asian american leadership forum 2009

This is for all my friends in Chicago... The Asian American Institute, LEAP, and NAAAP Chicago invite you to the Asian American Leadership Forum, a one-day conference for college student organizations, professionals and community groups happening this Saturday, October 3 at DeVry University. Here some details:
2009 Asian American Leadership Forum

Saturday, October 3, 2009
8:00am - 7:00pm
DeVry University
3300 N Campbell Ave
Chicago, IL

AAI, LEAP, and NAAAP Chicago proudly invites you to attend the 2009 Asian American Leadership Forum (AALF).

Below are workshops designed to bring out the leader within, educate you on the challedges going on in our communities, and help you prepare for the future:

Leveraging Social Media for Your Community, Career, and Company
Yes, Illinois, We Can Elect an Asian American
Immigration Matters: Paving the Way for Comprehensive Immigration Reform
From Crisis to Opportunity: Accessing Federal Recovery Act Resources
21st Century Leader
Overcoming Advancement Barriers (for Asian Women)
Change Management
Managing Your Personal Brand
Discovering our History: Asian Pacific American 101
Taking a Stand: Responding to Anti-Asian Hate Incidents
It's an all-day conference, with breakfast, lunch and dinner provided. And it's just $15/20 for students. Think of it as an opportunity to develop and refine your leadership skills, and share/learn what's going on in the Asian American community. For more information, and to register, go to the NAAAP Chicago website here.

powerful earthquake kills 75 in indonesia

Let me just echo my friends over at Disgrasian: what the hell does Mother Nature have against Asia this week? On top of all the crazy stuff that has gone down, a powerful earthquake struck western Indonesia today, triggering landslides and trapping thousands under collapsed buildings. At least 75 bodies have been found, but the toll is expected to be far higher: Powerful Indonesia quake kills 75, traps thousands.

The magnitude 7.6 quake hit Indonesia at 5:15pm local time, just off the coast of Padang, It occurred a day after a killer tsunami hit islands in the South Pacific and was along the same fault line that spawned the 2004 Asian tsunami that killed 230,000 people in 11 nations. More here: Indonesia quake death toll reaches 75.

UPDATE: The earthquake has been followed by a second powerful, shallow inland earthquake with a preliminary magnitude of 6.8: Strong Indonesia quake kills hundreds, traps more.

kelly hu stars in the tournament

Kelly Hu stars in The Tournament, one of those last-man-standing battle royale action flicks in the tradition of Death Race, Series 7 and, well, Battle Royale (which, by the way, is an awesome movie). This one, probably not so much.

In this movie, thirty of the world's deadliest assassins descend upon an unsuspecting town, with the last man standing receiving the $10,000,000 cash prize. And of course, the entire thing is broadcast via closed circuit cameras to a secret ring of high-stakes billionaire gamblers. I'm fairly certain you can turn your brain off for this one.

I assume Kelly Hu plays one of the assassins. The movie was filmed in Bulgaria back in 2007, and is finally being released directly to DVD on October 20. It must be good. Here's the totally awesome trailer -- with Russian subtitles!

tetsana kills at least 41 in vietnam

Typhoon Ketsana's path of destruction continues, battering central Vietnam with powerful winds, heavy rain and dangerously rising floodwaters. The official death toll was placed at 41, with that number expected to rise: Typhoon Kills at Least 41 in Vietnam

While the damage in Vietnam is far less than in the Philippines, it's still being called one of the worst typhoons to hit the country in several years. Casualty figures will likely get worse over the next few days as more reports come in, and river levels rise from rain in the mountains, causing more flooding.

Official reports said some of the worst damage in Vietnam was in the central highlands, where flash floods and mud slides took at least 13 lives and caused serious damage to the country’s coffee growing industry. According to the government, the hardest hit provinces were Quang Nam, Thua Tien Hue and Quang Tri.

According to the Associated Press, at least 11 people were also killed Tuesday in Cambodia. The typhoon is now headed west toward Laos, but weakening, and expected to dissipate over land within several hours. More here: More than 300 killed in path of deadly storm Ketsana.

charity is also our second language

Toronto! This one's for you. This Saturday, October 3, the Kapisnan Philippine Centre for Arts and Culture will be lending a hand to the victims of tropical storm Ketsana. It's a pay-what-you-can event, where you can donate new or gently worn clothes/shoes and canned goods or even spare change. Some event details:
Poetry Is Our Second Language

All monetary donations will support the relief efforts of GlobalMedic.ca

Saturday, October 3, 2009
7:00pm - 1:00am

167 Augusta Avenue
Toronto, ON

In conjunction with Les Rues des Refuses "The renegade guide for off-program nuit blanche events" we invite you to experience a Poetry Slam/Jam like no other you've seen or heard. Word.

"If you want to know what we are
WE ARE REVOLUTION!" - Carlos Bulosan

Be inspired. (THANK YOU Len Cervantes!)

This event is open to all ages, but if you would like to partake in a drink, bring ID!

Proceeds will support relief efforts of GlobalMedic.ca for victims of Typhoon Ondoy/Kestana.

Salamat sa FOREX "We Love To Deliver"
416.335.8555 & 416.609.8912

We are also welcoming any used clothing items for the victims of the great flood. All sizes (children's too) of clothing and shoes will be accepted.
They're also accepting monetary donations through PayPal, checks or cash. All monetary donations will support the relief efforts of GlobalMedic.ca. For more information about Saturday night's event, or further relief efforts, visit the Kapisanan Philippine Centre's website here. Or visit the Facebook event page here.

norman hsu sentenced to 24 years in prison

Yesterday, Norman Hsu, a former prominent Democratic fundraiser, was sentenced to more than 24 years in prison for bilking hundreds of investors of millions of dollars in a nationwide Ponzi scheme and committing campaign finance fraud: Democratic Fund-Raiser Gets 24-Year Term for Fraud.

Hsu pleaded guilty in May to 10 counts of mail and wire fraud in connection with the Ponzi scheme, which prosecutors said lasted about a decade and defrauded over 250 investors of more than $50 million.

Then, on May 19, after a trial, he was convicted of four counts of campaign finance fraud. Prosecutors presented evidence that from 2005 through 2007 he directed "straw donors" to contribute to the campaigns of various federal candidates whose favor he was trying curry, and that in some cases he reimbursed donors from the proceeds of his fraudulent scheme.

Judge Victor Marrero of United States District Court in Manhattan rejected Hsu's plea for leniency and cited what he called a "stunningly elaborate system of fraud and deceit." Daaamn right. Time to pay the piper, Norman.

exchange students tackle football in oregon

Heard this great story last week on NPR, as part of "Friday Night Lives," a special series they're running on high school football in big cities and small towns across the country. In the spotlight, the Burnt River Bulls from Unity, Oregon, an 8-man football team made up mostly of foreign exchange students: Exchange Students Tackle Football, English In Oregon.

They've managed to field the bare minimum of eight players, keeping the entire team busy and tired playing both offense and defense. Meanwhile, most of the players are still learning the basics of the game -- and English.

The Burnt River lineup includes Kan Bakai Uchkun Uulu, left guard from Kyrgyzstan; Szu-Yao Su, quarterback from Taiwan; Jovan Radakovic, left end from Serbia; Ju Hyoung Park, right end from South Korea; Cem Erdogdo, right guard from Germany; and Ban Du, center from China.

For these new kids, it's been a crash course in a sport they had never played, and facing facts, they're not very good. In their opening game against nearby Prairie City, officials stopped the game in the third quarter. The Bulls were down to five players, and trailed 50-6.

But every day, the team gets a little better than the day before. And they just added a ninth player, exchange student Tuan Chau from Vietnam.

At season's end, they're not going to win any trophies, but they did recently win their first game. They beat a team with 19 players -- 14 of whom were exchange students. The final score was 24-0.

