April 25, 2014

June 18: AAA-Fund Annual Reception

Editor’s Note: Facebook Like & Tweet with us as the event nears. Also see our 2013, 2012, 2011 & 2010 (alternate) and 2009 reception posts.


AAAF logo

ASIAN AMERICAN ACTION (AAA) FUND
AAA-FUND HOST COMMITTEE
Bel Leong-Hong * Irene Bueno * Melissa Hampe * Gautam Dutta * Tom Goldstein
“Host Committee in Formation”

PAC Donor
IBEW

Invites you to
Our 14th annual celebration honoring
Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders
“When We Vote, We Win”
Wednesday, June 18, 2014

Democratic National Committee
Wasserman Room
430 S Capitol St SE, Washington, D.C. 20003
(Metro to Capitol South; see Google Maps)
6:30-8:30p

Suggested Donations

Individuals:
Host: $2,000
Sponsor: $1,000
Friend: $500
Guest: $125 ($100 online by 4/30)
Non-Profit/Public Sector: $100 ($75 online by 4/30)
Student/Young Professional: $55 ($40 online by 4/30)

PAC Donations:
Diamond: $5,000 – GOLD: $3,500 – SILVER: $2,500

Donations will go to AAA-Fund to support its continuing efforts to unite and activate our community.

To RSVP, buy online or contact Lida Peterson (lida@cimpa.org; 703.622.1381)

Paid for by the Asian American Action Fund, 3036 O St NW #Basement, Washington, DC 20007-3114.
Not authorized by any candidate or candidate’s committee

www.aaa-fund.org

May 9, DC: CAPAL Gala

Ed. Note: The below comes to us from our friends at CAPAL, the Conference on Asian Pacific American Leadership, a 501(c)(3) charitable and educational organization dedicated to building leadership and public policy knowledge within the Asian Pacific American community. We share their goal to empower Asian Americans in politics. Note also that Asian Pacific American Heritage Month starts next week and lasts the month of May.

CAPAL 2014 Gala

The Conference on Asian Pacific American Leadership will be hosting an evening gala to commemorate APA Heritage Month and CAPAL’s 25th Anniversary on Friday, May 9, 2013 at the Sphinx Club (1315 K St NW) in Washington, DC. Last year, CAPAL had over 500 attendees and over 14 partnering organizations. This year’s evening event will celebrate the role of APAs in our society and connect over 500 young professionals with APA leaders committed to public service. Confirmed speakers include Secretary Norman Mineta and Deputy Secretary of Labor Chris Lu.

Proceeds from the gala will go toward CAPAL’s “25 Scholars and Interns in 25 Years Campaign” which will award scholarships to students pursuing unpaid internships in DC.

After party at Lima Lounge!

We the AAA-Fund sponsor a 10% discount to the first 20 AAA-Fund readers who purchase tickets to the gala using code AAAFund. Visit www.capal.org/gala for more info.

Daily Until June 3: Phone Bank for Mike Honda

Rep. Mike Honda (CA-17) is a longtime supporter and friend of the AAA-Fund. His work has directly matched and aided our own mission and goal. We encourage all to support him as he has supported us all in all his work.

Phone bank for Mike!

Mike Honda at San Jose High School

Join Mike Honda’s campaign and help re-elect him to Congress. Phone banks are held at the DCCC building, 430 S. Capitol Street S.E., Washington, DC. Every Wednesday from 6:30pm-9:30pm until the June 3rd primary, with additional times announced for the general election. Sign up here.

Congressman Honda is running to represent CA-17, the Silicon Valley district. He has been delivering for his district for over a decade in Congress. As Chair Emeritus of the Congressional Asian Pacific American Caucus and Vice-Chair of the DNC for 6 years, Mike has been a leading voice in the Asian American and Pacific Islander community & a progressive champion for underserved and under-represented communities & a fierce advocate for the middle class, fighting for legislation that nurtures the tech industry in his Silicon Valley district and grows our innovation economy. His service has been recognized by his many endorsers, including President Barack Obama, Senators Barbara Boxer and Diane Feinstein, House Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi, CA Attorney General Kamala Harris, and the California Democratic Party, among others.

His opponent Ro Khanna has amassed a questionably funded war chest and high-paid consultancy team which threatens to end Mike’s career of delivering for CA-17 and fighting for the progressive values we hold dear. We’ll even pardon Khanna’s unsavory ethical questions. Working on behalf of people like you inspires Congressman Honda’s work every day. Thus we hope you will help Mike in his time of need.

To volunteer, fill out this form or contact 503-974-6026 or hondavolunteer@gmail.com. Forward this to anyone you think would be interested in helping Mike.

Thank you!

April 21, DC: AAPI Mentoring with Nina Davuluri & Julie Chu

White House Initiative on Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders

The White House Office of Public Engagement, White House Initiative on Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders (AAPIs), and White House Council on Women and Girls invite you to an armchair conversation with

  1. Nina Davuluri, Miss America 2014
  2. Julie Chu, four-time Olympic Medalist of the U.S. Women’s Hockey Team
  3. Moderated by Kiran Ahuja, Executive Director of the White House Initiative on AAPIs.
  4. Other panelists to be announced.

