Angry Reader of the Week: Joseph Lachman

"Inequity makes me angry, and I try to channel that anger into action!"

What's up, good people of the internet? It's time to meet the Angry Reader of the Week, spotlighting you, the very special readers of this website. Over the years, I've been able to connect with a lot of cool folks, and this is a way of showing some appreciation and attention to the people who help make this blog what it is. This week's Angry Reader is Joseph Lachman.

Who are you?

I am Joseph Shoji Lachman. Joseph or Joe is fine. I've noticed that my parents and grandparents' generations like to call me Joe a lot, and I'm thinking it's because I'm named after my grandfather, Joe Tadashi Shoji.

What are you?

I'm a 4th/5th generation half-Japanese American and half-European American (if you need to know, it breaks down into Latvia, Russian, Irish, Dutch, French, German, English, and Spanish).

I'm a "local writer and activist" apparently, according to a media outlet (reporting on people who showed up to city hall to oppose a new youth jail).

I'm also a 2015 Yale University graduate, President-Elect for the Seattle Chapter of the Japanese American Citizens League, and Donor Relations Intern for the Council on American Islamic Relations of Washington State.

Where are you?

I'm at the Eastern Cafe in Seattle's Chinatown-International District, right where I feel at home.

Where are you from?

I was born and raised in Seattle, Washington, where my family has lived for more than 110 years.

What do you do?

I'm slowly and humbly learning how to take on the responsibilities of being the Seattle JACL President. I have been a board member and civil rights committee member for a while, and only became President Elect (that term still makes me shudder) at the last board meeting. I represent Seattle JACL at various community events, and push the chapter to involve itself in a variety of civil rights issues that affect groups beyond just the Japanese American community.

During the day I actually help manage donor relations for the CAIR-WA. Even though our office is part of a national organization, the local chapter relies almost entirely on small donations from community members to keep the lights on in the office, provide free legal help for hate crime victims, and advocate for the local American Muslim community. It's hard to believe, but the Portland anti-Muslim hate rally has been moved to Seattle on June 10th, and inevitably we are becoming one of the organizations that people contact about a response, although in the end it is an interfaith and more general community effort.

When I feel there is a need, I also make time to write and publish through the Huffington Post blog (sometimes cross-posted on Angry Asian Man blog!). My writing tends to be reactionary, but I am hoping to transition to more proactive writing in the future.

What are you all about?

Equity of all kinds. I'd like to think that I'm all about giving a voice to people who lack one, and getting others to care about them. I recognize that I am privileged in quite a few ways, and I try to do my best to use that privilege to help others.

One of my missions is also to ensure that people understand the history of discrimination and racial bias in the U.S. that led to incarceration of Japanese Americans during WWII, to help us prevent from repeating the mistakes of our past. Most school curriculum on American history glosses over this shameful chapter of civil liberties history in our country.

What makes you angry?

It's so hard to narrow it down. I am angered by the fact that women fighting for the same causes as me have to work so much harder to overcome obstacles that I will never have to face. I am angered by attitudes in our society, and even within the API community, that make us turn our backs on our community members who do not conform to gender or sexual orientation norms. I am angered by the way our current system obscures the struggles of many in the South Asian, Southeast Asian, and Pacific Islander communities. I am angered by the gentrification of Chinatowns across the U.S. I am angered by the struggles the API community faces in gaining meaningful political and media representation. I am angered by the way our country is treating immigrants and refugees, and the way our most shameful parts of history seem to be repeating themselves.

I think the theme here is that inequity makes me angry, and I try to channel that anger into action!

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