Anyway, it's a great story. Check it out here. Does anyone else think this story would make a really fun football movie? A ragtag group of foreign exchange students overcome their differences (and a serious language barrier) to play the all-American sport of football. Come on. It's a good idea.

call for proposals: transforming race conference

The Kirwan Institute for the Study of Race and Ethnicity has announced the Call for Proposals for its second biannual conference, entitled Transforming Race: Crisis and Opportunity in the Age of Obama, to be held March 11-13, 2010, in Columbus, Ohio.

They're seeking innovative proposals that address any of three thematic tracks: Racial Dynamics and Systems Thinking; Race Talk; and Race, Recession, and Recovery. Practitioners, community organizers, scholars, researchers, and others are invited to submit proposals for papers, entire panels, workshops, performances, fishbowls, and more.

Sounds like it's going to be a really interesting gathering. For conference details and updates, visit the Transforming Race 2010 website here. If you have questions, contact Rebecca Reno at reno.34@osu.edu. You can also download the Call for Proposals here (PDF).

flash mob gets a feeling, surprises oprah

This is only barely APA-related, except for the appearance of Apl.de.Ap, the Filipino American 1/4 of the Black Eyed Peas, but it's still a pretty fun video... Earlier this month, to celebrate the premiere of the 24th(!) season of The Oprah Winfrey Show, the Black Eyed Peas performed a rendition of their dopey-but-catchy hit single "I Gotta Feeling" live in Chicago in front of a crowd of 21,000+ fans.

Only the fans weren't just fans. They were a giant flashmob of choreographed dancers, 21,000 strong... much to the surprise of Oprah herself. She apparently had no idea this was going to happen, and it's fairly evident by the look on her face. That's a pretty impressive feat. Nice, Chicago.

liu wins runoff for comptroller nomination

In yesterday runoff election, New York City Council member John Liu, of Queens, won the Democratic nomination for city comptroller, beating fellow Councilman David Yassky, of Brooklyn: De Blasio and Liu Win in N.Y. Democratic Runoffs.

Voter turnout was extremely low, but Liu beat out Yassky 55.6 percent to 44.4 percent, based on unofficial returns last night from 99.9 percent of election districts. Here's the story with the return tallies: De Blasio, Liu Claim Victory In Primary Runoff.

Liu's victory pretty much makes him the favorite to win comptroller in the November election, in a city where Democrats outnumber Republicans six to one. If and when he's elected, he'll become the first Asian American elected to citywide office in New York City.


up in arms: a night of hip hop and spoken word to honor fong lee and end police brutality

Got word from my man Bao Phi about Up In Arms: A Night of Hip Hop and Spoken Word to Honor Fong Lee and End Police Brutality. The event, happening this Saturday, October 3 at Macalester College in St. Paul, is a night of art and activism to honor Fong Lee, who was shot to death by a Minneapolis police officer in July 2006. For details about the event, and the case, read on:
Up In Arms: A Night of Hip Hop and Spoken Word to Honor Fong Lee and End Police Brutality

Date: Saturday, October 3, 2009
Show starts 8:00pm (doors open 7:30pm)

Location: Macalester College
Kagin Commons
1600 Grand Avenue, St. Paul, MN 55105

Suggested Donation: $5-$10 (all proceeds will to go to the family of Fong Lee to assist with attorney's fees)

Up In Arms: A Night of Hip Hop and Spoken Word to Honor Fong Lee and End Police Brutality seeks to raise awareness and support of Fong Lee's case while also uniting and activating communities around the issue of police brutality.

In July 2006, un-armed Fong Lee was killed by a Minneapolis police officer in front of a north Minneapolis elementary school. Last May, an all-white federal jury exonerated officer Jason Anderson of using "excessive force" on the teenager who was shot eight times in the back. Allegations that a gun was planted near Lee's body were ruled irrelevant to the case. (For more information about the trial http://www.hmongtoday.com/page11504436.aspx) The Lee family's quest for truth does not end with the ruling given in May, and the family has continued the long path towards legal justice.

The evening will be emceed by Tou Ger Xiong and Amy Hang. DJ Nak will be on the one's and two's with performances by Magnetic North (from New York City), Nomi of Power Struggle (from the Bay Area), Michelle Myers of Yellow Rage (from Philadelphia), Maria Isa, Blackbird Elements, Guante, Rodrigo Sanchez-Chavarria, e.g. Bailey, Tou Saiko Lee with PosNoSys, True Mutiny, Shá Cage, Kevin Xiong with Pada Lor, Tish Jones, MaiPaCher, Logan Moua, Bobby Wilson, Poetic Assassins, Hilltribe, and special guests.

This event is sponsored by: Speak!, Lealtad-Suzuki Center, Asian Student Alliance, Ua Ke, DJ Club, History Department, Coalition for Community Relations, The Loft Literary Center, Minnesota Immigrant Freedom Network, Shades of Yellow, Take Action Minnesota, Communities United Against Police Brutality, and Minnesota Poor People's Economic Human Rights Campaign.

For more information please visit Coalition for Community Relations on Facebook or contact Tou Ger Xiong @ 651-738-0141or Jose Luís @ 612-986-0832.
This is not only a showcase of some really awesome Asian American artists, it's a community standing up and speaking out about an issue they cannot stay silent about. According to Bao, it's about "Asian Americans standing up for fellow Asian Americans, while also building alliances across different communities that have also suffered from police brutality."

For more information about the event, check out Bao Phi's latest column for the Star-Tribune, which delves not only into the Fong Lee case, but also the broader, very real, oppressive fear of violence faced by communities of color at the hands of abusive law enforcement: Fong Lee, and Violence.

radio producer gina hotta dies

Just learned that journalist, writer and community leader Gina Hotta died last night of a heart attack: R.I.P. Gina Hotta. Though I never met her, I was familiar with her work as the executive producer of the API radio show Apex Express, which aired on Berkeley-based KPFA 94.1 FM.

A true champion of API radio, she received several awards for her work, including her award-winning radio documentary Which Way Home: Asian American Vietnam Veterans. And as everyone started jumping ship to the internet, she kept it real with the radiowaves.

Here's a really nice tribute to Gina by Drizzletron, aka Adriel Luis, over at the iLL-Literacy blog: R.I.P. Gina Hotta: Analog Girl in a Digital World.

t-shirt love: pacquiao

Available from 220 Clothing

Description: "Fan of the Pac-Man? What better way to show your support than with a bold t-shirt that packs a 1-2 punch!" There are a lot of great Manny shirts out there. This one's simple but cool. They've also got the design on a tote bag. (Thanks, Camille.)

Yeah, I'm bringing it back. I got some good feedback about the t-shirt love series from a few months back, so I thought I'd kick it up and make it a semi-regular (maybe weekly?) feature, highlighting various cool APA-themed designs. Because I like t-shirts.

research study needs middle-aged asian american women

Here's another one of these research studies that needs some Asian Americans... Dr. Eun-Ok Im is conducting an internet study on the physical activity attitudes among diverse ethnic groups of middle-aged women (40-60 years old). They're apparently having some trouble recruiting Asian American women for the study, so I'm spreading the word. Here are some details:
Eun-Ok Im, PhD, MPH, RN, CNS, FAAN, School of Nursing, The University of Texas at Austin and her colleagues are conducting a study to explore ethnic differences in midlife women's attitudes toward physical activity.

You are eligible to participate in this study if you are a midlife woman aged 40 to 60 years old who does not have any mobility problems; who can read and write English; who is online; and whose self-reported ethnic identity is Hispanic, non-Hispanic (N-H) White, N-H African American, or N-H Asian.

Data will be collected through an Internet survey among 500 midlife women in the U.S. starting Feb. 1 2008 and ending May 21, 2011.

Your involvement will consist of about 30 minutes to complete the Internet survey questionnaire. You will be reimbursed with a 10 dollar gift certificate for filling out the Internet survey.

For more information and to begin the survey, please visit our project website (http://mapa.nur.utexas.edu/MAPA/) and/or contact us.
Each survey takes about 30 minutes to complete. The survey will begin by asking a series of eligibility questions. If you're ineligible you will be notified. Each participant will be reimbursed with a gift certificate of 10 dollars per survey. To take the survey, go here. For more information, contact research assistant Elaine Wang at wang.elainey@gmail.com.

the worst movie of the decade

According to Rotten Tomatoes, which aggregates the opinions of over 100 professional movie critics and distills them down to a single numeric "freshness" rating, the absolute worst movie of the decade is Ballistic: Ecks vs. Sever.