You are welcome – and encouraged – to forward this invitation to young women who are students, interns, young professionals, or emerging leaders in your networks. Mentorship is an important part of our efforts and we hope this event will provide these young leaders a chance to hear and learn from our special guests.

Monday, April 21, 2014
1:00 – 2:00 PM
The White House
Eisenhower Executive Office Building

Space is limited and RSVPs will only be accepted until we reach capacity. To RSVP, complete and submit the attached security spreadsheet (.xlsx with header fields: LastName, First Name, Middle Name, Date of Birth, SSN, Citizen, Country, Gender, City, State, Email Address) to AAPI@who.eop.gov by 12 pm (Noon) EDT this Friday, April 18th. You are not confirmed for the event unless you have correctly completed the attached form AND receive a confirmation e-mail.

DOL Labor Hall of Honor Inducts Chinese Railroad Workers

Editor’s Note: We re-Tweeted the DOL’s Tweet about this news.

Chinese Railroad Workers

The United States Department of Labor invites you to join Secretary of Labor Thomas E. Perez for the induction of The Chinese Railroad Workers into the Labor Hall of Honor

Friday, May 9, 2014
11:30 a.m. — 12:30 p.m.

U.S. Department of Labor
200 Constitution Ave NW
César Chávez Memorial Auditorium
Washington, DC 20210
Vistor’s Entrance: 3rd & C Streets NW

Registration and identification are required to attend. This invitation is non-transferrable.

Register at webapps.dol.gov/DOLEvents/Event/View/288 before Wednesday, May 7, 2014.

Contact Jeremy Bishop, Special Assistant to the Secretary
in the Office of Public Engagement, at bishop.jeremy@dol.gov with any questions or concerns.

Colleen Hanabusa (2/2)

Colleen Hanabusa

Naturally, President Obama endorsed his own Hawaii state campaign head Brian Schatz for US Senate over the proven lead Colleen Hanabusa. I wrote 2 months ago about how Hanabusa provides not just any leadership or the party’s most well connected leadership but the most principled, focused & ideal leadership. Ignoring sustained junk politics like her age (which is a plus, but mean politics never sees that), we can all see the President will back his campaign staff while other Democrats back Hanabusa as it’s an all-Democratic field which leads to disillusionment over the political process that leads to political fragmentation & polarization that makes Congress what it is today.

Also, Obama’s been so unwilling to help any US Senate candidate except 1 other (then again, it’s desired). Unfortunate but understandable.

Today’s Honolulu Star Advertiser poll asks, “Should President Obama have endorsed his candidate in Hawaii’s Democratic race for U.S. Senate?” where you can vote your say. You know my say.

Update: Poll results agree, Obama should’ve stayed out of it.

Christopher P. Lu Confirmed Deputy Secretary of Labor

Editor’s Note: The below is a reposting of “Statement by US Secretary of Labor Perez on the confirmation of Christopher P. Lu as deputy secretary of labor“. President Obama earlier this year nominated Chris Lu, who was formerly Obama’s Legislative Director, and has now become his Chief of Staff, to Deputy Secretary, Department of Labor. We followup that announcement with the below news. Both AAGEN & CAPACD emailed similar congratulatory statements (but no website postings).

Department of Labor seal logo

U.S. Department of Labor
For Immediate Release
April 1, 2014
Office of Public Affairs
Contact: Jesse Lawder
Washington, D.C.
Phone: 202-693-4659
Release Number: 14-556-NAT
Email: lawder.jesse@dol.gov

Statement by US Secretary of Labor Perez on the confirmation of Christopher P. Lu as deputy secretary of labor

WASHINGTON – U.S. Secretary of Labor Thomas E. Perez issued the following statement commending the Senate’s confirmation of Christopher P. Lu as deputy secretary of labor:

“I commend the Senate on its confirmation of Chris Lu to be the new deputy secretary of labor. Chris is an enormously capable manager and a devoted public servant, whose commitment to President Obama’s opportunity agenda is second to none. He will continue to be a tenacious advocate for American workers, and I look forward to working with him on all of our priorities – from job training to wage protection to worker safety to benefits security. Welcome aboard, Deputy Secretary Lu.”

###

The politics of pilgrimage: Vietnam Veterans War Memorial

VVWM

(Photo from Fischer Art History)

The lines of people angle in, respectfully, along the powerful obsidian walls. Some are here on a pilgrimage and have come armed with light paper and crayons for tracing the names of their loved ones, to bear away some of the memory. Some are tourists from inside and without the homeland, checking off stops on a planned itinerary of historic places. This does not detract from the sacred nature of the place.

I breathe in the smell of earth and listen to the birds chirping brightly on this windy day. Time stops and the field of vision freezes. All there is, is in front of me.

