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OCA National Convention Student Registration Scholarship

OCA Convention changed my life in 2011. It opened up so many opportunities, taught me countless things about identity and history and myself, and provided the guidance I needed at the time to focus my passion into a tangible project. I met some of my closest friends at OCA, had some of the happiest memories, and now I’m working with their summer internship program in DC! OCA Convention, in a way, made me who I am today.

 

Anyone who’s able to, I HIGHLY encourage you to apply! And there’s also a FREE College Track and Youth Track (high schoolers) at Convention that’s available to everyone. 

May 7

The Role of Asian Greeks Today

The first Asian American fraternity was formed in upstate New York around the time of World War I to combat the racial discrimination that Asian college students faced. Basically, because Asians were excluded from the white people’s clubs, the guys decided to form their own. In the late 40s, a group of Japanese American women in Southern California formed the first Asian American sorority to support one another in the face of anti-Japanese sentiments and racism.

After the murder of Vincent Chin in the 80s, Asian American fraternities and sororities wereat the helm of college-level coalitions pushing for federal prosecution of the perpetrators. They organized vigils, raised money, passed out pamphlets to inform people of what happened, back before the days of YouTube, Facebook, and blogs, and led protests. 

By the 90s, the idea of starting your own cultural interest Greek (“Asian Greek”) went viral and today there’s a gazillion of them. In the 90s, Asian Greeks led the charge on many campus political fronts. They had the clout to round up crowds of Asian Americans to rally for change. Many of those fraternity brothers and sorority sisters were activists. They challenged white-dominant student associations when minority interests were subjugated. I recall one incident during my stint in college where this happened and the Asian Greeks united in a positive and uplifting way that did bring about change.

So where are the Asian Greeks today?

Are they the superheroes that the Asian community turns to when shit gets racist? Heck no. The Asian Greek voice has been silent in the wake of the last decade’s eyelid pulling, Asian-men-shoot-up-schools stereotyping, racist receipts, abysmal APIA voter turnout, and the other daunting social and civil issues Asian Americans face in 2013. I do not deny thatindividuals who happen to be affiliated with an Asian fraternity or sorority have contributed, but there has been no national scale mobilization, which these organizations are highly capable of if they’d only give a damn. Re-imaging popular (effeminate) conceptions of Asian masculinity is still unfinished business for APIA activists and I would think Asian fraternities would feel a personal stake in doing more to be positive public Asian male role models.

If asking 20-somethings to be superheroes is a tall order (and it is not, because social change has always begun with the 20-somethings who were brave enough to stand up and protest), then what about simply upholding their organization’s own stated purpose–fostering brotherhood or sisterhood. Here’s the reality: every one of the Asian Greeks is battling with internal strife, scandal, gossip, backstabbing, and cliques within the cliques that inevitably exclude one sorry individual who then retaliates and the cycle of internal strife, scandal, gossip, and backstabbing perpetuates itself. While that may not be unique to Asian Greeks, it does call into question what the purpose is for institutionalizing a racial distinction of brotherhood when the tenets of brotherhood can’t even be maintained.

Now what is unique to Asian Greeks: a weak alumni/alumnae support network. The discrepancy becomes apparent among the Greek alums in my age range. Most non-Asian Greek organizations have members who are still actively involved up to their sixties. Those who live near a university where a chapter of the organization is established will still fund-raise for the undergraduate chapter. These alums serve as mentors and are still involved with the organization on day-to-day operations. The national board of directors of these organizations are, well, old, because the organization succeeds at keeping the old ones caring, whereas in Asian Greeks, the national board of directors are seated with more 20-somethings who haven’t one clue what they’re doing. They simply don’t have the life experience to steer a national brotherhood or sisterhood.

It is a constant struggle among Asian Greeks to keep their alums caring. Granted, many of the non-Asian Greeks we’re talking about were formed in the 1800s while most Asian Greeks have only a few decades on them, but that itself does not explain the impotency of Asian Greeks today. The worst part of all: the most professionally successful members of the Asian Greeks end up resenting the organizations and not only have no interest in giving back to their organization, but don’t even want to disclose their affiliation with Asian Greeks. More than anyone, these are the alums who need to return and guide the Asian Greeks.

