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Yesterday, a Vietnamese immigrant named Jiverly Wong entered the American Civic Association, an immigration services center in downtown Binghamton, New York, and murdered thirteen individuals in a citizenship class. For those who are not familiar with the situation, you can read about it here.

As I read the updated news reports, attempting to process the event and understand the motivations, I increasingly become more upset. An immigrant, a daughter of immigrants who struggled to learn English and gain American citizenship, and someone who seeks to work with immigrant communities now as a student and in the future professionally, I am simultaneously connected to and detached from what happened. I say detached because I have the privilege as someone not directly involved to read, express dismay/shock/sympathy, and move on. But personally, I cannot, and feel the responsibility to recognize the implications of this event. What happened involves many factors, among them the issue of mental health in Asian and Asian American communities and immigrant communities at large and ideas that Asian immigrants are “successful” and “models” when they, too, share common struggles with other immigrants. This is why I am frustrated when I see influential Asian American commentators like Phil Yu write things like this on his blog:

So he decided to kill as many people as possible, before shooting himself? That's the act of a coward. Look, I am sympathetic to those who are going through tough times. Maybe you're not happy with the way your life has turned out. It seems like you're alone, and things don't look like they're going to get better.

But there are a lot of people getting through tough times, and they're not strapping on bulletproof vests and shooting up crowds. There's something seriously wrong with this condition -- and no, it's not just an Asian thing, or an immigrant thing. Don't try to turn it into that. People need to deal, and we need to help each other deal.
Indeed, Phil Yu is right when he says it is not just “an Asian thing” and “an immigrant thing.” There is more to it; all situations involve multiplicities. But to move forward, take care of our communities, and seek justice for those murdered, we must take proactive steps beyond blame and anger. The crime was cowardly, yes. Murder is senseless. But to deconstruct his, to see broader implications, requires sensitivity and thoughtfulness. What provoked this man to vent his frustration in such a way? And, further, upon members of his own community? And how may we better understand this situation so that it does not happen again? I don’t know the answers to these questions, but thinking about the event as more than an “act of a coward” will eventually be more fruitful.

For all our graduates...

Hello friends & colleagues -

The Asian and Pacific Islander American Vote (APIAVote) is pleased to announce the re-opening of its Executive Director search process. You may be familiar with our work and our partnerships with local and national AAPI community based organizations. APIAVote is a progressive 501 (c)(3) nonprofit organization that promotes civic participation of the Asian and Pacific Islander community.

The position of Executive Director requires strong field strategy and management experience. APIAVote's primary goal is to build the field and organizational capacity of our local and national partner organizations, through coalition building and training. Its program focus addresses voter registration, get-out-the-vote (GOTV) initiatives, media/communications strategy and voter file operations.

The Executive Director reports directly to the Board of Directors and oversees a small staff that does administrative, field, communications, and program management tasks. S/he is responsible for day-to-day operations including its effective staff administration, fundraising, communications, field organizing, training and partner relationships.

This is a wonderful organization that addresses a distinct community need. It is also a great opportunity for a qualified and innovative candidate. Please forward this to your networks, and any interested parties. If you have any questions regarding APIAVote, please take a look at our website (www.apiavote.org/jobs), or contact the ED Search Committee at APIAVotejobs@gmail.com.

Thank you for your help.


Jeanette Moy

Executive Director Search Committee

APIAVote Board of Directors

Vida Benavides

Interim Executive Director


POSITION: Executive Director

INSTITUTION: Asian & Pacific Islander American Vote (APIAVote)

LOCATION: Washington, DC

DEADLINE: April 15, 2009

ABOUT APIAVote: Founded in 1996, APIAVote is a national nonpartisan, nonprofit organization that encourages and promotes civic participation of Asian Pacific Islander Americans in the electoral and public policy processes at the national, state and local levels. APIAVote envisions a society in which all Asian and Pacific Islander Americans fully participate in and have access to the democratic process.

The Executive Director of APIAVote will report to the board of directors and manage a team of professionals and staff appropriate to the scope and scale of the organization's work.