Oh, don't remember this movie? The 2002 action flick, directed by Wych Kaosayananda, aka Kaos, and starring Lucy Liu and Antonio Banderas, is all kinds of awful. Quantifiably awful, actually, earning a rare 0% freshness rating, and described by critics as "an ungainly mess," "loud and boring," "flat, stale, confusing and lazy," and "a picture for idiots": Going 'Ballistic' on the Decade's Worst Movies.

I actually bought a ticket to see this movie when it opened. I remember really wanting to like it, but the movie just flat out sucked. Unfortunately, this was just one in a string of stinkers from Lucy Liu's post-Ally McBeal movie career. And as for Thai-born director Wych Kaosayananda, the poor guy hasn't made a movie since. Anyway, see the complete list of this decade's worst movies here.

now it's just kate plus 8 minus jon

The rumors are true. TLC has announced that Jon and Kate Plus 8 is over. As of November 2, father-turned-douchebag Jon Gosselin will no longer be appearing on the "reality" show, and the show's name will be changed to simply Kate Plus Eight: Jon out, show renamed 'Kate Plus 8'.

According to TLC, network officials decided to change the show's title "to adapt to the changing Gosselin family," which is a nice way of saying that Jon and Kate now really really hate each other. Kate Plus Eight will "continue to chronicle the Gosselin family as they go on outings and tackle daily challenges and adventures."

Meanwhile, Jon Gosselin, who's reportedly making himself available for another reality show, will continue under contract to TLC and will appear on Kate Plus Eight on "a less regular basis"... as the little ones wonder why daddy reeks of cigarettes, booze and skank.

I'll admit, I was once a fan of this show. But it has quickly spiraled into the sad little saga of a really big family that should've turned the cameras off a long time ago. What they really need to do is cancel the show altogether, for the sake of the entire Gosselin clan. I hope TLC budgeted money to pay for serious therapy for eight kids.

david choi is going on tour

David Choi is going on tour! True to form, the popular YouTube singer/songwriter announced his official tour with this crazy little video.

The tour schedule has scattered stops up and down the west coast, including Los Angeles, San Francisco, Portland, Seattle and Vancouver, as well as shows in Houston and South Korea. Korea?!

Support a brother and his music -- the success of the west coast tour will determine if he can get tour stops elsewhere. For more information, visit David Choi's website here and of course, his YouTube channel here.

yoon to join flaherty on mayoral ticket

Boston City Councilor Sam Yoon might have fallen short in his mayoral run, finishing third behind Mayor Thomas Menino and City Councilor Michael Flaherty in last week's preliminary election. But it's not the end for him. Flaherty has announced that Yoon would serve as deputy mayor if he wins: Yoon said set to join Flaherty as deputy.

That's right. Yoon will join forces with his one-time rival in an unprecedented bid to unseat incumbent Mayor Menino. Combined, Flaherty and Yoon earned 45 percent of the vote in last week's election. This is just 5 percent less than Menino. Here's the message Yoon sent to his supporters:
Dear supporters and friends,

Last Tuesday, almost 50% of people who went to the polls voted for change. They demanded new leadership in our city and a change in the way we do business. Even after Mayor Menino rolled out his political machine, spent a staggering $1.5 million, and used all the powers of his 16-year incumbency, half of the city voted against the status quo. Our campaign has said again and again that we can't wait four more years for change.

That is why this morning, I will be joining Michael Flaherty in front of City Hall, not just to endorse his campaign for Mayor - but to join it, and to work with him to bring the changes to Boston that we fought so hard for over these past months.

Starting today, I will campaign alongside Michael Flaherty as his future Deputy Mayor. This is a first step that will change Boston politics for good.

I realize that for Boston, a joint campaign, a Flaherty-Yoon "ticket," is new and different. But we have always said that Boston politics has been too much about taking credit, and not enough about collaboration. So Michael and I will be working together to make the changes that we need in city government.

Over the next several weeks, we will be unveiling our plans for the first 100 days of our administration.

This will include enacting term limits for Mayor - putting an end to the 'Mayor for Life' culture in Boston that has held us back. The Boston Redevelopment Authority has been a breeding ground for back-room dealing and misuse of funds. Michael has asked that as Deputy Mayor I lead the effort to dismantle the BRA and replace it with a true community planning agency.
Of course Michael and I won't agree on everything.  But we won't need to.  We agree on enough - and most importantly, we agree that change can't wait.

I believe this to my core. The alternative to acting now is standing still, and our city has been doing that for far too long.

We are asking for you to give everything you possibly can during these next five weeks to change our city. We are facing an entrenched political machine - a machine that won't give up power without a fight. We need your help and we need it now.

Join us - and let's change Boston for good.


This is definitely going to shake up the race. Flaherty has also reportedly been courting the support of developer Kevin McCrea, who came in fourth in the preliminary election, hoping to pick up the support of his base. More here: Rivals unite to fight Tom Menino 'tooth & nail'.

Breaking it down, if all of Yoon's 17,179 votes and McCrea's 3,340 votes went to Flaherty, the candidate would be locked in a tight race with Menino, with 39,978 combined votes compared to the 41,026 ballots cast last week for the Mayor. The mayoral election will take place on November 3.

gratuitous photo of the president and his cute asian niece

Sorry, I couldn't resist posting this crazy cute photo, courtesy of the Official White House Photostream, of President Obama playing with his niece Sevita (daughter of Konrad and Maya) during the first family's vacation on Martha's Vineyard about a month back. You gotta admit, it's a cool picture.

poster parody sparks controversy at tufts

Heard about this recent controversy at Tufts, and I just had to shake my head at how stupid it all was: A Tale of Two Posters. Basically, in an attempt at "political satire," one student posted a parody of another student's campaign poster for student government, playing up some lame Asian stereotypes:
Two weeks ago, In-Goo Kwak, a freshman studying international relations and an immigrant from South Korea, put up a series of posters around his dormitory parodying the campaign poster of Alice Pang, another freshman of Asian descent who was running for the Tufts Community Union Senate. Kwak was not actually running for a student government position, but posted the parody next to Pang's at the encouragement of his dorm mates. who thought he was right to poke fun at the air of political correctness he perceived on the campus.

Pang's poster included the campaign slogan, "small person, big ideas," with the exclamation "hurrah!" next to her portrait. Kwak's parody poster looks strikingly similar in design to Pang's and includes the slogan "squinty eyes, big vision." Next to Kwak's portrait is the word "kimchi!" -- a traditional Korean dish. Additionally, where Pang's poster read "vote on Thursday," Kwak's said, "Prease vote me! I work reary hard!" in deliberately broken English.
You can see a photo of both posters side-by-side here. What was the point of this? In-Goo Kwak, the freshman who posted the parody, claims it was his attempt "to satire the oppressive environment of political correctness at Tufts." If that was indeed what he was trying to do, he did a pretty piss-poor job.

Yes, the poster certainly violated an accepted standard of political correctness, oppressive or otherwise -- reactions to Kwak's stunt definitely demonstrated that. But in and of itself, it fails to accomplish much more than that. All I really see are some extremely unoriginal Asian jokes and a goofy kid having a little too much fun with Photoshop.

Kwak insists that people at Tufts should be comfortable sharing their views, but there's a "taboo against the discussion of racial issues." I'm not part of the Tufts community, but maybe he's right. An open, intelligent discussion of racial issues should be encouraged. I just fail to see how jokes about "squinty eyes," "kimchi" and the mispronunciation of "rearry" contribute to an open, intelligent discussion about racial issues.


10th annual dc apa film festival, oct. 1-10

Heads up. The 10th Annual DC APA Film Festival opens this Thursday, October 1, with the Opening Night presentation of Eric Byler and Annabel Park's 9500 Liberty, an on-the-ground documentary examining the hotly debated issue of immigration and the battle that played out between citizens and elected officials in Prince William County, Virginia.

