Fast food workers struggling for a wage of $15 an hour and the right to unionize participated in a nonviolent civil disobedience action last week.
This is Emily Nguyen (ponytail) and Kalia Vang (visor). Emily is 20 years-old and a sophomore at Sacramento City College. She’s worked in fast food for a year and a half and makes California minimum wage ($9 an hour). She says, “I’m just working to breathe, to stay alive. I’m not really living life. We won’t stop till we meet our destination, till our wages go up.”
i found these two photographs, taken from a 1982 strike organized by the International Ladies Garment Workers Union (IGLWU) Local 23-25 in chinatown.
as dopey as it is, there’s something powerful about seeing women whose stories are so alike the stories of my mother and my aunts — these images are on the shortlist for my favorites ever.
"What is citizenship in a country that dehumanizes its Black citizens? What is “the right to be with our families” in light of the murders of Eric Garner, Renisha McBride, Rekia Boyd, John Crawford, Kimani Gray and many others? Did they not have a right to be with their families?"
We wanted to take a moment today, on the heels of India Day (‘Indian Independence Day’ on August 15) to acknowledge the violent and often glossed over history at the foundation of the Indian nation-state and continues to pervade India’s politics. The rise of Hindu Nationalist power over the past several decades has been fully contingent on the maintenance of caste-based violence, Islamophobia, and patriarchy. India today has become one of the world’s largest military powers, and complicit in the occupation of Kashmiri land as well as the channeling of military & financial power to the Israeli occupation of Palestine. This, again, is related to India’s Islamophobic positioning as a ‘safe’ alternative to a ‘dangerous’ (read: Muslim) Pakistan. Viewing Gandhi and other figures central to India’s founding as ‘nonviolent’ totally erases histories and present-day realities of caste.
Indians in diaspora cannot understand our participation in oppression without an understanding of caste, and a subsequent commitment to challenging the normalization of casteism and Hindu Nationalism (Hindutva). Upper-caste Hindus in particular cannot narrate our histories as only ones of being ‘colonized’ people without understanding caste, religious violence, and militarism.
— DarkMatter (@DarkMatterRage)
Members of the Asian American community at UC Davis are taking a stand in solidarity with the people of Ferguson and their continued struggle for survival in the face of police brutality. All black lives matter.
Happy 57th Birthday, Fred Ho.
August 10, 1957 - April 12, 2014
I’m sad I never met him, someone who embodies so much of the radical politics and lessons that I just started to come into.
Still need to read through his anthologies and biographies and many many musical works. Very few in the Asian American community have achieved revolutionary status, but that is you, Fred.
Hope you’re doing well. Peace be with you.
"Notes on Women’s Liberation." Asian American Political Alliance (AAPA) Newspaper (Summer Issue 1970, Vol. 1 No. 5)
"If Asians really care about freedom, we must concern ourselves with the women’s liberation struggle."
Wei Min Bao (November 1973: Vol. 3, No. 2), newspaper of Wei Min She, San Francisco-based Asian American anti-imperialist organization (1971-1976).
"Many fellow Asian Americans have found it extremely difficult to understand the complex situation of the Middle East conflict. We, the staff of WEI MIN, feel that Israel is an artificial state created by the various imperialist powers and that the heart of the conflict lies in the political ideology of Zionism."
In 1981 Yuri Kochiyama participated in the Community Documentation Workshop, and produced two zines about her life. Vol. 1 deals with her family origins, World War II, her marriage to Bill Kochiyama, and her move to New York City with him. Vol. 2 covers the Civil Rights era, meeting Malcolm X & Amiri Baraka, and the birth of the Asian American Movement.
Statement from UCLA’s Asian American Studies Center on Yuri Kochiyama’s recent passing (received via email):
Dear Alumni and Friends,
We received word of the passing of Yuri Kochiyama who touched and inspired the lives of thousands of people through her decades-long activism and incredible dedication to social justice.
The Kochiyama Family has issued a brief statement:
“Life-long activist Yuri Kochiyama passed away peacefully in her sleep in Berkeley, California on the morning of Sunday, June 1 at the age of 93. Over a span of more than 50 years, Yuri worked tirelessly for social and political change through her activism in support of social justice and civil and human rights movements. Yuri was born on May 19, 1921 in San Pedro, California and spent two years in a concentration camp in Jerome, Arkansas during World War II. After the war, she moved to New York City and married Bill Kochiyama, a decorated veteran of the all-Japanese American 442nd combat unit of the U.S. Army.
Yuri’s activism started in Harlem in the early 1960’s, where she participated in the Harlem Freedom Schools, and later, the African American, Asian American and Third World movements for civil and human rights and in the opposition against the Vietnam War. In 1963, she met Malcolm X. Their friendship and political alliance radically changed her life and perspective. She joined his group, the Organization of Afro-American Unity, to work for racial justice and human rights. Over the course of her life, Yuri was actively involved in various movements for ethnic studies, redress and reparations for Japanese Americans, African Americans and Native Americans, political prisoners’ rights, Puerto Rican independence and many other struggles.
Yuri is survived by her living children — Audee, Eddie, Jimmy and Tommy, grandchildren — Zulu, Akemi, Herb, Ryan, Traci, Maya, Aliya, Christopher, and Kahlil and great-grandchildren — Kai, Leilani, Kenji, Malia and Julia.”
Yuri Kochiyama’s stint as a scholar in residence at UCLA in 1998 enriched the life of our Center and the campus. Those connections deepened as we were honored to work with her on the publication of her memoir, Passing It On (UCLA Asian American Studies Center Press, 2004). The Center is also honored to house some of Yuri Kochiyama’s papers relating to the Asian American movement. We are grateful to be part of preserving her legacy for future generations.
Our condolences go out to her family and friends. Rest in power and peace.
David K. Yoo
Director & Professor
Rest in Peace & Power, Ms. Kochiyama.
Time and time again, I’ve heard folks share memories ranging from the 1960s to the past 10 years of the way she invited them into her home, into meetings, into dialogue and encouraged them to contribute to the movement as their authentic selves, in whatever ways they could. Yuri Kochiyama’s work taught me that it’s the relationships we form, the love for each other that comes first. It’s recognizing and fighting for each others’ humanity and dignity, because it’s the right thing to do. Because our lives and our liberation are intricately bound together. In the words of Blue Scholars,
“Revolutionaries die, but the revolution don’t
And it won’t and I put that
On my momma
Cuz when I grow up I wanna be just like Yuri Kochiyama”
Thank you for your work and your love, Yuri.