SPECIFIC EXPECTATIONS: The Executive Director of APIAVote will have the primary responsibility of leading the organization through:

Fundraising and Financial Management

· Develop, manage and monitor organization's fundraising plan, including building and maintaining relationships with funders. Develop, manage and monitor organization's financial management system.


· Develop and oversee all programs of APIAVote, including field and leadership programs.

· Assist local partners to implement their civic participation campaigns.

· Develop and oversee APIAVote's communications program, to promote awareness of API civic engagement issues and highlight the work of local partners.

Coalition building and collaboration

· Promote strategic alliances and collaborations with organizational and institutional partners.

· Establish APIAVote as a leader in convening diverse Asian American and Pacific Islander communities to project a unified voice.

Personnel Management

· Hire, manage and evaluate staff and contractors, and provide supervision to senior and administrative staff, ensuring that staff have adequate resources, training and support.

Board Development

· Maintain strong and effective relations with the Board of Directors by providing thoughtful and timely information.

· Provide support to Board committees and assist with Board cultivation and development.

CANDIDATE QUALIFICATIONS: This position requires a motivated individual with experience in financial management and oversight, strategic planning, civic engagement, community/electoral organizing and fundraising at the national level. Excellent communication and presentation skills are required. Ability to manage staff and resources efficiently is critical.

COMPENSATION: Competitive salary commensurate with skills and experience. Full health and dental insurance provided.

SEND RESUMES TO: APIAVote Executive Director Search Committee - apiavotejobs@gmail.com

FOR MORE INFORMATION: Please visit www.apiavote.org/jobs or send an inquiry to apiavotejobs@gmail.com


May 18 - August 15, 2009

OCA-NY seeks a college or graduate student for a full-time summer internship position to work on OCA-NY projects and initiatives, namely the Hate Crimes Prevention Art Project and the Voter Registration and Education Project.


  • Commitment to social justice issues
  • Experience in facilitating youth projects
  • Ability to work independently
  • Flexible schedule; some weekends and nights are required
  • Must work well with diverse student groups (ethnic, economic, social)
  • Must be a self-starter
  • Must have excellent organizational skills
  • Knowledge of issues affecting New York City under-represented communities
  • Must be available week of May 4 for interviews, either by phone or in person


$2,000.00 for the period from May 18 to August 15, 2009

To Apply:

Send a cover letter, current resume and an essay, no more than 500 words as to why you should be selected for this position. Include names and contact information of two references: one from someone who is knowledgeable of your character and leadership skills and one from a professor that has taught you within the last year.

Email cover letter, resume and essay to Michele Lam at <michele.lam@oca-ny.org>. Please indicate in the subject line: “OCA-NY Summer Internship - [Your Name].” Applications are due Friday, April 24, 2009, 11:59 p.m. EST.

Due to the large number of expected applicants, we will not be able to respond to each application.

OCA-New York is the New York chapter of OCA (formerly known as the Organization of Chinese Americans), a national non-profit, non-partisan organization dedicated to advancing the social, political and economic well being of Asian Pacific Americans. Its goals are to advocate for social justice, equal opportunity and fair treatment, to promote civic participation, education and leadership, to advance coalition building and to foster cultural heritage.

In 2006, a young Hmong man named Fong Lee was shot and killed by a rookie Mineeapolis police officer, Jason Andersen. During the trial, Andersen cited self defense as motive for the killing, claiming that Lee had a gun (which was found next to his dead body). He was cleared of all charges and not found guilty of violating police procedures.Three years later, due to a lawsuit filed by Lee's family, newly discovered information suggests that the gun was planted, and that Andersen's claim of "self defense" was a sham:

... new evidence filed Monday in a lawsuit brought by Lee's family against Andersen and the city of Minneapolis suggests that the gun had been in police possession, not Lee's, for nearly two years before the shooting. A Police Department report provided to Judge Paul Magnuson showed the gun found near Lee's body was the same gun recovered from a burglary in north Minneapolis in 2004, inventoried and kept in the department's property room since the burglary.

In alleging the gun was planted, the filing says that when the Police Department discovered the origin of the gun, it issued a new supplemental report "trying to intimate" the gun recovered in 2004 and registered to the person who was burglarized might now not be the same gun. In 2004, police ran the gun's serial number and verified it belonged to the burglary victim, but never returned it to him, according to the document filed Monday.