The festival continues with an incredible array of features, shorts and events, including DC's Centerpiece Presentation, Atsushi Sanada's Honokaa Boy, the semi-autobiographical coming-of-age story of Leo, a Japanese college student, who, while on vacation with his girlfriend, falls in love with the sleepy Hawaii town of Honokaa. It screens on Thursday, October 8.

The fun continues through October 10, when the festival closes things out with Tze Chun's Children of Invention, an indie family drama about economic hardship and the pursuit of the American dream -- a timely, extremely well-produced film I've already raved quite a bit about.

Congratulations, D.C. Ten years. Ten thousand APA points of view. Ten days of films, with a little bit of something for everyone. Make your plans to be there! To peruse the full schedule of films, and to purchase advance tickets (I'd highly recommend it), visit the DC APA Film Festival website here.

apalc hosts citizenship application workshop

This weekend in Los Angeles, the Asian Pacific American Legal Center is hosting a citizen application workshop, where staff attorneys and trained volunteers will help attendees complete the application form. APALC will then review the applications and file them with U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services. Here's APALC's press release:
APALC Hosts Citizenship Application Workshop

Los Angeles - The Asian Pacific American Legal Center (APALC) will host a citizenship application workshop on Saturday, October 3, 2009, at its office located at 1145 Wilshire Blvd. in downtown Los Angeles. The workshop runs from 9:00 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. Appointments are required and may be made by calling (213)977-7500 ext. 247 (English) or (714)530-9155 (Korean and English).

At the workshop, APALC staff, pro bono attorneys, and trained volunteers help attendees complete the application form. APALC then reviews the applications and files them with U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (CIS). Applicants will receive a study guide to prepare for their citizenship interview, civics exam, and English test.

The service is provided for just $60 per applicant, which is $20 off APALC’s regular charge for application assistance. Proceeds generated by this program enable the organization to continue making this service available to the community. Attendees must also bring the $675 CIS application/biometrics fee, two passport-style photos, and a copy of their green card.

Before making an appointment for the workshop, prospective applicants should check their qualifications for naturalization (particularly their English skills) by visiting the CIS webpage www.uscis.gov/naturalization.

Once an appointment is made, APALC will send the applicant a list of information and documents to bring to the workshop to ensure an efficient and pleasant application experience.
Maybe you or someone you know could use some help in applying for U.S. citizenship. The point of this workshop is to make that process a little smoother. That's this Saturday, October 3, 9:00am-12:00pm at the APALC office in downtown Los Angeles. Appointments are required, so make arrangements to attend by calling (213)977-7500 ext. 247 (English) or (714)530-9155 (Korean and English).

death toll rising in ketsana flooding

By now, you've heard of Tropical Storm Ketsana/Ondoy, which has ravaged the Philippines with flooding in Manila and the surrounding region. The death toll, still climbing, has risen to at least 140, with 32 missing, and tens of thousands left homeless: 140 die in Philippine storm, toll expected to rise.

The storm dumped more than a month's worth of rain in just 12 hours, fueling the worst flooding to hit the country in more than 40 years. Overwhelmed officials called for international help, warning they may not have sufficient resources to withstand another storm predicted to hit the Philippines as early as Friday.

Authorities expect the death toll to rise, as recuers try to get to villages blocked off by floating cars and other debris. Troops, police and volunteers have already rescued more than 7,900 people, but unconfirmed reports of more deaths abound. More here: Philippines 'overwhelmed' as new storm threatens after Ketsana.

Donations for rescue and relief can be made to the Philippine National Red Cross.

judge denny chin to be nominated to appellate court

This news is a couple of weeks old, but still worth mentioning... Denny Chin, a federal district court judge in Manhattan whose recent claim to fame was sentencing epic Ponzi schemer Bernard L. Madoff to 150 years in prison, is expected to be hominated by the White House for a prestigious appellate judgeship in New York: Madoff's Sentencing Judge to Be Appellate Court Choice.

According to the office of Senator Charles E. Schumer, who recommended Judge Chin, the nomination is expected in the coming months, in time to be confirmed by the Senate before it recesses later in the year.

If nominated, and confirmed by the Senate, Judge Chin would join the United States Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit, known widely for its rulings in financial and white-collar cases, among others. It's also the court where Justice Sonia Sotomayor served before she was named to the Supreme Court.

Judge Chin, 55, would become the sole Asian American to fill an active judgeship on a United States Circuit Court of Appeals. (Judge A. Wallace Tashima of the Ninth Circuit has taken senior status, a sort of semi-retirement.) I'm sure it's great to be known as the guy who sentenced that scamming bastard Bernie Madoff to 150 years in jail, but he's had a pretty solid career outside of that.

music video: "heard 'em all" by amerie

Check out the music video for "Heard 'Em All" by Amerie, the second single from her upcoming fourth studio album In Love & War, due out in November from Def Jam. Like it? You can download the track from iTunesicon. Here's also some behind-the-scenes footage of the video shoot.

I think both the single and video are pretty damn hot. I've been a fan of Amerie's for a while, and I'm excited that she's finally releasing another U.S. album (she's had some label troubles over the last few years). Cool, right?

But what is up with this BET Blog referring to Amerie as a "chinky eyed queen"? The author obviously appreciates Amerie and her music, but somehow finds it okay to casually throw out offensive racial slurs to describe her appearance? (She's of Korean descent.) That's racist!

ichiro ejected for first time in his career

Another minor first for Seattle Mariners outfielder Ichiro Suzuki... but this time, it's not really one for the record books. Ichiro was ejected from Saturday's game against the Toronto Blue Jays for arguing a called third strike in the fifth inning: Mariners' Suzuki ejected for 1st time in career.

It's not only the first ejection of the season for the Mariners, it's the first of Suzuki's entire professional career, including his years playing in Japan.

Ichiro used his bat to draw a line on the outer edge of the plate, indicating that David Purcey's strike three pitch was outside. Home plate umpire Brian Runge immediately ejected Suzuki, who argued briefly before being escorted off the field by manager Don Wakamatsu.

Suzuki went 0-3, dropping his average to .353. He's second to Minnesota catcher Joe Mauer in the American League batting race. More here (with video of the line draw that got Ichiro the boot): Ichiro ejected for first time in career

freaking love this target commercial

Spotted this awesome Target commercial on the tube last week and absolutely fell in love with it. I just watched the 30-second spot like five times in a row. It features Shannon, a Cool Asian Mom doing all sorts of Cool Asian Mom stuff for her family (with the help of products she purchased at Target, of course). She does it all...

the best colleges and universities for aapi students: wrap-up

Over the past two weeks, I partnered with Asian Pacific Americans for Progress to present a special list of The Best Colleges and Universities for AAPI Students. We hope you enjoyed it. Before we officially wrap things up, a couple of things...

First, we want to thank all the people who helped in making the process possible: Mamta Accapadi (OR), Eugenia Beh (TX), Jason Chan (DC), Lily Huang (NY), Sahra Nguyen (MA), Corinne Kodama (IL), and Connie Tingson-Gatuz (MI).

We also want to thank everyone who sent in information about their schools. By no means was this a comprehensive process, but we received applications from 30 colleges and universities from across the country. Some schools had multiple submissions, and as promised, everyone who submitted an application was entered into a raffle for a gift package from Blacklava including a DVD of the documentary Vincent Who? The winners are:

Helen T. (Cornell University)
Andrea L. (Michigan State University)
Shiva R. (Pitzer College)
Leanne K. (San Francisco State University)
Alyssa W. (University of Florida)
Stan T. (University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign)

It was great to see so much happening at so many different campuses across the country. Again, the top ten campuses we recognized:We also want to give honorable mentions to:
  • San Francisco State University

  • SUNY Binghamton

  • University of Denver

  • University of Florida

  • University of Washington
While we congratulate everyone on their ongoing work to represent and organize AAPIs in higher education, we do want to note that it may have been more appropriate to call this project the "Best Colleges and Universities for Asian Americans." Unfortunately, Pacific Islander students remain severely under-represented in colleges. It would be great to see Asian American students learn more about this disparity and partner with Pacific Islanders, as allies, to address these severe educational inequalities.

america's best dance crew season four: finale

Well, after all is said and done, we have ourselves another winner of MTV's America's Best Dance Crew... and I like it. Okay, so I griped over this season a lot. Overall, I just didn't think it was as strong as previous seasons. But with the heart of a true fan, I stuck with it, and I picked a crew to root for. And last night, that crew won: We Are Heroes is America's Best Dance Crew.

