Advancing Justice | AAJC offers a paid ($13/hour) development internship position for graduate or undergraduate students. The internship is 15-18 hours per week for the Summer (May through August) with an option of extending into the Fall semester upon successful completion of the Summer internship. Specific start and end dates are flexible and weekly hours will be set upon hire.
By Samson Lim, APIASF/GMS Scholar
When I received my Gates Millennium Scholars (GMS) decision letter in April of my senior year in high school, I thought it was an April Fools Joke. I could not believe that I had actually been selected as a Gates Millennium Scholar!
After the initial shock and thoughts of disbelief had passed though, an overwhelming sense of relief set in — I could go to college without worrying about crippling student debt.
Had I not received my GMS letter that day, I would’ve continued applying for scholarships. After all, my goal all along had been to apply for scholarship after scholarship until I had enough funding for college. By the time I received my GMS decision, I had submitted over 75 scholarship applications.
All that work paid off though, because my four years at the University of Washington opened up so many doors that I would never have been able to access had it not been for the generosity of scholarships like GMS.
Instead of having to work multiple jobs just to pay tuition or rent, I was able to spend most of my time outside of class volunteering with a student-led, student-initiated college access and retention program called the University of Washington Dream Project.
In weekly visits to local high schools as a Dream Project mentor, I worked closely with dozens of high school juniors and seniors as they worked on college and scholarship applications. The stories of tremendous struggle and even more extraordinary perseverance to overcome challenges were humbling to say the least.
Alright, internet. I have a project for you!
As some of you know, the East Coast Asian American Student Conference is coming up in February 2013. The ECAASU Conference will be hosted at Columbia University February 22 - 24. It is the largest and oldest Asian American student conference in the country and provides students and community members with opportunities to learn, teach, network, and become part of a wide-reaching family. I myself have grown unmeasurably through the ECAASU network: the White House youth summits, the conferences, my time as a Campus Ambassador, etc. I’ve met the most powerful and inspiring people through ECAASU, been a part of inspiring others, and developed my identity more and more each day.
The point is: ECAASU is a fantastic opportunity and New York City is the greatest place in the world. Some students for one reason or another may not be able to attend whether it’s financial need, ID issues, or something else. I’m putting a ‘Donation’ button on my page and will be accepting contributions that will 100% be going towards train tickets, bus tickets, flights, accommodations, and registration fees - whatever the students need.
If you’re someone who wants to go to ECAASU, please fill out this form.
No guarantees on providing full funding, but I want to help and I’m sure the Tumblr community wants to help send some awesome students to a conference on social justice!
Note: I am not affiliated with ECAASU and this is not an official ECAASU post or project.
From 1946 - 2012: The Racist Suppression Continues
On Veterans Day, Filipinos remember that justice delayed is justice denied. During World War II, the Philippines was a commonwealth of the United States, meaning that Filipinos were American nationals. As American soldiers, Filipinos fought in defense of the United States and were promised the same recognition and benefits as any other American fighting in the war. More than half died. However, in 1946 the United States Congress passed the Rescission Act which stripped Filipinos of the benefits they were promised. 66 years later and our veterans still haven’t received the recognition or compensation that they deserve for their brave service.
For the past 12 years, Justice for Filipino American Veterans (JFAV) has held a Veterans’ Day Rally in response to this continued injustice. With the assistance of Kabataang maka-Bayan (KmB, Pro-People Youth), JFAV has been able to gain increased momentum for the issue every year due to the involvement of Filipino youth from college campuses, community organizations, and immigrant rights groups.
On November 11th 2012, we had a permit to march down Hollywood Blvd in front of the tourists and locals enjoying the long weekend to remind them that Veterans Day isn’t just a superficial holiday to wave the flag, but a day to remember those exploited and forgotten by the American Empire. According to the LAPD, the crowd of around 800 Filipinos wasn’t large enough to warrant closure of the street, though much smaller crowds for white supremacist and Minutemen marches were granted full access to the route in the past.
After resisting the violation of our permit conditions and First Amendment rights, the LAPD finally stopped threatening organizers with arrest and granted us access to half of the road. Despite this initial setback, the march and closing rally at Hollywood & Highland were a success. The harassment of the LAPD and second-class treatment of our people by the US government has never stopped us before. We will return bigger and stronger until we have complete victory.
Shop For a Cause is FOUR days away! Purchase a $5 savings pass to benefit ECAASU: East Coast Asian American Student Union and enjoy an extra 25% off online and in stores this Saturday!
100% of the proceeds goes towards us! Please help fund our initiatives on Asian American studies, workshops, campus tours, scholarship and internship resources, directories, and big events!