This reminds me of a scene in the documentary Vincent Who?, where Helen Zia discusses the lack of thorough investigation into Vincent Chin's death. In the case of Chin, rather than looking into causes of death inspired by hatred against the Japanese auto industry, investigators focused instead on Vincent Chin's citizenship, making a clear distinction between what kind of life is worth fighting for and what isn't. It's as if to say, if you're not American enough, then you're not worth defending under American law and justice.

That Lee's own family had to fight for a new investigation is a clear denotation of just how little the American legal system is willing to do for certain individuals due to a stratification of people that is measured by national or political "worth". This case and its aftermath is just one example of the way that immigration sets up problems, injustices, and power dynamics that complicate the notion of "democracy". If the spirit of "democracy" makes immigration an unavoidable thing, and if our political system is democratic, then there needs to be a reconciling with those who are marginalized and beaten to the sidelines. They can't just be rendered invisible. Once these injustices come to light, those who operate our so-called democracy need to own up to political lies that have been fed to the general public.

Read more at Star Tribune


BTE (Black Theater Ensemble) is looking for enthusiastic individuals to join the production team of our upcoming Spring '09 production, a double feature of the plays For Colored Girls Who Have Considered Suicide When the Rainbow Is Enuf by Ntozake Shange and Flag Day by Lee Blessing. Performances are scheduled for April 23, 24, and 25 in the Lerner Black Box Theater.


-Lighting Designer responsibilities include generating desired lighting effects for the production. You will work closely with directors to create the overall 'look' for the show in response to the texts while keeping in mind issues of visibility, safety and cost.

-Production Assistant responsibilities include attending rehearsals as directed by the producer/director, assisting with selling and placement of advertisements for playbill, assist with producer and printer for quotes on printing playbills and other marketing materials, attending all production meetings, help run registration table for auditions and callbacks, help run errands as needed for the production team, marketing, selling tickets, etc. This is a GREAT way to get involved in our production
without having prior theater experience!

-Front of House Manager responsibilities include tearing tickets during performances in addition to making sure the theater is in order and that the audience is in their seats on time.

-Run Crew responsibilities include helping set up, run, and break down, props and scenery before, during, and after the performances. We are also looking for board-ops to run lights and/or sound. Time commitment is limited to tech week (April 20-26) and one or two short meetings the week before. These positions are a great way to get involved with a student theatre group on campus. If you are interested or would like to know more about the positions, please email clc2128@columbia.edu.


The BTE Production Team


The Asian American Legal Defense and Education Fund (AALDEF), founded in 1974, is the first organization on the East Coast to protect and promote the legal rights of Asian Americans through litigation, legal advocacy, and community education. For more information about AALDEF, please visit our website at www.aaldef.org.

Internships for the summer of 2009 are available in the following program areas only:

Community Health Care Initiative, legal research, as well as community education and outreach in the areas of immigration, government benefits, language rights, and health care access; and

Voting Rights, legal research and fact development under the Voting Rights Act and Equal Protection Clause challenging anti-Asian voter discrimination, advocacy on bilingual ballots, and state and local election reform; produce reports and organize public forums.

Description of Summer Internship Program:

The summer program is ten weeks, from approximately June 1st through August 7th. Interns work full-time and are supervised by attorneys in specific program areas. Interns will work on litigation, particularly legal research and writing, legal and policy advocacy, community outreach and education, and client intakes. Each program area differs in emphasis. Summer interns attend weekly brown bag lectures on a range of public interest legal topics along with interns from other legal defense funds and civil rights groups. AALDEF also provides trainings in housing law, naturalization procedures, and immigration law. The position is unpaid. However, in previous years many AALDEF interns have been successful at securing independent funding. Academic credit can be arranged.

To Apply:
· Interested applicants should send a cover letter, resume, and writing sample to be received by AALDEF on or before Monday, April 13, 2009 at the address below. Please indicate why you are interested in focusing on the Community Health Care Initiative and/or the Voting Rights project in your cover letter. For email applications, please write “Summer Internship Application” or “SIP Application” in the Subject. Only law students qualify for AALDEF’s legal internships. Fax or email applications are acceptable, but email applications are strongly preferred.
· Any bilingual ability should be stated in the application. Bilingual ability is helpful but not required. Gujarati, Hindi, Khmer, Korean, and Urdu-speaking applicants are especially urged to apply.

