No, but seriously.
Memes aside, the fight for Asian American Studies (AAS) has recently seen an enormous wave of momentum. In this year alone, we have witnessed the huge victory for an AAS major at Northwestern University, the establishment of an Asian and Pacific Islander American Studies Program at the College of William and Mary, the passing of a resolution for the creation of an AAS major through the Student Assembly at Cornell University, the ongoing work by the Task Force on Asian and Pacific American Studies at Harvard University, and more. We even had an awesome Google Hangout on the #Fight4AAS with student groups at Northwestern, Cornell, and Hunter College, 18 Million Rising, and Professor Vijay Prashad! We might even dare to say that we are smack dab in the middle of a new period of the student movement for Asian American Studies.
In New York City, we, the Coalition for the Revitalization of Asian American Studies at Hunter (CRAASH), have been organizing for Asian American Studies on campus for a decade now. CRAASH first formed in 2006, when the Hunter College administration attempted to freeze and eliminate a then-directorless Asian American Studies Program (AASP), and fought to bring the Program back the following year. In fact, we were featured on Angry Asian Man in 2008 to promote our first conference, "Strengthening Education: Empowering Asian American Studies," to save our beloved AASP. Now in 2016, we're back, fiercer than ever, demanding for an AAS Major/Department to prevent history from repeating itself (check out our #WhyINeedAAS Campaign for testimonies on why AAS is so critical for all students).
Similar to most of the other origin stories of Asian American Studies Programs that were born from student organizing, the AASP at Hunter College was founded in 1993, when students and faculty both fought and organized to establish the Program. Currently, the AASP at Hunter offers the most AAS courses in NYC, ranging from Asian American Communities and Mental Health to Muslim Diasporas to Filipino American Literature, and has about 40-50 minors every semester.
However, after a decade of successful programming, largely as a result of our current director Jennifer Hayashida's efforts and the contributions of the many adjuncts from the Program, the AASP still remains as only a minor that is understaffed and lacking the resources to be a truly sustainable Program: our director is the only non tenure-track, full-time faculty in the Program, with no full-time staff or adequate space. In addition, our director's contract is set to expire next year, which means that the Program is, once again, at-risk of reverting back to the same near-defunct state it was in ten years ago without a director.
The bottom line is that we have been presented with an incredible opportunity to set a precedent for Asian American Studies on the East Coast, and the time has come for Hunter College to live up to its mission for diversity and inclusivity.
That is why we need everyone's support for our #WhyINeedAAS Campaign at Hunter. From coast to coast, we must make sure that the Hunter administration and administrators across all universities see that Asian American Studies and APIA student voices cannot be ignored.
Here's how you can help with our #Fight4AAS!
• SHOW UP (if you're in NYC) on Wednesday, 9/21 for our Pack the Senate Event
• SIGN our petition and SHARE our demand letter, which push for an Asian American Studies Major as well as additional funding and institutional security
• TWEET @HunterPresident and @jbmilliken: "I support @huntercraash's #WhyINeedAAS Campaign. We are here to #Fight4AAS!"
• WRITE to Hunter College President Jennifer Raab expressing your support for an Asian American Studies Department at Hunter College
• FOLLOW all of our social media pages to be updated with our campaign! (FB, IG, Twitter: @huntercraash)
• REACH OUT to us for any questions or ideas for collaborations at firstname.lastname@example.org