If anything, this crew was all about perseverance. Week after week, they clawed their way to the top, battling their way out of elimination on multiple occasions, overcoming various injuries, and just showing everybody what it means to really want it. And come on, last week's final performance, with the fire and the crazy caped costumes... that was pretty damn badass.

Some side notes about the finale... How cool was it to see those three crews do a joint routine to Far East Movement's "Girls On The Dance Floor"? It was inevitable, and it was awesome. Also, it was nice to see Fr3sh back on the show, if only briefly. You guys departed too soon. But anyway...

There you have it. We Are Heroes takes season four of America's Best Dance Crew. Not only are they the first all-female crew to take the trophy... Asians! Once again, we have some serious Asian representation in the winning crew's roster: Hiroka "Hero" Mcrae and Mami Kanemitsu. I don't know how this keeps happening, but it kicks ass. Congratulations, We Are Heroes.

By the way, they're already looking for crews for Season Five.

mixed race chinese idol contestant causes a stir

This is an interesting story on Lou Jing, a mixed-race Shanghainese woman who has been the focus of an intense public debate about what it means to be Chinese: Can a Mixed Race Contestant Become a Chinese Idol?

Born to a Chinese mother and an African American father whom she has never met, Lou skyrocketed to public consciousness last month when she took part in an American Idol-esque TV show, Go! Oriental Angel.

Typical of the genre, the show's producers quickly clung to Lou's story: a girl of mixed race brought by a single Chinese mother struggling to gain acceptance in a deeply conservative (and often racist) society.

Her appearance on the show not only boosted viewer numbers, but sparked an intense nationwide debate -- largely fueled by internet chat conversations -- about beauty, ethnicity, and the very notion of "Chinese" identity.

I think it's a fascinating look at a population that is slowly undergoing a demographic shift, and now forced to deal with a increasingly multi-ethnic, heterogenous society -- exposing a deep-running vein of xenophobia. Prompted by a reality show, of all things. This isn't the first of such conversations in China, and it's definitely not going to be the last.


cacf fundraiser: at your service!

This week in New York, make plans to attend At Your Service!, a service auction fundraiser/networking mixer for the Coalition for Asian American Children and Families, the nation's only pan-Asian children's rights group, happening Thursday, October 1 at BLVD.

Bring your checkbook to bid on a wide array of goods and services, including martial arts training, jewelry design, fitness instruction, breakdancing lessons, personal coaching, and much more -- all for a great cause. Some event info:
At Your Service!

Service Auction Fundraiser + Networking Mixer

Thursday, October 1, 2009
6:30 PM – 10:00 PM

BLVD - 199 Bowery @ Spring St.

Suggested Donation: $10

Join the Action Council as we kick off the Fall with a networking mixer and our very first service auction fundraiser!

This special event will promote the talents and expertise of our friends in the community as they offer their services for aution. Our amazing array of donations includes martial arts training, jewelry design, fitness instruction, breakdancing lessons, personal coaching, and much more!

Enjoy appetizers and drink specials while mingling with peers and bidding on up to 30 incredible services donated just for this event. All proceeds will benefit the Coalition for Asian American Children and Families (CACF).
CACF, the nation's only pan-Asian children's advocacy organizaiton, aims to improve the health and well-being of Asian Pacific American children and families in New York City. For more information about CACF's mission, or Thursday night's fundraiser, visit the website here.

lazy link roundup

Cambodians testify for war crimes tribunal: Dozens of Cambodian refugees are speaking publicly -- many for the first time -- about Khmer Rouge atrocities so a legal team can use their testimony in an international war crimes tribunal currently underway in Phnom Penh.

Homeownership fell in '08; Asians hit worst: According to new Census data, Asians suffered the sharpest drop in homeownership last year -- particularly in California, which has seen foreclosure rates skyrocket and home values plummet since the housing bubble burst.

Reopened Museum Tells Chinese-American Stories: The New York Times has a review of the Museum of Chinese in America's recently re-opened $8.1 million, 14,000-square-foot new space -- designed by famed architect Maya Lin, no less -- in New York's Chinatown.

Constitution center sponsors teen video debate on immigration: Last week, Su Chin Pak moderated an innovative youth debate on immigration reform, sponsored by the National Constitution Center, involving high school students across several states linked via videoconference.

'Barbarian Princess' film title raises some hackles in Hawaii: Some native Hawaiians have expressed anger and offense over the title of an upcoming feature film on the life of royal heroine Princess Ka'iulani, Barbarian Princess.

Learning to Fly With a Fledgling Director: Here's a story on the new remake of Fame, with a focus on 25-year-old Thai American first-time feature film director Kevin Tancharoen, whose unusual career path started by tagging along to hip hop dance classes with his sister.

Poet tries her hand at grrrl-power fiction: Revenge of the Mooncake Vixen, the debut novel from accomplished poet and San Diego State University professor Marilyn Chin, apparently "might upset some readers."

Comedian Ansari Enjoys Playing Sleazebag On TV: NPR recently aired a story on comedian Aziz Ansari, who can currently be seen starring as Tom Haverford, savvy sleazebag right-hand man to Amy Poehler on NBC's Parks and Recreation.

America's Best Dance Crew and Asian Americans: Interview With Travis Wong: Here's an interview with professional dancer/stuntman/martial artist Travis Wong, who talks about his career thus far working on America's Best Dance Crew, Jon M. Chu's upcoming LXD, and other Hollywood projects.

annie le laid to rest

This weekend in El Dorado Hills, California, family and loved ones bid farewell at a private mass for Annie Le, the 24-year-old Yale graduate student whose body was found hidden behind a wall in a university laboratory building: Private Mass pays tribute to slain Yale graduate student Annie Le.

In a statement made to the media before the Mass, family pastor Monsignor James Kidder said the family hoped that the funeral would be "a chance for the family to come to reconciliation with something that is humanly irreconcilable: not only the fact that Annie died but the way she died."

While a lab technician, Raymond Clark II, has been arrested and charged with killing her, authorities haven't offered much information about the her death, or a motive for the murder. Attorneys for Clark have asked the court to continue to keep his arrest warrant affidavit sealed from public view. But some grisly details have emerged.

Described as fun and extremely bright, Le graduated at the top of her class at Union Mine High School in El Dorado in 2003. She was the school's valedictorian and was one of two students voted "Most Likely to Be the Next Einstein." She received nearly $160,000 in scholarship money to attend the University of Rochester, where she studied cell and developmental biology.

At Yale, she was pursuing graduate study in pharmacology, studying the role of enzymes in disease and was on track to earn a doctorate in 2013. She was supposed to get married to Jonathan Widarsky two weeks ago, the day her body was discovered. More on funeral here: Annie Le laid to rest.

lt. ehren watada allowed to resign from army

First Lt. Ehren Watada, who made headlines as the first commissioned officer to be court-martialed for publicly refusing to go to Iraq, will be allowed to resign from the Army and granted a discharge "under other-than-honorable conditions": Army Officer Who Refused Iraq Duty Is Allowed to Resign.

Lt. Watada's resignation marks the end of a high-profile, three-year legal battle that included unsuccessful attempts by the Army to court martial him.

In 2006, Watada refused to deploy to Iraq with his unit, based in Fort Lewis, Washington, arguing that the war was illegal and that he would be a party to war crimes. He was charged with missing his unit's deployment and with conduct unbecoming an officer for denouncing President George W. Bush and the war -- statements he made while explaining his actions.