Summer Internship Search (Legal)

Asian American Legal Defense and Education Fund
99 Hudson Street, 12th floor
New York , New York 10013-2815
Fax: 212-966-4303
For more information, contact: Jennifer Weng at 212-966-5932 x212 or jweng@aaldef.org

Oh, Diana and Jen, will you ever stop being hilarious?

A Song For Ourselves | 2009 | dir. Tadashi Nakamura
Sometimes, social justice is found in unexpected places. In 1968, two middle-aged Japanese American women--former internees, prisoners of conscience and friends with this amazing activist -- began an antiwar community organization called Asian Americans for Action (familiar initials) while eating lunch on a park bench in Manhattan. The son of one of those nisei, Chris Kando Iijima (CC '69!), would document the Asian American Movement on the twang of guitar strings and a humble yet forceful voice. Weaving in and out of cities with his bandmates Joanne Nobuko Miyamoto and William "Charlie" Chin, Iijima would be the Movement's traveling newscaster, spreading the word to organizers just as quickly as he digested their own experiences into his lyrics.
A Song For Ourselves, the recently-released documentary by filmmaker Tadashi Nakamura (Pilgrimage, Yellow Brotherhood), is the story of Iijima's life. A combination of older footage, present-day interviews, and some slick animation tricks, the movie starts somewhere between childbirth and Malcolm X and ends in the wake of his heartwrenching death in 2005. With protests and sixth-grade classrooms as the backdrops, Song is as much about the movement and the music as it is about the man himself and the people whose lives he touched.
A journey down an empowering and emotional road is set to the greatest soundtrack possible: A Grain of Sand: Music for the Struggle by Asians in America, the 1973 LP released by Iijima, Miyamoto, and Chin and a personal favorite. Recorded in a time when being "Asian American" was a new thing, and more about what you did in the community than who you said you were, the album travels down as many roads as Iijima and co. did. The twelve songs pay tribute to fallen Black Panthers, retell Native American folklore, and in one case end up in Spanish. At the same time, it celebrates these struggles as profound moments of self-realization and sonic beauty:
And we walked, feeling the ground
We'd someday own, not alone
And I knew there was something different
And I feel us growing stronger
Building something new...
I knew there was something different about me today

A Grain of Sand | Something About Me Today

A Grain of Sand | Somos Asiaticos (We Are Asians)

A Song For Ourselves operates in the same way--Iijima's role in voicing the Movement is just one chapter of this story. Equally important is his later life: his decision not to professionalize his music and become a teacher on the Upper East Side, his wife and children, his law professor years in Hawaii, and the rare illness that claims his life. The inevitable is somber, but Nakamura injects the penultimate moments with a subtle sweetness that defines the entire film. If you don't tear up by the time the credits roll, you're probably a robot.
Equally important to the documentary is its supporting cast: bandmates Miyamoto and Chin, parents Kazu and Tak (family friends, believe it or not), wife Jane, sons Christopher and Alan, and longtime friend and California Assemblymember Warren Furutani. (and guest starring John & Yoko!) A must-see--major props to Nakamura for taking the Asian American Movement and giving the force that Iijima himself sang: "where the strongest bomb is human, who is bursting to be free."
Two more songs, because this album is so $*@! good:

A Grain of Sand | We Are the Children

A Grain of Sand | Jonathan Jackson

(And hey, this means Yuri Kochiyama is a friend of a friend of Grandma!)

I blogged about this movie a while back. Then I finally watched it at NAASCon '08, and now, thanks to the powers of APAAM, it's coming to hang out at Columbia/Barnard. If you don't know already, there's a major reason why the date of Vincent Chin's death is the date on our staff list entry. And if you don't know, then maybe this is the perfect film for you.

Check out the Facebook event here.

