"No one spoke of legality when black slaves were forced here to work the plantations, when Chinese were brought here to work on the railroad, when Japanese, Pilipino, and Mexican immigrants were brought here to work in the fields. We don’t hear the ruling class talk about how illegal it is for them to go around the world ripping off resources and cheap labor like they tried in Vietnam, and controlling and destroying the economy of these countries."
- Wei Min Bao (newspaper of radical Asian American organization Wei Min She), September 1974
Im/migrant rights are an Asian American issue, then and now. In solidarity with the struggles of undocumented im/migrants today!
Global Day of Rage NYC protesting the Indian Supreme Court decision to (re)criminalise Gay sex #377dayofrage (at Union Square Park)
More Bay Area APIA orgs:
I also want to give a shout out to Eastwind Books of Berkeley, a community-based bookstore that has been serving the Bay Area since 1982 and is a wonderful source for Asian/Asian American literature.
Suggestions from anonymous:
I just moved to San Jose a couple days ago and have been looking for APIA [activist] groups as well and have found: Asian Americans for Community Involvement (AACI), Asian Americans for Community Outreach (AACO), Asian American Recovery Services (AARS), Asian Law Alliance (ALA), and Center for Asian American Media (CAAM).
A few more from your other admin:
Forward Together (family resources, reproductive justice—has evolved into a multi-racial organization in the past few years, but continues to serve a large API population)
Asian Health Services (health rights and health care services for immigrant and refugee Asian community)
The Spot (Oakland Chinatown youth center)
Kearny Street Workshop (multidisciplinary arts organization)
Banteay Srei (Young Southeast Asian Women Empowering Themselves)
Hello there! Here are a couple orgs in the SF Bay Area (in no particular order) with links:
I identify as Filipino American, so most of the orgs I know are Filipino/Filipino American. If anyone else may know of any other Asian American activist groups in SF, please drop us a line!
Assuming Asian Americans don’t get racially profiled isn’t just bad politics, it’s inaccurate. While it is necessary to examine our personal privilege, we also have to be careful that we don’t assume our own personal privileges and social locations are the same for all Asian Americans across the board. It’s been a long time since I, personally, have been criminalized. But that doesn’t mean it doesn’t happen to other Vietnamese people. In 2003, Cau Thi Bich Tran was shot and killed in her own home by police, with her kids in the adjacent room, because the cops (who were never charged) thought her vegetable peeler was a cleaver.
Strategically, if we acknowledge that Asian Americans often don’t have access to anti-racist frameworks that are relevant to their own communities, it’s more effective to show them examples of people who look like them who have been racially profiled and whose families suffered further devastation by the failure of the criminal justice system – and unfortunately that list is quite long. Vincent Chin, Fong Lee, Daniel Pham, Yoshi Hattori, Chonburi Xiong, Michael Cho, Balbir Singh Sodhi, Waqar Hassan, Kuang Chung Kao, the tragedy at Oak Creek, and the many other South Asians and Arabs who have suffered abuse especially after 9/11. And historically, we can look at cases where Asians have worked, across ethnicity and cross-racially, for ourselves and in solidarity with other communities in various historic and contemporary social justice movements.
For now—we’re doing a test run to see how things go! As admins we are limited by our knowledge and biases and can’t possibly cover everything. Feel free to submit anything that has to do with the hxstory and present of Asian American activism (categories that are both people-made, broad, and changing).
To avoid being overwhelmed by requests, we do not accept advertisements for upcoming events.
Also, if you haven’t noticed, there’s a new Resources page on our Tumblr! It’s a growing list of print and online readings on Asian American activism (if you really wanna nerd out). They are mostly coming from my thesis project on 1960s-70s activism, and generally do not cover more recent hxstory, and South Asian or Southeast Asian folks*—please feel free to send suggestions to add to the list!
*As it is an amorphous and man-made category, I am often confused by who is “Asian American”—if you identify as West Asian or Pacific Islander and Asian American and would like to submit things about your communities’ hxstories, it’s totally welcome! But I also understand the need for separate spaces for our communities because of the very real differences in our histories and issues and the possibilities of erasure that arise when addressing our diverse needs as a group.
"The Emergence of Yellow Power in America" by Amy Uyematsu in Gidra, October 1969.
"Asian Americans can no longer afford to watch the black-and-white racial struggle from the sidelines. They have their own cause to fight, since they are also victims—with less visible scars—of the white institutionalized racism. A yellow movement has been set into motion by the black power movement. Addressing itself to the unique problems of Asian Americans, this ‘yellow power’ movement is relevant to the black power movement in that both are part of the Third World struggle to liberate all colored people."
*after a close read, I feel like this article erases the experiences of working class and poor Chinese and Japanese folks (in contrast to revolutionary communist or socialist groups like I Wor Kuen and Wei Min She, who centered around the struggles and activism of workers), and says almost nothing that applies to the experiences of Filipino folks, who were forming significant populations and organizing politically at this time. I would not use a lot of this article, or the “yellow power” ideology, as tools for organizing today—but I think this is an interesting snapshot of a certain view in a certain period, and some of her critiques of Asians upholding white supremacy are biting and on point.
Gidra, Asian American news magazine, March 1970
Gidra was a “radically progressive” Asian American news magazine founded by students at UCLA in 1969.
The cover of this issue depicts a Vietnamese woman holding a baby in one hand and rifle in the other.
According to scholar Judy Tzu-Chun Wu, “through travel and correspondence,” North Americans of various racial backgrounds “learned to regard Third World female liberation fighters as exemplars of revolutionary womanhood” during the late 1960s and early 1970s. (Perhaps most well known of these travels was the U.S. People’s Anti-Imperialist Delegation, led by Elridge Cleaver to North Korea, North Vietnam, and the People’s Republic of China). “Frequently depicted with a baby in one hand and a rifle in the other, [the figure of the Vietnamese female peasant] served as one of the primary symbols of Third World resistance against the most powerful and technologically advanced nation in the world.”
Wu describes this idealized image as “radical Orientalism”: “These female warriors countered classical Orientalist depictions of exotic, sexualized, and victimized Asian women. Nevertheless, these radical portrayals tended to serve an Orientalist purpose by representing a contrasting image to Western women’s critiques of gender roles in North American societies. The dichotomy between the oppression that they identified in the West and the revolutionary hope that they perceived in the East helped North American women to redefine their own identities and political goals.”
This has gotta be the coolest thing I’ve ever seen on the internet
Black Panther Party and the Asian American Political Alliance
The very birth of the term Asian American came from a rejection of white supremacy, institutional racism and in full support of Black Power [via the Asian American Political Alliance, particularly in regards to the work being done by the Black Panthers]. We stood together. Some of us still stand together. We must stand together again.
I fucking love this gif.