His court-martial ended in a mistrial in February 2007. The Army sought a second court-martial, but a federal judge ruled that it would violate the constitutional protection against double jeopardy. If convicted, he could have been sentenced to six years in prison and been dishonorably discharged.

According to his attorney, Watada had tried to resign previously, but the Army had refused to allow it. It seems that the Army realized it couldn't defeat him in a courtroom, and finally accepted his resignation this time around.

Watada will officially complete his service (currently a desk job at Fort Lewis) on Friday. More here: Army to discharge Hawaii soldier who took stand against Iraq war.


in theaters: fame, pandorum

In theaters this weekend... Fame, a reinvention of the 1980 hit film, following a talented group of dancers, singers, actors and artists at the New York City High School of Performing Arts. The movie is directed by Kevin Tancharoen, whose previous credits include music videos and series for MTV.

Among the featured cast of Fame is Anna Maria Perez de Tagle as an aspiring actress named Joy. You might recognize her from previous work in Disney Channel stuff like Camp Rock and Hannah Montana. Interested in seeing the movie? Not sure? You can watch the first six minutes of Fame online here.

Also opening in theaters today, the sci-fi thriller Pandorum, about some folks who wake up on a spaceship with no memory of who they are, or what their mission is... and then a lot of terrible things start happening. None other than MMA champ Cung Le is in the movie as Manh. I don't know what kind of character he plays, but when I met him at Comic-Con back in July, he seemed to indicate that his role was fairly substantial. I'm just hoping he doesn't get eaten by a space monster or something.

apa organizations defend state tuition for undocumented students

Did you know that nearly half of the undocumented immigrants in the University of California system are Asian Americans? Surprising, right? That's why Asian American groups are fighting to defend AB 540, a law that lets undocumented students pay in-state tuition prices: Asian Americans: UC's Invisible Illegal Immigrants. More here: Coalition files legal brief in support of state tuition law.

Yesterday in Los Angeles, a press conference was held to announce that a coalition of over 70 Asian Pacific American civil rights, legal and community organizations will be filing a legal brief in support of immigrant college students whose ability to pay in-state tuition under a California law, AB 540, may be seriously threatened by the outcome of the case Martinez v. Regents of the University of California, currently before the California Supreme Court.

The brief describes how thousands of APA students have been able to afford to attend college in California under AB 540, how undocumented students would be harmed if AB 540 was eliminated, and how APA youth become undocumented and the challenges they face. From APALC's press release:
AB 540 is a state law that allows both documented and undocumented students to attend California's public state colleges and universities and pay in-state tuition rates if they have: attended at least three years of high school in California, graduated from a California high school, and met other conditions. Enacted in 2001, AB 540 has made it possible for thousands of California high school students to attend public community colleges, Cal State schools, and universities in California. Plaintiffs filed a lawsuit challenging its legality and the part of the provision that allows undocumented students to pay in-state tuition, alleging that it confers a benefit based on residency and conflicts with federal law.

Although APAs make up over 50% of the total number of documented and undocumented AB 540 recipients, this brief supports the University of California's (UC) efforts to keep open pathways to higher education for undocumented youth. The brief describes how thousands of APA students have been able to afford college under AB 540, how undocumented students would be harmed if AB 540 was eliminated, and how APA youth become undocumented and the challenges they face.
When talking about undocumented students, the conversation tends to revolve around Latino students. But Asian Pacific Amerians make up over 50% of the total number of documented and undocumented AB 540 recipients. What happen to all these students if AB 540 was eliminated? Read the full press release from the Asian Pacific American Legal Center here, and download the brief here.

aatc presents philip kan gotanda's #5 angry red drum

This is for theater fans in the Bay Area... Philip Kan Gotanda's #5 Angry Red Drum, presented by Asian American Theater Company, opens next week, September 28 (with previews this weekend) at Thick House in San Francisco. The play is directed by Matthew Graham Smith, and stars Rich Bianco, Daniel Bruno, Will Dao, Michael Uy Kelly, Thomas Pang and Anthony Julius Williams.

The fifth work in the celebrated playwright's Garage Band Series, #5 Angry Red Drum is the story of two world-refugees determined to survive with style amidst a post-apocalyptic universe gone mad. When a mysterious drum appears, it awakens their lost memories and inspires them to create a new society. Some details:

Philip Kan Gotanda's New Play: #5 ANGRY RED DRUM

Opening Night on Monday, Sept. 28 ...Tickets On Sale Now!

Matthew Graham Smith

Rich Bianco, Daniel Bruno, Will Dao, Michael Uy Kelly, Thomas Pang, Anthony Julius Williams

September 26, 2009, Saturday - 8:00 pm
September 27, 2009, Sunday - 5:00 pm

September 28, 2009, Monday - 8:00 pm

October 1-17, 2009
Thu-Sat 8:00 pm | Sun 5:00 pm

The Director and Cast will be present for post-show Q&A with the audience following the October 4 and October 11 5:00pm matinee performances.

Thick House
1695 18th Street (between Carolina and Arkansas Streets)
Potrero Hill, San Francisco

AATC is part of the Thick House Presenting Program

$25 (student & senior rates available) | 415-401-8081 or www.thickhouse.org
It looks weird and crazy and absurd. Watch the YouTube trailer for the play here. And listen to a KCBS radio interview with Philip Kan Gotanda here: Post-Apocalyptic Times with Music, Dance, and Laughter. To learn more about the production, and to purchase tickets, visit the Asian American Theater Company's website here.

serial child molester denied parole

Excuse me as I throw up. Caught this story in the OC Weekly about George Joseph England, a convicted California serial pedophile who forced a kindergarten-age girl he purchased in Vietnam to become a sex slave to not only himself but also his dogs. Yes, you read that right. He was recently up for parole: Serial Pedophile Who Bought 5-Year-Old Vietnamese Sex Slave is Up For Parole.
In 1972, while working in a civilian electronics job in South Vietnam, a 28-year-old England bought then-5-year-old Thi My Lan Nguyen from her mother. He took Nguyen--an Amerasian born in 1967 from the union of a U.S. soldier and a Vietnamese woman--to a Bangkok, Thailand, hotel, injected a needle into her body, watched her fall unconscious and raped her for the first time. For several months, he and the minor traveled together in India and Japan, where he raped a 13-year-old girl in her presence.
It only gets a lot worse from there. The guy's list of evil deeds reads like a long, fiery path to hell. I actually couldn't read any more after the first page. All I know is, that guy needs to stay in jail, and rot there forever. Thankfully, England was denied parole earlier this week: Serial child molester denied parole. Anyway, read at your own risk -- you will be thoroughly disgusted.

id film festival 2009

The second annual ID Film Festival, dedicated to contemporary digital films that explore and celebrate identity within the diverse Asian/Pacific Islander community, will present an international and local lineup of films next weekend, October 1-3 at the National Center for the Preservation of Democracy in Little Tokyo, Los Angeles.

The festival will premiere several Hong Kong films, in addition to showcasing Asian Amerian films from the "Class of 1997": Michael Aki and Eric Nakamura's Sunsets, Rea Tajiri's Strawberry Fields, Chris Chan Lee's Yellow, Quentin Lee and Justin Lin's Shopping For Fangs -- all groundbreaking works in Asian American cinema. Here's the schedule:
8 PM - OPENING NIGHT ($5.00 for Museum members, $8.00 non-members)
*Seikaku (Directed by Jaysn Kim)
*Sunsets (Directed by Michael Aki & Eric Nakamura): A special
never-before-seen new cut.This film is part of our Class of 1997 retrospective.

6 PM - Three Narrow Gates (Directed by Vincent Chui): US Premier. This film is
part of our spotlight on Hong Kong Independent films

8 PM - King of Spy (Directed by Chu Ka Yat): US Premier. This film is part of
our spotlight on Hong Kong Independent films.

10 PM - Citizen King (Directed by Johnson Lee & Ching Long): US Premier. This
film is part of our spotlight on Hong Kong Independent films.