In January, David wrote an entry about sweatshops that interrogated whether, as Nicholas Kristof claims, they can and should be considered "a necessary evil". Not long after posting, Daniel Cardozo contacted us about the work that his company, Ethix Ventures, Inc., has been doing to help restrain the anti-sweatshop movement:

As far as we know, Ethix Ventures is unique. We're a distributor of eco-friendly, Union Made, Made in USA, and Fair Trade custom-printed merchandise.

As you might guess, thousands of organizations order custom-printed products every day. And while information about how individuals can order eco-friendly, domestic, union made and fairly traded products is fairly accessible, it is much harder for organizations to find out how to clean up their supply chains.

Everyone is affiliated with an organization - a business, religious group, camp, school, etc. - to some extent. A wave of socially conscious consumerism is already upon us, but why should it stop at consumer products? Many people already want to know that the organizations they support are, in turn, supporting socially responsible factories here and around the world.
Normally, we're wary of endorsing anything that has "Inc." tacked after its name, but the people over at Ethix Ventures seem to be thoroughly concerned with what's going on with sweatshop labors, and actively working to do something about it. Perhaps they should hook up with Justice Will Be Served! Thanks for reminding us that not all organizations and merchandise have to spout immorality and malevolence, Daniel.

Check out Daniel Cardozo's blog entry here.

A video by Mixed Company of Yale, an a cappella group, released a spin on Beyonce's 'Single Ladies', entitled 'Single Asians.'

One of the verses goes something like this:

'At the restaurant
I'll taste your sauce
And you can slurp my sushi.
I like it raw,
So bring it on,
And me love you long time.'


The phrase "me love you long time" and the accompanying "me so horny" originates from the Stanley Kubrick film Full Metal Jacket. In the movie, UK actress Papillon Soo Soo (credited as "Da Nang Hooker") speaks the lines:

Hey baby, you got girlfriend Vietnam? Me so horny. Me love you long time.

So there you have it. According to IvyGate who contacted the group, Mixed Company at Yale feels no qualms about posting this video. Full of endless (often derrogatory) sterotypes.

Sent in from our friend and ally Saffiyah Madraswala:

Executive Decision(s): Leadership at Columbia University
Tuesday, April 7th @ 6pm
Lewis Parlor in Brooks hall/dorm at Barnard

A look at leadership and its intersection with different social identities in campus organizations:
What does leadership look like within communities of color?
What does it mean to be a woman of color leader?
What are masculine leadership qualities? Are they too highly valued?
Who's voices are heard in the boardroom?

Please join the United Students of Color Council (USCC) for this dialogue on leadership. Dinner will be provided.

Kevin Zhai, SEAS '12

CC/SEAS Vice Chair
Lizzie Shen, CC '11

Barnard Vice Chair
Ai-Lin Shao, BC '11

Belle Yan, CC '12

Steven Wong, SEAS '12

Community Chair
Sahil Shah, SEAS '12

Political Chair
Laura Ly, CC '12

Event Advisor
Annie Tan, CC '11

Publicity Chair
Alysha Chan, SEAS '10

Congratulations, you drastically tinier board, you! Have fun picking OCMs! EDIT: Updated with Treasurer and Publicity Chair. Thanks, Kevin!

APAAM & Barnard Columbia Rape Crisis/Anti-Violence Support Center presents:
Sexual and Domestic Violence Panel in the Asian Community
Monday, April 13, 2009
7-9pm at Satow Room, Lerner

How do the roles of violence in Asian communities differ?
What can we do to help?
Come join us for a free dinner and hear representative from the New York Asian Women's Center (NYAWC) and Sakhi talk about their experiences of working on sexual and domestic violence related issues. The panel is followed by a Q&A session with the panelists.

Panelists profiles:

Fronthy Nguyen, NYAWC
As the Outreach Coordinator at the New York Asian Women’s Center (NYAWC), Fronthy is responsible for managing and conducting outreach activities for NYAWC. The outreach activities include conducting workshops at social service agencies to inform them about domestic violence in the Asian communities, presentations during roll-call at police precincts to educate police officers about the prevalence of domestic violence in Asian communities and attending community forums and events to better inform the public about domestic violence issues. Fronthy received her Master’s Degree in Non-Profit Management at The New School. Prior to graduate school, she worked in the area of youth development and is a former AmeriCorps*VISTA volunteer.

