmedctr.org>.

Notification for the award funding: January 15, 2014