12 PM - Lovers on the Road (Directed by Jessey Tsang): US Premier. This film
is part of our spotlight on Hong Kong Independent films

2 PM - Strawberry Fields (Directed by Rea Tajiri): This film is part of our
Class of 1997 retrospective and is FREE.

4 PM - Japanese American Shorts Program
* Half Kenneth (Directed by Ken Ochiai)
* A Song for Ourselves (Directed by Tad Nakamura)
* Pawns of the King (Directed by Ming Lai)

6 PM - Yellow (Directed byChris Chan Lee): This film is part of our Class of
1997 retrospective and is FREE.

8 PM - Shopping For Fangs (Directed by Quentin Lee & Justin Lin): This film is
part of our Class of 1997 retrospective and is FREE.

10 PM - Closing Reception
This is a really opportunity to see some true classics in Asian American cinema. Heck, I haven't seen any of these features -- Yellow, Shopping For Fangs, Strawberry Fields -- since they first premiered on the festival circuit way back when. The festival is free for JANM members; $5 non-members per program. Or you can buy a festival pass for $30. For more information about the ID Film Festival, visit the website here.

who is the real michelle rhee?

The Washington Post has an interesting article on Michelle Rhee, Chancellor of D.C. public school system: In Search of The Real Michelle Rhee.

With a lot of high-profile attention on her since she took the post (including landing the cover of TIME), Rhee's public image has been of a tough-talking schools chief who's out to sack every last veteran teacher in D.C.'s failing system. This article suggests that the reality is something entirely different, and not quite so simple.

The article is accompanied by a video on the chancellor, talking about leadership: On Leadership: Michelle Rhee on "Extreme Candor." She'll also be doing a live chat on Tuesday, September 29 to take questions and comments: D.C. Schools Chief Michelle Rhee.

playmobil's ugly ass asian family

Not to be outdone the box of ugly-ass asian family dolls, Playmobil has its own set of Asian Family figures. Complete with hideous outfits, bowl haircuts and demonic almond-shaped eyes. And the dad comes with a giant camera! All this for just $10.99. (Thanks, Eric.)

the best colleges and universities for aapi students: pitzer

This month, to kick off the school year, I'm partnering with Asian Pacific Americans for Progress to bring you a very special list of The Best Colleges and Universities for AAPI Students. Last week and this week, we're profiling the top ten best schools for AAPI student activism (in no particular order). Today's campus is...

Pitzer College
Private College
Location: Claremont, California
Founded: 1963
Enrollment: 1,025
API population: 7%
Interesting fact: In an effort to inspire dialogue about diversity, there are two murals at Pitzer reminding the community about intolerance and hate crimes -- one of Vincent Chin, which faces the mural of Chin's mother -- painted by students in the Claremont Colleges Consortium.

"I am submitting this application because I truly believe in Pitzer's commitment to intercultural understanding and diversity. I chose to come to Pitzer because of these values and I have been nothing but impressed with how the college, already a leader in student activism, continues to grow and build on its foundations. I have had the privilege of working with several AAPI groups throughout the Claremont Colleges." - Nominator

Pitzer College is a place that strives to enrich and develop social, intellectual and personal growth among its students by providing a welcoming and supportive environment. Students at there can take advantage of the resources offered at all five of the Claremont Colleges, including the Intercollegiate Department of Asian American Studies (IDAAS). They also benefit from the services and resources offered by the Center for Asian Pacific American Students (CAPAS).

Pitzer students and CAPAS regularly work with other organizations that support the experiences of AAPI communities at the Claremont Colleges, empowering students to seek partnerships and build larger coalitions for community events. On the Pitzer campus, the student leaders of CAPAS coordinate the Asian American Sponsor Program (AASP), which is a mentorship program matching older Pitzer students with first-year students to help the new students transition to college life. AASP coordinates AAPI-themed events to educate and bring together all students. New this year to Pitzer is the Asian Pacific American Coalition (APAC), which serves as an umbrella organization for AAPI student organizations, and addresses the greater needs of the community.

Aside from cultivating activism within Pitzer's campus and the greater Claremont Colleges Consortium, students often turns its eye to the AAPI community off campus. The previous Fall-semester, CAPAS hosted an event titled "Fil-I-Am: Filipino Americans in Hip Hop", with outreach to the surrounding Inland Empire and Los Angeles community, the event was successful in moving beyond the college-student audience and engaging a diverse group of people in a discussion of the recent emergence of Filipinos in American mainstream media. Fil-I-Am included a philanthropic cause where donations were collected and sent to needy families in the Philippines.

CAPAS, AASP, APAC, and the IDAAS all create an environment at Pitzer for students to create a strong AAPI community. The very presence of these groups on campus is a testament to the commitment of Pitzer's students into creating an environment that truly embraces the school's intercultural and interdisciplinary values.

To see the rest of the Best Colleges and Universities for AAPI Students, go here.

jamey is looking for his mother

I recently heard from a reader named Jamey Byom, a Korean adoptee who is looking for his mother, but doesn't have much information to go on. A couple of weeks ago, he was fortunate enough to appear on a Korean television program, I Miss This Person, which is dedicated to people who are looking for others. That's the clip above.

Maybe someone out there can help Jamey out, and somehow he'll be able to reconnect with his birth mother. He knows it's a long shot, but hey, it's worth a try. His chances are based on whoever actually watches this clip, so the more eyeballs it reaches, the better. I figure it couldn't hurt to help a brother out.

jen wang on npr's tell me more

A few weeks back, I posted something about a recent study showing a higher rate of suicide, or contemplation of suicide, among Asian American women. Almost 16 percent of U.S.-born Asian American women -- compared to 13 percent of all Americans -- have contemplated suicide in their lifetimes.

Our friend Jen Wang from Disgrasian recently appeared as a guest on NPR's Tell Me More, along with Aileen Duldulao, lead author of the research, to discuss these disturbing findings: Asian-American Women More Likely To Attempt Suicide.

It's a really good, frank conversation about a topic that does not get discussed enough in our community -- with deadly consequences. Much props to you, Jen. You did a great job. Listen to the radio story, or read the transcript here.


free outdoor screening: space battleship yamato

If you're in Los Angeles, here's one way to enjoy a warm September night... This Friday, September 25th, the Japanese American Cultura & Community Center presents a special outdoor plaza screening of the Japanese anime classic Battleship Yamato (known here stateside as Star Blazers):
Film on the Plaza: Battleship Yamato

Friday, September 25, 2009
7:30pm - 10:30pm
244 S. San Pedro St.
Los Angeles, CA

Plus live DJ sets by Akaider.

- FREE Admission
- Franken's Vegan Hot Dogs, FISHLIPS Sushi and other Vendors
- Door Prizes

This outdoor screening features the Japanese anime classic Space Battleship Yamato aka Star Blazers (1979). Bring a blanket, bring a basket, bring friends, and delay the end of Summer in the heart of Little Tokyo.

Watch highlights from the last outdoor screening:

For directions and info on the JACCC Plaza go to:
Admission is free! Grab some friends, bring a blanket and enjoy some classic sci-fi animation under the stars in Little Tokyo. Should be a really fun evening. Summer, we're not letting go of you that easily! For more information about the event, visit the JACCC website here.

research study on asian american experiences

Another one of these research studies... Nancy Cha, a doctoral student in counseling psychology at Columbia University, is looking for participants for a research study on Asian Americans' social attitudes and experiences in contemporary American society:
You are invited to participate in a study examining Asian Americans' social attitudes and experiences in contemporary American society. I am interested in the extent to which Asian Americans living in the United States perceive, and are impacted by racial-cultural factors in the U.S. as well as their reactions to these perceptions and experiences.