Mohammad Levesque-Alam, Sakhi
His role is to spearhead Sakhi’s efforts to educate, raise awareness, and create dialogue to help end domestic violence. Mohammad is responsible for media advocacy, production of Sakhi’s media, community engagement and strategic relationship-building. Mohammad has a background as a reporter in the Queens weekly press and, prior to that, worked at a suburban Massachusetts daily newspaper. While pursuing his undergraduate degree at Northeastern University in Boston, he co-founded and co-edited an online political journal for progressive youth. Mohammad holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in Journalism and minors in Political Science and History. He has conversational fluency in Urdu.

Hope to see you there!

But you're not invited, because they're closed. Sorry, general body. This year AAA is doing it a little differently, and, like any other major board election, there is probably some drama involved. We'll keep you posted on the results. Here are the results.

Update: I underestimated the e-board. Not only are elections closed, but they're even closed to senior advisers and PC members! Boo. Elections are at 5:30, somewhere in Lerner, if you care to watch through the tiny glass windows.

Believe what you will, but I was not about to cry

It's very appropriate that I heard about this while talking to a girl at some random party, where everyone was "of East Asian ancestry", pounding beers, and nursing faces as bright as tomatoes:

People whose faces turn red when they drink alcohol may be facing more than embarrassment. The flushing may indicate an increased risk for a deadly throat cancer, researchers report.

The flushing response, which may be accompanied by nausea and a rapid heartbeat, is caused mainly by an inherited deficiency in an enzyme called ALDH2, a trait shared by more than a third of people of East Asian ancestry — Japanese, Chinese or Koreans. As little as half a bottle of beer can trigger the reaction.

What. The. Hell.

What's with this new logo? Why does it look all Olympics-y like the London 2012 logo? Why does that remind me of this year's ECAASU being all Olympics-y (but for different reason, because ECAASU was idealistically like the Olympics, and NYCAASC is only similar in terms of aesthetics)? Gah! Free form association sucks! Anyway, register or sign up to be a volunteer. Now.

Aw, so cute! This is the first conference organized by AAA that helps high school kids acquire "history, information, leadership skills":

A crossroad represents a point at which a crucial decision must be made that will have far reaching consequences. As of the 2005 census, almost 15 million Americans identify as Asian or Pacific Islander. While the APIA community has come a long way in terms of overcoming discrimination, fighting stereotypes, having representation in sports, media, politics, business and various other areas of society, we still have a lot to learn from each other and ourselves. We still have a lot that we can accomplish.

The Asian American Alliance at Columbia University will host its first ‘Crossroads’ leadership conference on Saturday, April 25th, 2009. All high school students are encouraged to apply. Delegates will work closely with student leaders at Columbia University. We hope to provide delegates with information, history, leadership skills, and a network of peers from which they can benefit from to become the next of generation of leaders.

An application process is required. The link to the application is here. All interested students are strongly encouraged to apply.
Deadline: APRIL 3RD at 11:59PM

Please email us at aaacrossroads@gmail.com with questions, comments, concerns, etc.

Hope to see you there!
Where the hell was this when I was a sad little freshman, with a sad little grey Jansport, scouring the hallways of Bronx Science? Oh right, I was wasting away in the yearbook office, but that's a story for another day. (BTW, I still wear that Jansport everywhere, ah, sentimental objects.)

Check out this event more on Facebook.


On April 11th Lucha will be having an health fair in Roone Arledge from 12-4 for the residents of Harlem and Washington Heights. This fair will provide services such as screenings for HIV and diabetes, health education, and registration for government services such as Medicaid and food stamps. The message of the fair is that health is a universal human right. We are still seeking co-sponsorships, both monetary and in terms of volunteers. Particularly, at this point we still want at least 20-30 more volunteers. I know that many of you receiving this email are already aware of the upcoming fair, but I am writing hoping that at least this email could be forwarded to your list-serves so if your members wish to get involved they can.

If you are interested in getting involved either as a group or individually, please email lucha.columbia@gmail.com.

Here is the link to the facebook event as well: http://www.facebook.com/home.php#/event.php?eid=55314919882

If you have any questions feel free to ask.

Paco Martin del Campo


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