When was the last time you heard a positive news story about Asian Greeks? Notwithstanding mainstream media, independent grassroots and community-based outlets can’t even find a positive spin on the ongoings of Asian Greeks today. Instead, we get stories about alcohol-fueled pledging activities gone fatally awrydozens of themdrunk driving that leads to one fraternity brother accused of involuntary manslaughter of a fellow brother, and of course the recent fiasco of Asian Greeks in blackface and posting videos of it on the Internet.

Then when a white fraternity at Duke threw a racist Asian themed party, where were the Asian Greeks? Several of them exist on that campus. Yet it was the Student Association and a multicultural collective of activists who called foul. The Asian fraternities and sororities didn’t lead. Heck, did they even follow? I would expect the Asian Greeks to be the loudest voice of protest, but they weren’t. And when bills are presented to the highest echelons of our government that will directly affect Asian Americans, where are the Asian Greeks to be leaders and inform the rest of their community about it?

What about Ms. Wallace’s “Asians in the Library” rant? Asian Greeks could have gotten together to collaborate on creative responses to Ms. Wallace’s rant. They could have issued public statements against it. They could have done something to show that they’re aware of continued racism against Asian Americans and are actively taking a stand against it. Where were the Asian Greeks then? Considering the exorbitant amount of time pledges are required to spend at the campus library, I’m sure Ms. Wallace’s hostility against Asians included the Asian Greeks. Earlier this month President Obama acknowledged the surging hate crimes against South Asians. There is a significant percentage of South Asians in these organizations, so are the Asian Greeks doing their part in any way? Are they being leaders for our community?

Perhaps most tragic of all, where was the Asian Greek advocacy when Pvt. Danny Chen was brutally harassed and beaten for being Chinese American, and subsequently shot to death? When a hate crime happens against our community, I absolutely expect the Asian Greeks to be loud about it. These are social and cultural organizations, not to mention activism and civil rights advocacy are their legacy. Today, these Asian Greeks take their social aspect seriously but not their other roles. Then the few times we do get to hear about them in the news, it’s always a WTF.

I do not write this to condemn Asian Greeks. I write this to critique them. There needs to be an active engagement in the politics and social issues that involve Asian Americans. These fraternities and sororities are in the best position to mobilize on a large scale in response to iniquities and offenses against Asians. There are many baby steps these organizations could do to foster activism in their future generations:

  • Pledges need to stand up publicly against an incident or condition that denigrates Asian Americans. Screw poorly written essays in pledge books. Make them do something public. Teach them about protest and advocacy. Make them use their voice. Pledging is about character building. Use the opportunity to build their characters.
  • Establish a top down system where an officer at the national executive level can issue orders to mobilize all chapters of the organization when duty and moral obligation as an Asian American leader calls for it. All you organizations, after all, claim to be leaders in your community. Right?
  • Instead of channeling all of your focus on getting a banner of your Greek letters hung up at this year’s China Night, Korea Night, Asian Night, or whatever, channel some of that focus on how to get your Greek letters in the news associated with positive action. I am totally in favor of shameless self promotion, but while you’re at it, why not try to do some public good? Promote your letters in conjunction with a public statement that takes a stand against a racist act or hate crime. Recruit the most talented members of your organization to produce quality social media and again, go ahead and make sure the public knows that it’s coming from your organization.
  • Consider appointing someone in your organization as a publicist or public image strategist who will help with positive PR for your organization, showing the public how your organization is actively upholding its mission and purpose. Since we are still an ethnic minority, you as a public figure represent the community, for better or for worse, whether you want to or not. So positive promotion of your letters is in fact positive promotion for all of us.

Asian Greeks must change if they want to remain relevant today. It isn’t enough to put on meaningless “cultural workshops.” It isn’t enough to wake up Saturday morning for a walk that half your organization doesn’t even have a vested interest in. Instead of promoting your own letters with gaudy felt banners, promote the Asian American community at large. Do that by being a public figure. Let your organization’s voice be heard loud and clear when shit gets racist.

Be the leaders among men you say you are. Educate the community about Pan-Asian culture as you claim as your mission. If you don’t do that, then there is absolutely no reason for the existence of Asian Greeks today, especially considering how they bring more negative press to our community than they do positive.