The V of the wall rises like a gash in the earth, and the ground dips slowly like a curtsey, mimicking the descent into the underworld. And all the people follow the trail, with a sharp line dividing the black stone from the green grass and wildflowers that line the top edge. In contrast, families and friends have left bouquets that have withered in the sun, cut off from any source of sustaining nourishment.

In seventh grade, my class took a trip to Washington, D.C. and I brushed my hands along the cold marble wall. The wall transmitted such sadness and I felt the etched names like a mantra. I watched as families clustered in tight blossoms of sorrow around the name of a loved one who had died defending his or her country. At the age of twelve, I was transfixed by the flat shininess and the ghostlike reflections of the visitors in the face of so many names. As if we were the mirrored ghosts, paying our respects to those who had come before.

In the midst of my twelve year old reverie, a lady scolded me, saying “It’s disrespectful to touch the names.” My hand had been tracing etched letters on the wall, feeling the differential between my hot little hand and the somber, polished stone. It had never occurred to me that the memorial was meant for anything but touching.

I take in a deep inhale and exhale, now in my thirty-two year old self. Finding out later, in college, that Maya Lin was twenty when she submitted her design for the Vietnam Veterans War Memorial blind competition, a complete unknown student at Yale, gave me the context of her courage. What she endured was only magnified when you understand that her design was chosen out of 1,421 submissions, including entries by internationally recognized architects.

Lin faced a great deal of controversy, including detractors who thought that it was wrong for a young Chinese American woman to design a memorial for fallen American soldiers of the Vietnam War, that she looked too much like the people who had helped kill our veterans. She wound up having to defend herself and her vision to Congressional inquiry and soldiers who had returned from war. The former Secretary of the Interior even held up the building’s permits in an attempt to get her to change her design. It has since become one of the most cherished and significant memorials. More than a physical replica of soldiers in battle, walking the long wall and watching the names of the fallen rise to a height beyond humanity, and then walking away from the apex, and seeing the names taper is a heart-wrenching journey of finality and closure.
If it cleaves the earth, it is because it is a memorial to one of the most divisive wars of the modern American century. The memorial is magnificent because it is simultaneously the cut, the scar, and the healing. It has taken me twenty years to pin down what resonates about the memorial, and yet, I am always glad to put a name to a visceral feeling.

–Caroline

“Where are you ‘from, from?’”

A recent campaign organized by Harvard students called “I, Too, Am Harvard,” has sparked discussions of racial comments and the diverse experiences people of color face.

The campaign highlights black Harvard students’ experiences of fleeting racial comments based on stereotypes associated with being black on a university campus. Originally organized as a play stemming from interviews with members of the black Harvard community, the campaign has expanded to a photo series, where black students hold up signs with statements such as “Can you read?” and “You’re lucky to be black…so easy to get into college!” to illustrate these stinging comments made by classmates, friends and others.

“Our voices often go unheard on this campus, our experiences are devalued, our presence is questioned—this project is our way of speaking back, of claiming this campus, of standing up to say: We are here. This place is ours. We, TOO, are Harvard,” read the description of the campaign’s Tumblr page.

Harvard, where black students make up 11 percent of the class of 2017, has responded positively to the campaign, according to a recent USA Today article.

Although the campaign focused on Harvard’s black community, a recent New York Times article explored how subtle comments like those highlighted at Harvard can have bigger racial and ethnic implications on minority groups. The article showcased some Asian stereotypes, such as hiring “the Asian computer programmer because you think he’s going to be a good programmer because he’s Asian.”

Others in the Asian-American community have also addressed similar issues of ethnic identity and origin. Wong Fu Productions, a California-based film production company run by three Asian-Americans, recently posted a video skit called “Accidental Racism,” where coworkers of different ethnicities probe each other about their ethnicity and origin.

In the skit, one of the actors asks her Asian-American coworker, “Where are you from, from though?,” to which he responds, “If you’re asking me where my family is from—China, I guess.” It is also interesting that the Asian-American coworker then asks another man from Kentucky the same types of racial comments without realizing the similarities and stereotypical undertones.

Another video series from ISAtv, a YouTube channel focused on issues of the Asian-American community, called “Level: Asian,” follows two Asian-American brothers as they explore what being Asian means to different people. In their most recent video, they ask UCLA students about the Asian college lifestyle and the question, “Do you think all Asians go to good colleges?”

Have you ever been asked about your ethnicity and been offended by someone’s probing question of “No, where are you actually from?” Or do these questions not bother you? Can these comments be considered “racism 2.0” as one source in the recent New York Times article labeled it? Or do these questions stem from genuine curiosity from someone who may not be as familiar or aware of your culture as you are?

Jayna Omaye recently earned a master’s degree in journalism from Northwestern University. As a student reporter, she previously covered politics, immigration and demographics in Washington, D.C. for a number of national media outlets, including USA Today, McClatchy, MarketWatch and the Military Times.

Follow her on Twitter: @JaynaOmaye