This study specifically seeks U.S. born Asian Americans who are 18 years or older. Your participation in this research is entirely voluntary. This investigation is an online survey in which you will be asked to respond to several short surveys, which should take approximately 15-20 minutes (total) to complete. A number of safeguards will be in place to protect your identity. No names will be associated with the data at any time and all data will be coded with a number to preserve anonymity. The results of the study will be presented in my final dissertation and may be presented in subsequent journal articles, however individual participants will never be identified.
Everyone who participates in the study will be automatically entered into a raffled for a $50 Amazon gift certificate or a $50 iTunes gift certifcate. To take part in the study (and help a grad student out with her research), go here: Asian American experiences in Contemporary America.

seeking mr. hyphen

It's that time again! Looking for a few good men... Hyphen and the Oakland Asian Cultural Center present the fourth annual Mr. Hyphen competition on November 14, 2009, celebrating the men of the Asian American community. Are you worthy of the crown?

Each year, Hyphen and OACC celebrate Asian American men who devote themselves to worthy community causes. While structured like a pageant with rounds of talent, fashion and Q&A, Mr. Hyphen turns stereotypes on their heads in front of a sold-out crowd.

It's a fun night of community and "equal-opportunity all-in-good-fun ogling." Rounds will be decided alternately by an audience vote and by an illustrious panel of judges. The man who is crowned Mr. Hyphen wins a $1000 cash donation to his nonprofit organization.

If you think you've got what it takes, or know a good man who is, download the Mr. Hyphen application here. Applications are due on October 4th. You could win $1000 for your nonprofit org, a kickass crown, and of course, supreme bragging rights.

register for baasic 2009

Hey college students! I direct your attention to Boston... Next month, Northeastern University is hosting the Boston Asian American Intercollegiate Conference (BAASIC), organized annually by students in and around the Boston area.

The conference aims to encourage Asian American students to open the discussion of political, social, and economic issues in their individual communities. BAASIC also promotes positive exploration of Asian American culture and identity. This year's conference theme "What's Your Power?

This year's conference will feature performances from hip hop artists Magnetic North and Taiyo Na. Keynote speakers will be longtime community activist and author of The Snake Dance of Asian American Activism, Michael Liu, and poet/writer of The Heart's Traffic, Ching-In Chen.

The conference typically brings together 200-300 students every year from colleges and universities all over Massachusetts. You can register for BAASIC for just $20.00 now through September 30, and for $30.00 on the day of the conference. For more information about the conference, go to the website here.

flashforward premieres tonight

FlashForward premieres tonight! I've written quite a bit about this show over the last year, and now it's finally here. I've seen the pilot episode that's airing tonight, and it's a doozy. I'm looking forward to seeing where this is going.

It's a sci-fi-tinged drama about what happens when the everyone in the world blacks out for 2 minutes and 17 seconds, and gets a glimpse of his or her life six months in the future. Want a preview? The first 17 minutes of the premiere are available for viewing online here.

It's promising. I like the characters, and it's hell of a premise. And of course, our man John Cho is in the starring cast as FBI Agent Demetri Noh. He has to figure out what's up when everyone sees their future... except for him. He doesn't see anything. What does that mean? He's quite likeable in the role, and I can't to wait to see what happens with the character.

The pilot episodes leaves you with a lot to go on. Who/what caused the blackout? The entire world's population has seen its future -- what are the repercussions? But looking ahead, my main concern is what happens six months from now, when we reach the fated date of April 29. Where does the show go after that?

two men robbing, sexually assaulting asian escorts

This week in the Bay Area, police released photographs of two men who are suspected of robbing and sexually assaulting Asian female escorts in San Jose and Santa Clara, in the hopes more victims will step forward: 2 men accused of robbing, sexually assaulting Asian escorts in South Bay.

According to police, Tizoc Loredo, 30, and Julian Carrasco, 27, made contact with women escorts between the ages of 20 and 40 by using internet services. The men are suspected of meeting the women in hotels and motels and committing robbery. In some cases, the women were sexually assaulted.

Anyone with information was asked to contact detective Sgt. Johnson Fong or detective John Atkinson of the San Jose Police Department's robbery unit at 408-277-4166 or Sgt. Kurt Clarke of the Santa Clara Police Department at 408-615-4828. Persons wishing to remain anonymous may call Crime Stoppers at 408-947-STOP (7867).

the problem with 'illegal'

Caught this over at the Restore Fairness blog and thought I'd share... This is an excellent video from Colorlines featuring Rinku Sen dissecting why our conversations around immigration are so often driven to extremes.

Basically, she breaks down the term 'illegal,' and calls on us to re-examine our stereotypes and the reasons we have grown immune to the hostilities directed at immigrants. More here: What about illegal do you understand?

the best colleges and universities for aapi students: columbia

This month, to kick off the school year, I'm partnering with Asian Pacific Americans for Progress to bring you a very special list of The Best Colleges and Universities for AAPI Students. Last week and this week, we've been profiling the top ten best schools for AAPI student activism (in no particular order). Our final campus is...

Columbia University
Private University
Location: New York, New York
Founded: 1754
Enrollment: 7,500
API population: 15%
Interesting fact: During his welcoming remarks at the APAHE conference in 2002 hosted by Columbia University, President Lee Bollinger told the crowd that Asian Americans do not have a stake in the affirmative action debate. In response, the large crowd gave him a resounding crash course in Asian American Studies with a lot of evidence about the racial and class inequalities faced by Asian Americans.

"Given its location in New York City, students have access to more resources and opportunities for activism than the usual collegiate experience. With a very organized community, Asian American students have a very strong influence on day-to-day student life and affairs." - Nominator

Over the last few years, AAPI students at Columbia have been extremely busy working on a variety of issues. Through cultural projects and activism, Asian American students at Columbia are very organized and engaged in advocating on behalf of AAPIs on the campus and in the surrounding communities.

Even though Columbia has an Asian American Studies program with famous professors like Gary Okihiro, a group of students proactively initiated a hunger strike in 2007, demanding an expansion of Ethnic Studies. One of the strikers was the vice president of the Asian American Association (AAA). At the end of the strike, the administration agreed to a timeline for meeting demands to grow the Ethnic Studies department by recruiting more faculty.

Also in Fall 2007, the NYPD arrest of a Korean American undergraduate from Texas was marked with racial slurs and remarks such as "Can you speak English?" Students took immediate action, meeting with the local NYPD precinct captain to demand sensitivity training for officers.

In the local community, Asian American students participated in the campaign for workers' rights at Saigon Grill, which was paying its workers $1.78 an hour. They have also worked with AALDEF on voter education, registration, and poll monitoring on election days. Students also mentor local high school students in the NYC area victimized by hate crimes and bias attacks, as well as youth who have been victims of domestic violence. In April 2009, the AAA hosted the Crossroads: High School Leadership Conference, bringing high school youth to Columbia to learn about Asian American history, leadership/activism skills, and current issues.

Columbia is definitely a place where AAPI students are actively holding the institution accountable to its campus community, and getting active in the surrounding community to make a difference! To see the rest of the Best Colleges and Universities for AAPI Students, go here.

jaeson ma's "love"

I'm informed that within just two weeks of its release, Pastor Jaeson Ma's first single "Love" has had over 60,000 views on YouTube, reached #10 on Amazon's mp3 sales, and has impacted and transformed lives worldwide.

Produced by Kevnish of Far East Movement, the spoken-word-on-beat single brings a positive, spiritual message the masses. I gotta admit, it's a pretty catchy tune. To learn more about Jaeson Ma, visit his website here.

sasha gong stereotypes asian american voters

Saw this over on Asian Pacific Americans for Progress, and I'm just kind of baffled. This is from a post over at Blue Commonwealth: Bizarre Comments by Republican Opponent of Charniele Herring.

Sasha Gong is running for Virginia's House of Delegates in the 46th District. She recently met with the Republican Women of Clifton, where she said some really intriguing things about Asian American voters:
"When you speak with Asian immigrants and hear heavily accented English, they are usually Republicans. If an Asian-American speaks General American English, he is usually a Democrat."
Wow. Thanks for breaking that down, Sasha. Generalize, much? What's funny, is that in the same address, she goes on to declare that, "Democrats pigeonhole people and regard them as stereotypes. Republicans regard people as individuals." Yikes. Who's doing the stereotyping?

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