The author went HARD! There’s a lot I agree with about this, what do you think?


Every year, thousands of New York students graduate from high schools only to face closed doors. They are denied a higher education because of their undocumented status. Unlike their fellow classmates, they cannot afford to go to college because they do not qualify for federal financial aid, government loans or many private scholarships.
Korean Americans Organized for Reform and Equality (KORE) invites you to change this and help save a DREAM. Join us for our DREAM Benefit Concert and help us raise a college scholarship fund for DREAMers.


KORE is a group of MinKwon Center DREAMers working to raise awareness about our struggles and to push for humane immigration reform. 

Ticket purchase: http://www.nycharities.org/events/EventLevels.aspx?ETID=5730

Featuring artists such as Taiyo Na, Kelly Zen-Yie Tsai, Tereza Lee, Matt Longo, and more!

Jan 4

Link/ Apply Today! The APIASF Scholarship Deadline is Near!

apiasfrepresent:

There is only one week left for high school and currently enrolled college students to apply for the APIASF scholarship program. The APIASF scholarship provides an opportunity for Asian American and Pacific Islander students to earn up to $10,000 for college. For additional information and the complete list of eligibility requirements, please click here.

Be sure to check out some of our application tips!

Applications must be submitted by Friday, January 11 at 11:59 p.m. EST.

Jan 4
fascinasians:

Hey there, conference junkies! Check this out:
“Listen to the Silence” is Stanford’s annual Asian American issues conference organized by the Asian American Students’ Association (AASA). “Listen to the Silence” began at Stanford in 1995 out of the need to increase the visibility of Asian American issues and to educate those in the community and beyond about the conditions of the Asian American community. The conference goals have since expanded to include the empowerment of Asian American students to take direct action to improve their communities and work towards social justice. Through the various workshops hosted by students, nonprofits, and community leaders, the Listen to the Silence conference provides a platform for discussion about the intersections of history, identity, and social change to provide an avenue for taking action and creating cross-cultural and cross-campus coalitions. Ultimately, the Listen to the Silence conference aims to provide tangible tools and resources to inspire, educate, and empower participants to work towards creating a more equitable and fair society as part of the broader movement for social justice.


I’m thinking about going to this conference, but the flight costs are hurting. It’ll be about $280 roundtrip from New York.
Are any of you Tumblr-ites going?

fascinasians:

Hey there, conference junkies! Check this out:

“Listen to the Silence” is Stanford’s annual Asian American issues conference organized by the Asian American Students’ Association (AASA). “Listen to the Silence” began at Stanford in 1995 out of the need to increase the visibility of Asian American issues and to educate those in the community and beyond about the conditions of the Asian American community. The conference goals have since expanded to include the empowerment of Asian American students to take direct action to improve their communities and work towards social justice. Through the various workshops hosted by students, nonprofits, and community leaders, the Listen to the Silence conference provides a platform for discussion about the intersections of history, identity, and social change to provide an avenue for taking action and creating cross-cultural and cross-campus coalitions. Ultimately, the Listen to the Silence conference aims to provide tangible tools and resources to inspire, educate, and empower participants to work towards creating a more equitable and fair society as part of the broader movement for social justice.

I’m thinking about going to this conference, but the flight costs are hurting. It’ll be about $280 roundtrip from New York.

Are any of you Tumblr-ites going?

Hey there, conference junkies! Check this out:
"Listen to the Silence" is Stanford’s annual Asian American issues conference organized by the Asian American Students’ Association (AASA). “Listen to the Silence” began at Stanford in 1995 out of the need to increase the visibility of Asian American issues and to educate those in the community and beyond about the conditions of the Asian American community. The conference goals have since expanded to include the empowerment of Asian American students to take direct action to improve their communities and work towards social justice. Through the various workshops hosted by students, nonprofits, and community leaders, the Listen to the Silence conference provides a platform for discussion about the intersections of history, identity, and social change to provide an avenue for taking action and creating cross-cultural and cross-campus coalitions. Ultimately, the Listen to the Silence conference aims to provide tangible tools and resources to inspire, educate, and empower participants to work towards creating a more equitable and fair society as part of the broader movement for social justice.