Vincent Chin would have been 57 today. But the Michigan man never made it out of his 20s. Instead, 30 years ago this week Chin was brutally murdered when he was bludgeoned with a baseball bat wielded by two white, jobless auto workers who thought Chin, a Chinese-American man, was Japanese. “It’s because of you little [expletive] that we’re out of work,” witnesses said Ronald Ebens yelled at Chin before he and his stepson Michael Nitz trailed Chin and attacked him.
Chin’s Asianness made him a target at a time when it was popular to blame Japanese automakers for the crumbling U.S. auto industry. His death, and the protracted and largely unsuccessful fight to bring his killers to justice galvanized Asian-Americans, spurring the community to organize and act and speak out. On the 30th anniversary of his killing, civil rights advocates are telling his story again with fresh urgency. As racialized hate trains its eye on new targets, communities of color have had to learn and relearn the lessons Chin’s death offered many times over in the decades since.
Here now, civil rights advocates and activists offer up the key lessons they’ve carried with them in the 30 years since Chin was killed.
Sharing our stories and knowing our history is a necessary, political act. The effort to keep the lessons of Chin’s death and the fight for justice from being swallowed up by the unstoppable passage of time is not about any romantic nostalgia—understanding the past is key to making sense of the ongoing fight for justice today, activists say.
“The facts of the story are never going to change. It’s never going to have a happy ending, but it can move people to get indignant. It can move people to action,” said Frances Kai-Hwa Wang, a Michigan-based writer and activist. It’s often said that in the the aftermath of Chin’s murder, the Asian-American community was born. Asian Americans, who tended to identify by ethnicity first, came to unite around a new political identity. Chin became a symbol in the Asian-American civil rights movement, a reminder that the struggle for justice is never quite over. Wang organized the Vincent Chin Postcard Project to collect exactly these sorts of stories. Among Wang’s favorite responses was one which asked: “How long will it be before we forget Trayvon Martin like we forgot Vincent Chin?”
Images and language matters. Dehumanizing language and images make it easier to attack those who are treated as less than fully human. Whatever the community, whoever the target, demagoguery comes with a real human cost. “People who do this are putting our lives at risk,” said Wang. She cited this year’s fearmongering political ads which played on American fears about the economic ascendance of Asian countries. In transparently coded images and words, politicians exploit those fears, but not without with great risk. “People see those ads and even if they don’t fully understand the message of the ad they take away this fear of China, and that makes it dangerous for those of us real Asians who are walking around on the street.”
Immunity from hate is an illusion. “Even within impacted communities, I often hear: ‘Oh, that happened years ago,’ or ‘Oh, we’re going to be good Americans and it won’t happen to us,’ or ‘Oh that sucks for him but that hasn’t happened to me yet.’” said Zahra Billoo, the executive director of the San Francisco Bay Area chapter of the Council on American-Islamic Relations. Billoo has organized South Asian, Muslim and Arab communities in response to post-9/11 Islamophobia. “The question becomes: how do you deal with the desensitization of hate? It’s frightening to see that history repeats itself, which is why it’s so important to connect the history.”
“When Vincent was killed it was a wake-up call that Asian Americans had to be vigilant about racist attacks, that they had to be vigilant about how animosity toward Asian countries would continue to have an impact on Asian Americans,” said Stewart Kwoh, executive director of the Asian Pacific American Legal Center. Suddenly, Kwoh said, Asian Americans couldn’t afford not to be involved and to organize themselves and others, and to build alliances with people who weren’t Asian.
We are stronger when we speak up for each other within and across racial lines. “A lot of times our mistake in advocacy is not to connect the dots between communities. Would we be in a different place if we were speaking out against hate crimes when they weren’t impacting us directly?” said Billoo. “Where I find inspiration is in looking at the Japanese-American community’s evolution around the [World War II] internment issue, in challenging it and continuing to talk about it and broadening that conversation to say: ‘You did that to us. You cannot do that to other people,’” Billoo said.
Justice is also about the small acts of solidarity and community-building. “I’d love if people could ask themselves: are we challenging hate in our daily lives?” Billoo said. “What does it mean to interrupt someone when they’re saying something that’s inappropriate?”
This weekend Asian Pacific Americans for Progress is organizing a nationwide townhall this Saturday, June 23 to commemorate the 30th anniversary of Chin’s death. The event which will be streamed live at 2pm ET at www.apaforprogress.org.
Microassaults: Conscious and intentional actions or slurs, such as using racial epithets, displaying swastikas or deliberately serving a white person before a person of color in a restaurant.
Microinsults: Verbal and nonverbal communications that subtly convey rudeness and insensitivity and demean a person’s racial heritage or identity. An example is an employee who asks a colleague of color how she got her job, implying she may have landed it through an affirmative action or quota system.
Microinvalidations: Communications that subtly exclude, negate or nullify the thoughts, feelings or experiential reality of a person of color. For instance, white people often ask Asian-Americans where they were born, conveying the message that they are perpetual foreigners in their own land.