vegas, baby

Been busy as hell lately. Did you know there's a presidential race happening? Yesterday, Senator Hillary Clinton won the vote in the Nevada Demcratic caucuses, giving her a second consecutive victory in what looks like will be a lengthy, drawn-out race for the Presidency: Vote of Women Propels Clinton in Nevada Caucus

I bring this up because for weeks now, I've been getting invitations from a bunch of Asian American folks who headed out to Nevada in support of Obama. "Vegas, baby!" they urged me. I couldn't make it out, but I was really interested to see what's going on with this movement...

Last week, over thirty Asian American artists, filmmakers and activists converged in Las Vegas to promote Asian Pacific American participation in the Nevada Caucus. Pretty interesting, because this community of activists mobilized itself primarily through networks like YouTube and Facebook:
Primarily connected through networks like YouTube and Facebook, this newly formed online community will see members from Las Vegas, Los Angeles, New York, WashingtDC, and the San Francisco Bay Area meet in person for the first time. "We created a Facebook event page called 'Vegas and Obama, Baby!' and within hours people starting signing up to join us," said Byler. "We are especially looking forward to meeting Asian American artists and community leaders from Las Vegas and taking this opportunity to grow our network."

The filmmakers will be creating videos about Obama and documenting campaign activities and events for the group's YouTube channel: www.YouTube.com/UnitedForObama (which has already posted videos featuring Ms. Hu and Kal Penn (Harold and Kumar).

"This represents the intersection of the Asian American empowerment movement and the 2008 Presidential Election," Park said. "A candidate like Barack Obama empowers us...his candidacy is a calling for a new era of American politics, a new generation of leaders and people are responding in a dramatic way." Park teamed with filmmaker and APAP Board Member Catherine Park, Kwon, and Byler on the successful grassroots effort to pass H.Res.121, the "Comfort Women" resolution, in the US Congress. Many activists traveling to Las Vegas from the east coast first met Park and Byler during the Asian American-led movement that helped unseat Sen. George "Macaca" Allen in Virginia in 2006.

"The change that everyone is talking about is not a change in leadership, it's a change in us. Internet and YouTube have given us tools we can convert into tangible grassroots and political action," said Byler.
Videos documenting campaign activities and events are available on the United For Obama YouTube channel. Here are videos featuring Kelly Hu and Kal Penn:

I know there has been a lot of talk and controversy lately swirling around Barack Obama and the Asian American vote. Who's voting for whom, who's not voting for whom. More on this in a later entry.

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