Hey there, conference junkies! Check this out:

"Listen to the Silence" is Stanford’s annual Asian American issues conference organized by the Asian American Students’ Association (AASA). “Listen to the Silence” began at Stanford in 1995 out of the need to increase the visibility of Asian American issues and to educate those in the community and beyond about the conditions of the Asian American community. The conference goals have since expanded to include the empowerment of Asian American students to take direct action to improve their communities and work towards social justice. Through the various workshops hosted by students, nonprofits, and community leaders, the Listen to the Silence conference provides a platform for discussion about the intersections of history, identity, and social change to provide an avenue for taking action and creating cross-cultural and cross-campus coalitions. Ultimately, the Listen to the Silence conference aims to provide tangible tools and resources to inspire, educate, and empower participants to work towards creating a more equitable and fair society as part of the broader movement for social justice.

Nov 2

First and second generation Asian Americans, both female and male, often feel an extra burden of meeting their family’s expectations of the American dream and are caught in these transitional cultural norms. Given their parents’ sacrifices to emigrate to the United States, first-generation American born teenagers often feel a greater burden to meet their family’s expectations. They also feel a greater responsibility and guilt if they are unable to live up to these demands. They are in the difficult position of having to maintain the mother culture AND assimilate into American culture. When these familial and cultural expectations clash, the transitional generation faces the difficult task of finding a comfortable way of integrating conflicting values.

-

Connie S Chan, “Asian American Women and Adolescent Girls: Sexuality and Sexual Expression.” 

It’s so weird finding a paragraph in your reading that essentially captures your entire adolescence. 

(via thatisnotfeminism)

Here is the 2011-2012 Scholarship List (regardless of immigration/residency status)

The Japanese American Citizen’s League is looking for applicants to their 2012 Collegiate Leadership Conference!

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.


Eligibility Requirements:

Applicant must be an Asian Pacific American undergraduate freshman, sophomore or junior class student attending an accredited college or university on a full-time basis.

Tuition:

The program will select 12 participants to attend the conference. JACL will cover airfare, lodging, meals (continental breakfast, lunch, dinner) and transportation during the conference for all participants.

Dates:

Thursday, June 7 - Sunday, June 10, 2012 (Arrival by 4pm, Thursday, June 7, 2012)

Conference Headquarters:

Doubletree Hotel

1515 Rhode Island Avenue, NW

Washington, DC  20036

Application:

Applications are available through the JACL website at www.jacl.org, or by request at midwest@jacl.org. CLICK HERE to download an application. 

Applications are due by FRIDAY, MAY 4, 2012 (postmarked or emailed) to 

JACL Midwest Office

Attn: Collegiate Leadership Conference

5415 N. Clark Street

Chicago, IL 606040

or midwest@jacl.org

Contact:
Email midwest@jacl.org or call 773-728-7170 for more information.

Jan 6

Lure of Chinese Tuition Pushes Out Asian-Americans

titotito:

asiansnotstudying:

The University of California system is enrolling record numbers of out-of-state and international students who pay almost twice that of in-state residents — but are they squeezing out high-achieving Asian American applicants?

I feel like the author could’ve been more specific in the title because he was not talking about all Asian Americans. I had a problem with this statement:

Asian-Americans already are being displaced by University of California admissions policies that give preference to first- generation college students. 

It goes on to say how these policies “benefit  low-income Latino and African-American students over middle-income Asian- Americans whose parents went to college.” Is this assuming that there are no Asian Americans who are first-generation college students? Also, what about Asian Americans who aren’t “middle-income” or whose parents don’t have college educations?

This following statement also raised some ire for me:

Veronica Zavala’s son Brandon is a senior at Diamond Bar High School, about 30 miles east of Los Angeles. As an A student and the son of taxpayers and a state employee — Brandon’s father is a prison guard — he should be able to attend a University of California school, she said.

“There’s no reason why someone from another country should come and take my son’s spot,” Zavala said.

Brandon should be allowed to pursue a college education, be it at a University of California school, a community college, or another institution of post-secondary education. His mother’s reasoning as to why he should be able to go to a U of C school frustrated me, mostly the part of being the “son of taxpayers.” That and her saying there’s no reason someone from another country should take his son’s spot, I feel, reflect xenophobic views and are attacking towards international students and undocumented students.

(Source: blog.angryasianman.com)